Monthly Archives: June 2013

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4)

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4)A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The only thing that I can say about the 4th book of the series is that after rising to glory in A Storm of Swordsit falls below expectations with a big thud and is sadly a big letdown to all the suspence and drama it created. It reached a crescendo of mystique with so much hype but finally turns out to nothingness that vanishes like mist.

After the end of A Storm of Swords Martin takes the series to unexpected levels by making his characters even more hateful, treacherous, mean and cruel than before. There is no sense of happiness anywhere. Only the coldness that is engulfing the world and people that are even colder than the weather.
Brutality has raised the bar and just when I had started to look forward to the fate of characters I hate with such a vengeance,it brings me back to my previous notion DISGUSTED and more than that DISAPPOINTED!

There is absolutely no mention whatsoever of Jon, Arya, Dany and Tyrion in the book.Not even a mention of their whereabouts. And what you get in place is some 1100 pages of a parallel story that is going on in absolutely another world.

What I did like was seeing some characters getting their due redemption(whichever way it turns out):
Cersei Lannister is every bit a bitch and there is no one I despise more than her. She is , villainous and clodest of them all.
In her lust for power she is blinded and eventually falls into her own trap. She wants to remain the Queen Regent and is threatend by the young queen and so using her original petty,scheming mind games she so loves to play, she fails to see the trap and becomes a victim of her own connivery.
I loved it when she is put to jail and is eventually made party to what she has been dishing out so frequently and painlessly to her assailiants. She wants to be acknowledged as much as her twin Jamie and doesn’t hesitate to challenge those who come in the way. But, she does everything in the wrong way.
She has absolutely no sense of commitment, honor and being in a patriarchal structure of society where women are only good enough to produce heirs,her need to seek approval continuously from her peers makes her even more vicious and hungry to be considered an equal.
But, nevertheless she herself is a victim to what to society believes and uses all slutty and cheap measures to get the power she craves.

I feel sympathy at last for Sansa, she is forcibly made to marry Tyrion and when eventually when she is able to flee from the jaws of Cersei, she falls prey to Littlefinger.She is now Alayne and somehow I do want her to have a happy ending. Her only misgiving is that she lived in the world of her dreams and fantasy. And that is not a crime, right? Being brought up with a sense of security and a happily-ever-after world she adhered to the rules set for her, but is now being shaken brutally awake to reality that is far different from what she hoped for herself.I hope she gets her due.

Arya is Cat now and doing some pretty bizarre things in order to survive. Chapters on her make no sense.She maybe learning new things but I don’t know why she was left blinded by the end. No clue!

There are a couple too many turn-offs in this book. The descriptions are lengthy and details are gory. Too many characters and sub-plots have spoiled this book for me and it is my least favourite of the series.
I want closures now and i want characters to be given what they deserve. Hope to get them all in A Dance With Dragons!!!

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Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A dystopian sci-fi world where books are banned and literature is on the brink of extinction. Reading is censored and the world is on the verge of a war that would consume everything.
It’s an intriguing read. Fascinating you to consider the possibilities that such a world exists and we are probably living in one, it makes you absolutely breathless with anticipation as to what would happen next and to see it having or give it what it really needs and craves with a desperation.
The ending is bleak and leaves much to ponder upon but it is nevertheless an exciting read with two glaring issues that cannot be ignored :

Aren’t we all too comfortable to be existing in our own bubbles?
Finding it all too easy to be living a cozy life dictated to us by a bunch of bullies and submissing ourselves to it, numbing ourselves from the very difficult task of thinking on our own or having our own opinions. Stopping ourselves from not only question but also decide the kind of Life we want to live.
Because, submission is easy, it’s the standing up that takes courage.
And if we are the few lucky ones, it takes just a little nudge, a small push or probably a teeny poke from the right person at the right time to awaken us from our self-induced sleep that we all seem not to enjoy or like but still find difficult to rouse from.

