Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Song of Fire & Ice

A succinct review of all 5 Books in the series so far (The Song of Fire & Ice by G. R. R. Martin)
4.5 Stars 

After spending a whole month and a half immersed in the world of G. R. R. Martin, I still find myself wondering at what is happening in Westeros at the moment. Whether the Wall still stands. Whether the North has been recaptured. What fronts the King, or rather the Kings and Queen are fighting at, if any. I've scoured the internet for any tidbits about the forthcoming sixth book but haven't found much. I can wait, I suppose. Fantasy readers always have to wait!

Westeros is a continent of sorts that has seven Kingdoms. Once upon a time, they were ruled separately, but right now they're all united under King Robert's rule. The first book starts with King Robert visiting his friend Eddard Stark in the North, and the position he offers to Eddard, or as he is known amongst his friends and family, Ned. Ned then journeys with the King to the capital, King's Landing, where the weather is not as cold. In Westeros, seasons span years & the northern parts are always colder than the southern. When Eddard reaches King's landing, he is surprised at how his old friend rules. He had known a courageous Robert who struck fear in his enemies, but the Robert of the battlefields was not the Robert in King's landing.

After the King's death, several successors are announced through out the seven kingdoms, and beyond. All claiming to be the birth right heirs - and the kingdoms of the past yearn to rule their own lands again. Wars erupt all across Westeros and as kings die, more intricate plots come to light. You never know what to believe, and enemies from the islands and other places pore in Westeros.

I read somewhere that the plots and wars in Song of Fire and Ice resemble that of Medieval Europe and England, specifically. That made me want to do some research - which is always a mark of a good book imho - and I've piled a couple of history and historical fiction books to read for later on. It also sort of reminded me of Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet which I had read - and hated - a couple of years ago. If I remember correctly, one of the things that I found jarring in Follet's book were the recurring scenes of rape and brutal crime. Apparently, it seems, this was a common trait for that speck of time because if The Song of Fire & Ice is inspired from that era, then it is certainly very explicit. Even more so than Follet's books. There is rape, sex and incest. Details of gory deaths. Bucket loads of torture and killings and if that all is not enough, the murder of characters can happen quickly, and with succession. 

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Truffles

I'm craving truffles. BIG TIME. Not the little pieces of chocolate heaven that I won't say no to. But these kind of truffles.

Image from here.
I had some a couple of days ago, made into machboos. I'm craving some that are simply boiled, warm and with lots of salt. There are several kinds of truffles, but the best I've ever had were ones that a family friend got from Libya. That was almost 10 years ago!!

I'm currently reading the fifth book of A Song of Fire & Ice. It's hard to put down, but was a tad slower than it's predecessor's in the beginning. I don't know how long the author's going to have us wait till he publishes the next installment. He'd better be fast!