Reading for Fun's out for summer...

And that means, I'm reading for fun again.  I can't tell you how much I enjoy selecting my own reading material.  Since the end of class, I've already devoured the first book in George R. R. Martin's epic fantasy series, Song of Ice and Fire.

It's been a long time since I've read this type of book.  The world-building is intricate, but subtle.  Like most epic fantasies, this one, too, feels very medieval.  There are kings, lords, and ladies living in castles.  There are knights along the wall and guards at the door. Merchants, blacksmiths, captains, and barkeeps fill the towns.  The weapons range from well-made swords and daggers to pitchforks and axes.  Horses and wind-powered ships provide transportation.

Add to all that a giant ice wall that protects the realm from the Others (and who knows what else), Direwolves, and some curious rock-like dragon eggs, and I'm even more enchanted.  For the record, the Direwolves are my favorite magical creatures so far.  I love how attuned they are to their human partners, how their personalities are defined by the nature of the one they protect.  Brilliant, that.

The true magic, though, in Martin's storytelling is in the characters.  I am absolutely captivated by them - the good and bad alike.  I think the thing I find most impressive is their complexity. The most admirable can be prone to prejudice and rage, while the most despicable can be capable of love and compassion.  

I won't give away the plot, but I must give a nod of respect to the impressive political maneuvers that carry the story forward into book two, which I'm currently reading.

I'm not very far into this one, yet, but already it is proving to be just as good as the first book.