I Can’t Wait For… “The Winds of Winter” by George R. R. Martin (#Can’tWaitWednesday)

cantwaitwednesday

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released.  Find out more here.


Okay, so seriously everyone, raise your hand if you feel like you’ve been waiting your entire life for this book

*raises hand*

*raises BOTH hands*

WINDSOFWINTER

The Winds of Winter

by George R. R. Martin

Series: A Song of Ice and Fire (6)
Genres: FantasyFiction

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summary

The Winds of Winter is the forthcoming sixth novel in the epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin.

The previous installment, A Dance with Dragons, covered less story than Martin intended, omitting at least one planned large battle sequence and leaving several character threads ending in cliffhangers. Martin intends to resolve these cliffhangers “very early” in The Winds of Winter, saying “I’m going to open with the two big battles that I was building up to, the battle in the ice and the battle at Meereen—the battle of Slaver’s Bay. And then take it from there.”


*sigh*  Well, lets jump right into the SPOILERS area, shall we?  If you’ve not read the previous five books, or seen the TV show up-to-date, I’d advise treading with caution.  OR NOT.  LIVE LIFE DANGEROUSLY.

There will be spoilers, though.

Okay, from a writing perspective, I understand that writing an epic fantasy novel takes a really long time.  I also understand that with so many perspectives, it’s a slow and cautious process.  But seriously, man, come on!  You’re writing a bunch of books, multiple television shows… all your fans want from you, at this point, is The Winds of Winter.

Please.  Please, please, please.

I read an article last week where Martin stated there will be a Westeros book next year.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Also maybe not The Winds of Winter.  I will give serious props to the HBO series – it’s opened up fantasy worlds to the masses and with any luck, epic fantasy will come into the spotlight for a bit.  And it is well done.  And I liked the Ygritte stuck around longer than she did in the books.  Really I did.

But I, like many others, wish this book would have a release date.  I know he’s not even finished writing it yet… and my understanding of the industry is that there’s the editing process and rewrites and whatnot because production begins and frankly… I’m expecting the earliest release date at this point to be 2019.

Also I quite understand the George R. R. Martin is tired of being pestered about it.

Here’s what I’m angsty about (book-wise):

  • Winter is freaking finally here.
  • WTF CATELYN IS ALIVE AND UNDEAD WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING.
  • Where are all the living direwolves?
  • When is Daenerys going to ascend to the throne? Because srsly.
  • RICKON?!
  • ALL.  THE.  THINGS.

It’s a short list.  Honestly, it’s been a while since A Dance of Dragons….

Pretty please with a cherry on top, sugar and spice and everything nice?  Treat yourself to a month-long retreat into solitude and whip up some chapters?

I hear Maine is nice.

“The City of Ember” by Jeanne DuPrau

audiobookreview

I meant to pick up this book so long ago, and lo-and-behold, fourteen years have passed and even though I’m no longer a young reader, I still think THE CITY OF EMBER is an excellent story, well worth picking up.


thecityofemberThe City of Ember

by Jeanne DuPrau

Narrated by Wendy Dillon

❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎

Series: The City of Ember (1)
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, DystopiaFantasy, Fiction
Published By: Listening Library in 2004
Original Publication: Penguin Random House in 2003 (Original US Hardcover Edition)
Format: Audiobook (7 hours, 6 minutes)

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summary

Many hundreds of years ago, the city of Ember was created by the Builders to contain everything needed for human survival. It worked…but now the storerooms are almost out of food, crops are blighted, corruption is spreading through the city and worst of all—the lights are failing. Soon Ember could be engulfed by darkness….

But when two children, Lina and Doon, discover fragments of an ancient parchment, they begin to wonder if there could be a way out of Ember. Can they decipher the words from long ago and find a new future for everyone? Will the people of Ember listen to them?

review

After being burned so many times post-Twilight and The Hunger Games, I’m a bit wary of YA books that smell like they may end up filled with love triangle angst.  There is a time and place, and you never know.  Plus, The City of Ember is marketed for the 8-12 crowd, and I am way, way past that.  I’m pleased to report that none of my concerns were an issue with The City of Ember, and I give it ALL FIVE hearts.

Characters

❤︎

I’m not crazy about Doon, but I’m also not crazy about creepy crawlies or hot tempers.  He and Lina are complete opposites – one dark and frustrated, the other sweet and innocent.  They are an awesome complement to each other, and they have a really awkward relationship… as twelve-year-olds do.  I also felt like they were both realistic in their settings – Lina is protective of her little sister, happy to be alive, curious and brave.  Doon is a little moodier, but he’s also very interested in the world.  They both have an essential childlike belief that the world could be better.  That people are inherently good.  It’s sweet.

As for the minor characters, they’re also lovely.  They are a bit kinder than I have come to expect from adults in YA fiction, but more’s the better for a middle grade audience.  I particularly liked Clary.  And Poppy, but that may be because the voice Wendy Dillon used for her was adorable.

World

❤︎

The world is the thing I really want to talk about, but I can’t talk about the parts I want without being a little spoilery!  …  I will suffice it to say that I really liked the world, and I liked how the darkness was basically this big, black, menacing character of itself, and that I think it’s crazy they were eating 220-year-old canned peaches.

Story

❤︎

If I’m being really honest, this type of story isn’t particularly new.  I see a bunch of references to The Giver on Goodreads, and I’m also thinking of the Crossed by Ally Condie.  It’s also important to remember, however, that The City of Ember predates Condie’s writing, even predated The Hunger Games.  So this book was dystopia before dystopia was mainstream.  And it holds up 14 years after publication.  YES.

Writing / Narration

❤︎

Anyone wanting to jump in here expecting intricate writing and complex subplots may want to take a step back – DuPrau’s writing is very simple.  This is intended to be an easy, engrossing read for ages 8-12, and it succeeds very well in that regard.  If you’re expecting Lord of the Rings detail, this is not it.  And I’m fine with that!  I am not the intended audience.  And, for that matter, I liked it fine.

As for Wendy Dillon’s narration, it was mostly good.  I wasn’t crazy about the voice she used with Doon, but it wasn’t grating.  The Mayor and the Guard at the Desk (especially the Guard) were intolerable.  Fortunately, they had very few lines, and I endured.

Personal Thoughts

❤︎

Overall, I really liked it.  This was a fun, light read in a genre I enjoy without boatloads of romantic tension, a few little laughs, and really endearing characters.  I would definitely pick up a copy of this for my home library.

tldr

Good characters, a solid middle grade dystopia.  Would recommend for young readers, but still enjoyable for adults.

source

I borrowed this book from the New Hampshire Library Exchange on Overdrive.  Overdrive is wonderful.  Someday I’ll write a whole post about how wonderful it is.  That said – all opinions here are my own, I get no love and no commission for promoting this book.

firstsentence

“When the city of Ember was just built and not yet inhabited, the chief builder and the assistant builder, both of them weary, sat down to speak of the future.”

favoritequotes

“People find a way through just about anything.”

“Wouldn’t it be strange, she thought, to have a blue sky? But she liked the way it looked. It would be beautiful – a blue sky.”

“Lina looked out at the lighted streets spreading away in every direction, the streets she knew so well. She loved her city, worn out and crumbling though it was.”


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