A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4 by George R. R. Martin

I listened to this story as an audiobook and it took a very long time, like 3 weeks.

I made the mistake of reading reviews of this book on Amazon before listening to it, for the most part they were very negative, and they tainted my expectations. What I expected was an even slower telling with even less forward momentum.

But what I got was a bit different, it is true that this book and the following book do move slower. Mr. Martin decided to make the individual chapters longer and cover fewer characters in the 4th and 5th books. So it does slow the story down considerably, and I have to say that I do not like it, but the plot does move forward and the events that take place held my interest.

I plan on listening to the 5th book in a month or so, hopefully I will still remember what happened in this book.

From Wikipedia:

The War of the Five Kings is coming to an end. Robb Stark, Joffrey Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, and Balon Greyjoy are all dead, and King Stannis Baratheon has gone to the aid of the Wall, where Jon Snow has become Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. King Tommen Baratheon, Joffrey’s eight-year-old brother, now rules in King’s Landing under the watchful eye of his mother, the Queen Regent Cersei Lannister. Cersei’s father Tywin is dead, murdered by his son Tyrion, who has fled the city. With these two men gone, as well as no longer having to deal with Joffrey, there are no more checks on Cersei and she is essentially Ruling Queen of the Seven Kingdoms in all but name. Now that Cersei finally stands at the height of power and her enemies are scattered to the winds, in a grim irony it quickly becomes clear that she is incapable of wielding the power she has killed and manipulated so many to acquire, and she spirals into self-destruction.

Meanwhile, Sansa Stark is still in hiding in the Vale, protected by Petyr Baelish, who has secretly murdered his wife Lysa Arryn and named himself Protector of the Vale and guardian of eight-year-old Lord Robert Arryn.

I rate this book a 6 out of 10 as long as you have read the first 3 books, don’t read it without reading the others first.

The Walking Dead Comic Books and TV Show

I have watched the Walking Dead TV show for a while now, it is a guilty pleasure that neither my wife nor child will to watch, kind of a “dad’s time” thing.

I am not a “zombie” or horror film/book fan. I do not like gory movies or detailed gore filled descriptions in books. But after hearing friends talk about how much they liked The Walking Dead I decided to give the TV show a try. I was hooked right from the first episode. The acting is good, the location is my hometown of Atlanta, and the gore is usually not over the top.

At DragonCon 2011 I attended a couple of panels where actors from the show discussed their experiences. Questions from the audience referred to the comic book a lot, as in almost all of the questions were either about what it was like to film the show in the Atlanta area or about how the show differs from the comic book’s story line.

As a part of my iPad comic book exploration I decided to give The Walking Dead comic a try and see if the story is as good in comic form as it is on TV. To my delight the comic is even better than the TV show.

The plot and premise of the comic and TV show are the same, but I think the comic book is a lot more realistic. The most glaring point to me is that the comic does not shy away from the “Z” word like the show does, the show calls them “walkers” which is just silly and painful to hear.

Also, the comic book is much more open about the day-to-day frustrations felt by the characters. They show a lot more stress, have many more mental breakdowns, and are reacting to their situation in a way that I find more realistic than the aimless wandering they appear to be doing on the TV show.

The comic books are well illustrated, the dialog is great, the pacing is near perfection, and the tension feels real.

P.S.
I recently attended Timegate, a Dr. Who and Stargate fan convention in Atlanta. I attended a panel on The Walking Dead with Michael Cowart, Mike Faber, Leo Thompson who opened my eyes to the idea that the comic and TV shows diverging is not a bad thing. It will provide opportunities for surprises and allow characters to develop in different and hopefully interesting ways.

From AMC:

Based on one of the most successful and popular comic books of all time, written by Robert Kirkman, AMC’s The Walking Dead captures the ongoing human drama following a zombie apocalypse. The series follows a group of survivors, led by police officer Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln (Love Actually, Teachers, Strike Back), who are traveling in search of a safe and secure home. However, instead of the zombies, it is the living who remain that truly become the walking dead. Jon Bernthal (The Pacific, The Ghost Writer) plays Shane Walsh, Rick’s sheriff’s department partner before the apocalypse, and Sarah Wayne Callies (Prison Break), is Rick’s wife, Lori Grimes. Additional cast include: Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Norman Reedus, Jeffrey DeMunn, Chandler Riggs, Iron E. Singleton and Melissa McBride. Guest stars include: Lauren Cohan, Scott Wilson and Pruitt Taylor Vince.

From Image Comics:

An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months, society has crumbled: There is no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. Rick Grimes finds himself one of the few survivors in this terrifying future. A couple months ago he was a small town cop who had never fired a shot and only ever saw one dead body. Separated from his family, he must now sort through all the death and confusion to try and find his wife and son. In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally begin living.

I rate the TV show a 7 out of 10 and the comic books a 9 out of 10. Both are a must for fans of the zombie genre.