If Robert can revive his blog, then so can I!
It’s been a long time since I’ve written a book review. In fact, it’s been a long time since I’ve finished a book to completion. I can think of a number of excuses to present my lack of reading lately: reddit, … actually that’s it. The internet has taken a greater hold on me than I’d like to claim. It’s made me lazy and unmotivated, and it really is something I should cut out of my life a little bit. But maybe tomorrow.
This book was released last year, as the first of an expected series featuring the two characters Dunk and Egg, a hedge knight and his squire (who’s secretly a Targaryen prince) wandering the Seven Kingdoms. The stories are meant to be prequel novellas to the ASOIAF world that is so beloved today. I typically don’t really like franchise spinoffs or prequels, but given my life of the ASOIAF world, I thought I’d give it a try. I’m happy to say I have no regrets.
There were three stories in this book, and each delivered (though, I would say, to different degrees) the epic tales which we’ve come to expect from Martin. All the elements that make the ASOIAF books so great are present in this book: the enchanting plot lines, the incredible attention to detail, the captivating character development, the surreal ability to completely capture you within the universe. As these are meant to be short stories instead of the marathon epics the other books in this series are, the plot lines are perhaps simpler than what they could be. Though that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in my opinion. It’s nice to be able to pick up a book and enjoy it without becoming too invested in it, which is something the Game of Thrones books definitely require you to do. Even though I’m not as emotionally attached to Dunk and Egg as the protagonists that live in the main series, I think it might just be because I haven’t read as much involving them that I have their counterparts. The character development is superb as always. I really can’t think of any author other than Martin that even comes close in their ability to write a character so real and relatable. And really, when you’re looking to escape from reality a bit into a fictional universe, isn’t it best if it feels simply like another reality?
I can’t really think of anything to complain about this book. Like I said, the simplicity of the plot lines is, in my opinion, a boon rather than a hindrance. It also allows for the elimination of Martin’s greatest writing weakness – filling the story with useless filler material that goes nowhere. Readers of the ASOIAF series will know exactly what I’m talking about…but in this case, Martin has been able to avoid throwing in completely unnecessary plot lines just for the sake of having it there. The one thing I think Martin may have done in this book that he didn’t is to write from Egg’s perspective as well, instead of only Dunk’s. It would be interesting to see his thoughts as well. Perhaps Martin plans to incorporate this in the later novels. Fingers crossed!
All said, I truly enjoyed reading this book; it made for some excellent light reading the past week. By the way, it’s also illustrated, which I know is something that’s more channeled towards children, but who doesn’t like seeing a few pictures when they’re reading from time to time? If you’re a fan of the ASOIAF series as I am, and are waiting for The Winds of Winter as desperately as I am, I think you’ll really enjoy reading this book. Most fans will probably already know where Dunk and Egg end up in history when the main series takes place – Egg will become King Aegon the Unlikely, and Dunk will become Ser Duncan the Tall, the Commander of the Kingsguard. It’s pretty cool to see their humble beginnings, and venture as to how they end up where we know they someday will.
I think Martin is planning on writing anywhere from 9-12 short stories featuring Dunk and Egg, so I eagerly anticipate seeing the return of these two characters. That being said, I’d still much rather see the Winds of Winter before Dunk and Egg return…it’s been far too long a wait. Can you imagine a world where the people who watch the show are the ones who spoil it for the people reading the books? I can. I live it every day. 😦
A quick note on what I plan to do next, regarding the blog – it’s nice to write again. I will try to do it more, but I really can’t say how that’ll go. At the very least, in the coming week I’ll put out a review of the first video game I ever finished, and in the coming month, I’ll put out a reflection on my third coop term. Hope to see you then!