Two Quick Reviews
Couple of quick notes this morning:
A Dance With Dragons
George R.R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons came out this week! Thanks to the magic of Amazon.com I got my copy the day after (I'm cheap and wanted free shipping). I have yet to pick it up, but I just finished the current book I've been reading so the stage is set.
The book is part of the Song of Ice and Fire series, which takes place in a fictional England-like place on a world where such mystical beings as dragons and wights are a distant but unforgotten memory, and rule by the feudal sword is an every-day reality. I find the setting to be a somewhat unique twist on the traditional fantasy world in that there don't appear to be any outright sorcerer types (from what I remember so far), but the supernatural is very real to the inhabitants of Westeros (the aforementioned setting of the story).
Overall it is one of the best fantasy series I've ever read. Little did I realize back in the summer of 1998 while sitting, bored, in SEA-TAC airport that the book I'd just bought to pass the time would lead to such an obsession. I find myself glued to Mr. Martin's writing for hours on end, lustfully eating up each word on every page between the hardcovers (it's one of the few series I insist on having hardcover bindings for). The magic of the work comes from the characters' realism, and Mr. Martin's fearless ability to put them in mortal danger, no mater who they happen to be (there have been several child-deaths already along with the rest). The willingness to execute even major characters means that no one has, to quote a term, "script immunity," and one is kept on edge from start to finish and beyond.
If I had to say something negative about the work, I'd say that it takes too long for each installment to come out. I believe this newest book is 6 years out from the release of the last. Although the wait is well worth it, I fear Mr. Martin may not finish the series before his life's skein is at an end. Hopefully, that won't be the case.
In recent years the fire of Mr. Martin's work has caught on with the general public. One can not only find his books everywhere, but a series on HBO entitled "Game of Thrones" (after the first book) has been getting great reviews and was recently renewed for a second season (correct me if I'm wrong).
If you haven't already, I very highly recommend picking up the series as well as some of its satellite works like "The Hedge Knight" (first published in the Legends Anthology, 1998). You can find out more at the Wikipedia entry for the series here.
Today I started my foray into the universe of Google+. So far I find the comments of my friends and my darling to be accurate. It's kinda neat, but doesn't have nearly the functionality of Facebook, yet. Granted, it is just a public test Beta, so one can't expect too much.
Overall, I'm actually not at all disappointed. I find the idea of organization by "circles" to be interesting, and the news-feed is nearly identical to Facebook's so it has that comfortable-yet-different combination that makes it easy to use while still being a novelty.
I really like that you can view your profile as your friends or even a stranger would see it, and then set your privacy levels so that only the information you want getting out is displayed; very cool.
I'll be experimenting with this one more in the coming weeks for sure.
That's all for this week, have a good one all!