Censorship of anything is bad. It creates much more intrigue and fascination about it than what not supressing it and letting the people decide for themselves would do. Controlling of individuals with social media and use of technology may work in the short term but in the long term would only stimulate a war for ones right to think and reason.
This is what happens with Guy Montag in Fahrenheit 451. He has been living the life outlined for him by the State for years, doing the task he is assigned without much thought. It takes just a few meetings with his neighbour Clarisse to bring him to realization and truth that has been deluding him forever.
He has always wanted to come out of the world that has been created for him, that is what distances him from his wife Mildred who is more alive in the fantasy world of television ‘family’ than in the real world with him.
Once he has the taste of thinking, he knows what he has been missing and there is no looking back for him. He is ready to risk is entire life, career and his job to have the freedom to be able to have ideas and a thought process.

This book is about books and the strength that lies in them. They stimulate, persuade and provoke you to THINK! and no amout of censorship can take an individual away from what he believes in.

“There is nothing magical in them, at all.The magic is only in what book say, how they stitched the patches of the Universe together into one garment for us.”

“Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality means? To me it means texture. This book has pores. It has features….The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.”

For me books are eternal. TV and the other forms of media have its own importance and neither can take place of the other.
Each has its own dangers and benefits. TV doesn’t make you an anti-intellectual but it cannot replace a good book too. I would any day read the book than go and watch a movie set on it.
Reading lets me have my own thoughts, ideas and imagination and media lets me be aware of what’s going on with the world.
I think it’s necessary to be able to strike a balance between the two and not completely ignore one over the other.

Bradbury’s dystopian fiction gives us an important outlook about the dangers of falling into the traps of social media head-on and amusing ourselves into stupefaction, but there is hope yet.
Hope that one would not be forever lulled into it either by force or affirmation.
Hope that come what may there would always be the power of imagination to fall back on.
As long as there are good books there will always be hope to a better world!

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The Good Earth

The Good EarthThe Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A poignant tale about life of a poor farmer Wang-Lung, in agrarian pre-revolutionary China highlighting Chinese cultural practices from those times and a well-known fact “Money is the root of all evils ”.

Wang-Lung, a poor farmer for who even a hot bath and tea in the morning is luxuries that he cannot afford rises to money and power when he marries an ordinary looking slave O-Lan. Together, he and his nondescript looking wife toil their land, enduring back-breaking effort and pain and make a comfortable Life for themselves.

Wang-Lung gets too comfortable with his newly acquired status in the society and in the face of wealth, idleness; greed for more land and lust for a beautiful woman he lets it corrupt his innocence. He very easily forgets O-Lan’s contribution to the comforts of his Life and brings a mistress home thereby insulting O-Lan’s devotion to him.

He considers sons to be good fortune whereas daughters are none but liabilities born to him that would bring nothing to his family forgetting the very fact of his own Life that it is his wife, the slave that he bought who is the sole reason of his acquisition of land and without her he would have still been nothing but a crass, poor village fool.

The ruthless objectivity of women by binding their feet so that they remain small and a cattle like evaluation of their looks makes you cringe at the blatant portrayal of unspoken torment tolerated by generations of women.

The book even though written in the early nineties depicts all the facts that hold true still:
-A man values the hard-work put by his wife only till she is of use to him, once he is successful enough he is like any ordinary male preferring the transience of beauty over everlasting character.
-Money is the root of all evils, the more you have it the more you want it and the more is your diminishing sense of corruption rising through it.
-Sons through prided and still preferred upon in some societies can still make Life hell not even understanding and valuing their Parents who are the origin of their sustenance, whereas daughters who Wang-Lung in the book refers as ‘slaves’ and ‘fools’ would still be there comforting and sharing sorrows.

On the whole the book is a general depiction of society where even when a person is decent or good-hearted can still be influenced with money,greed and lust.

Realisation finally comes when Life turns full circle and power,lust and too-much-importance-to-looks are nothing but vices that mar every little thing that makes Life beautiful draining all the peace and beauty from it, leaving it with nothing but lessons that better be learned before it’s too late.

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