“A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 1”

A Game of Thrones Graphic Novel Martin, George R R, adapted by Daniel Abraham, illustrated by Tommy Patterson.  A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, Volume One.  New York: Random House, 2012.  Print.

Borrowed from the Cedar Falls Public Library.

Read between November 21-27, 2012.

Four out of five stars.

Daniel Abraham’s adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones is beautifully and vividly illustrated by Tommy Patterson throughout the graphic novel’s 240 full color glossy pages. This interpretation of the first title* in the hugely popular fantasy series includes an introduction by Martin where the author expounds his love of the graphic novel (or comic book, as he prefers) format, and his hesitation to attempt a film or other translation of the book.  Martin’s involvement in the project is evident in the graphic novel’s close attention to detail and rigid adherence to the original print format’s storyline.   GoT Two

A combination of full page panels and multiple panel pages, the graphic novel relies heavily on dialogue between the series’ many characters, and less on thought bubbles or descriptor text boxes.  As Martin explains in the preface, part of his skepticism to creating a graphic novel format of A Game of Thrones was how the print format’s heavy reliance on internal monologues would translate.  In this sense, the graphic novel fails to fully capture the inner turmoil being experienced by the book’s characters.  The illustrations help to convey the overall feeling of the book, though at times lack true grittiness and melancholy that is found throughout the print version.

GoT Three

Another criticism of the graphic novel is its portrayal of the book’s female characters, though this is nothing new to the format (read: full bust, small waist, luxurious hair, doe eyes).  For instance, in the original print book Daenerys is a thirteen year old girl, however she is pictured in the graphic novel as a fully developed woman, more often in the nude than clothed.  Catelyn Stark too is shown au naturale, and looks much (much) younger than she is described in the original book.  While there are instances of nudity, including some full frontal shots of female characters, there are not any explicit sex scenes; (more soft-core than hard, to be blunt).  Readers who have watched the HBO series will find that the graphic novel is far less, well, graphic, than the show.

GoT One

A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, Volume One also contains some post-script, behind-the-scenes/the-making-of pages, which will appeal to those who are interested in the creative process and construction of graphic novels.  The graphic novel will also appeal to readers who are interested in the Song of Ice and Fire series, but who may not be ready to commit to the length of the print format.

Overall, readers who are familiar with the series will undoubtedly find discrepancies between the graphic novel and the print format, but having read both I appreciate this interpretation and look forward to the continuance of the series.  I have not, however, read many graphic novels, and hence cannot claim to be an expert in the format.  I will continue to read graphic novels, both stand-alones and series.

*Volume One covers roughly one-third of the original print format.  Volume Two is scheduled for release on June, 2013.  I will definitely be reading the second installment.

“Gone Girl”


Flynn, Gillian.  Gone Girl: A Novel.  New York: Crown Publishing, 2012.  Audio Book.

Borrowed from The Cedar Falls Public Library.

Listened to between November 7-13, 2012.

Three out of five stars.

Gone Girl

Nick Dunn wakes up one summer morning expecting to humor his wife with her 5th annual anniversary day scavenger hunt.  Instead, he finds that she has disappeared mysteriously, perhaps violently, and suddenly Nick finds himself the prime suspect.  What unfolds is a dark, mysterious and suspenseful tale that unravels the seemingly perfect marriage of Nick and Amy.  Unreliable narrators alternate their versions of the story via Amy’s secret diary and Nick’s post-disappearance experiences, keeping readers second- and third-guessing their immediate reactions as more truths about Nick and Amy’s lives are revealed and their picture-perfect façade crumbles.

What starts as a compelling, action packed, complex tale of “he said/she said”, quickly loses steam.  The initial gritty, disturbing story becomes increasingly whiny and cringe-worthy, though a shocking plot twist around the half-way point was promising.  The book ends abruptly, and without justice, as though Flynn simply ran out of things to say.  I found myself hating Amy and Nick both, (albeit for different reasons), throughout the book’s duration.  This may be a credit to the author, but ultimately left me angry and wishing it had concluded differently.  I also could hardly stand the narrators (Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne as Amy and Nick, respectively), which may have affected my overall impression.  I would suggest this book for readers looking to stay on their toes and question their intuition, and those who have perhaps been scorned in love and wistfully plotted revenge.  I did enjoy Flynn’s writing for the most part and would give her other books a chance, but I wouldn’t buy into all the hype after being let down by Gone Girl. 

“The Wedding Dress”

Hauck, Rachel.  The Wedding Dress.  Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012.  Electronic Book.

Purchased for Nook Tablet from Barnes and Noble.

Read between October 31 and November 6, 2012.

Three out of five stars.The Wedding Dress

It’s what every little girl dreams of: Finding her perfect wedding dress.  For Charlotte Malone, it should be a piece of (wedding) cake.  She does, after all, own a contemporary bridal boutique in Birmingham, Alabama that she runs with her best friend Dixie…
Finding the perfect gown should also be “To-Do List Task Number One”, being that her wedding to Tim Rose is just two short months away.  So why then, does Charlotte find herself heading up to Red Mountain seeking God’s wisdom and guidance, praying for answers to her questions and doubts?  Perhaps it was fate that brought her there on the exact day of the famous Ludlow Family Estate auction.  Maybe it was destiny that drove her to bid on and win a rickety old trunk.  Inside the trunk, to Charlotte’s surprise, is a pristine wedding dress.  One that has quite the story to tell…

What follows is Rachel Hauck’s heartfelt, homespun novel The Wedding Dress, tracing the interwoven tales of four women: Charlotte, Emily, Hillary and Mary Grace; and the bridal gown that is the common thread tying their lives together.  It makes a valiant attempt at being a whimsical blend of romance, historical fiction, and chick-lit, but in the end falls short of this lofty goal.  The book focuses heavily on only two of the women, Charlotte and Emily, almost ignoring the other two, and bites off more than it can chew.  I felt that it should have picked one or the other, romance or historical fiction, instead of trying to be both plus Christian  and/or Inspirational fiction.  I include Inspirational fiction because it’s not overly religious, rather it mentions God sporadically or a character prays in passing.  The Wedding Dress will appeal to brides-to-be, newly-weds, women celebrating their umpteenth anniversary, and anyone in between who appreciates a sincere and spiritual light-hearted book about love between friends, strangers, partners, families, and yes, occasionally God.