Holiday time is a great time to read. This summer break I made it a mission to finally put the time in to finish George R.R. Martin’s “A Dance With Dragons”. As some close friends and family know I’ve had it sitting near me waiting to be read since January 2012, but with work and life being quite busy I could never give it the time to get into that I knew it needed.
Finally, things quiet down and i’ve been chewing (sometimes felt like plodding) through ADWD and its multiple character perspectives. Anyone who has read the books or seen season 1 or 2 of Game of Thrones understands this. There’s a heck of a lot of characters in these stories, and Martin has enjoyed bringing a bit more mystery to this book (including using nicknames or epithets rather than their name in the chapter titles).
This weekend is the Australia Day long weekend (see this awesome rendition of our Anthem here) so I’ve almost finally finished it. So, what do I think?
With about 100-150 pages to go it’s really leaving me breathless. Some parts of the story have left me cold, Daenerys in particular. I love Jon Snow as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and his challenges and strategies. Tyrion is enjoyable enough, but I have not liked him being taken out of a place of power. When he can’t control his fate like in this book he’s just been plodding closer and closer to Daenerys, albeit with a few twists along the way.
So, why breathless – the cliffhangers have hit. Jon Snow at his best at around page 650 and right on pages 698-699 FINALLY DAENERYS rides one of her dragons. It is a moment that is made for the screen but is sooo vivid in my head. She has been utterly stuck in Meereen. It has been painful for her to not have any options and painful for me reading it too. It kept going and going and I knew that something external to her own choices was going to have to happen for her part of the story. At this point also she seems too important to kill off, not that it has stopped Martin before (still lamenting poor Ned).
I can’t wait to finish the book, but the only problem is it seems like the next in the series is still far off. A well, Feist’s next (and final Midkemia) novel “Magician’s End” will be released in a few months and there’s always Transformers comics.
Speaking of comics, last week I received in the mail a copy of Gestalt Publishing’s “The Deep”, vol 1 “Here Be Dragons.” It is written by Aussie comic creator Tom Taylor (other works include Star Wars and DC’s Injustice comics) and art by James Brouwer.
Since going to Supanova (see April/May 2012’s blog posts) last year I’ve wanted to connect and get a handle on more Aussie comic creators and Tom has so far displayed some excellent works. The first two issues of his latest series “DC Injustice” are going gangbusters.
The Deep was billed as an all ages, exciting, adventure story. Awesome. I’ve been looking for some different all-ages comics as part of my own stories I want to create such as these and also share them with younger readers.
“Here Be Dragons” was really enjoyable. It’s a graphic novel* structured in three acts so the action builds nicely whilst also introducing you to the Nekton family. I don’t want to say too much without spoiling it but Taylor and Brouwer really build the tension and mystery of “the deep” here. I particularly enjoyed the way they held back from revealing some of the cool images of creatures they find until later in the comic as it really plays into the narrative. It also meant that we focused on the family and the danger they’re in rather than a couple of mega-wicked fishies.
Volume 2 is available so I’m gonna have to check it out soon, especially as Technicolor have just optioned the story for an animated series! (See here)
So, as for 2013, there are good books out there to read, wonderful people working in comics and also being blessed with amazing extensions of their work, and more comics from me too! I’m still working on that Transformers RiD essay as well!
*My definition of graphic novel tends to be one of form. A graphic novel is a published comic style longer story whereas a “comic” refers to the regular, floppy single issue form. These can then be collected in a longer story centred format, which is often called a graphic novel as well, or a ‘trade paperback.’ It’s murky fun.