Season 5 Game of Thrones Cast

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San Diego Comic Con led us to the revealing of Season 5 Game of Thrones cast.

While I am really excited about the coming season (it’s still a long wait), I don’t know if all the casting is right.

Myrcella looks too old, some of the sand snakes just don’t look tough enough and I wasn’t sure if Jonathan Pryce actually knew what part he had been cast for (though this casting does make sense).

Keisha Castle-Hughes is the most interesting cast in my opinion and it’s mostly because we are both from New Zealand. She got a lot of media attention and speculation from my corner of the world. Is she a good cast? Well she has the looks for a sand snake but I’m just not sure she has the acting prowess to play the toughest b**** in Dorne.

To focus on some positives, I think Areo Hotah looks badass, Alexander Siddig will look great as the “crippled” Doran Martell and although the sand snakes don’t look tough, the Red Viper didn’t look very tough either but he quickly became the “fan” favourite, so here’s hoping Benioff and Weiss do the same great job they did with Oberyn.

What do you think?



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Review: Unwept – Book One of The Nightbirds by Tracy and Laura Hickman



I have read Tracy and Laura Hickman’s epic fantasy series “The Bronze Canticle.” I know Tracy Hickman has written a lot of Dragonlance books, and both of the Hickmans have been involved in tabletop game design. This book was something of a departure from that theme. However, I was impressed with the book overall and now I know that the Hickmans have some range, that they can branch out into something a little different and do a good job.

This *is* fantasy, perhaps with a touch of horror or suspense and a little bit of a mystery rolled in. At first, you’re reading along and you’re wondering how well-known fantasy authors would convince a big fantasy publisher to put out this particular book. It just seems like a different kind of book. But stick with it, I promise “Unwept” makes sense for Tor!

I can’t say too much about the plot without giving away the story, so I’ll just set it up. “Unwept” is set during the time of World War I, although Gamin  (a coastal town in the Northeastern US) seems strangely isolated from events in the outside world. Ellis, our POV character, awakens on a train, not knowing who she is or how she got there. Because the world of Unwept ends up being so unusual, an amnesiac protagonist is a good choice. Ellis has to learn everything about this world along with us. She’s in the dark about a lot and so are we. People have to explain things to her because she legitimately doesn’t know. However, people are hesitant to tell her too much at once. The way information is handed out never feels like infodumping because it’s only a little at a time.

Ellis is led to believe there’s been an accident of some sort that made her forget her past and she’s come to Gamin to recover. Neither the surroundings nor the people are familiar to her. She will be staying at the home of her cousin Jenny although neither Jenny’s nor Ellis’s parents are around. Another relative, an uncle, meets Ellis at the train station. He’s a doctor and he’ll be overseeing her recovery. We also meet another prominent character, Merrick, in the scene at the train station. He’s got a bit of a controlling streak and Ellis doesn’t trust him from the beginning. Other characters include a number of other young people who spend (all of) their time socializing. None of the young people seem to have jobs — many of them seem to be independently wealthy. There are other odd things about the town, as well. You don’t notice everything at once. However, when Ellis asks a question, you realize, yeah, that is kind of weird, and you wonder what’s going on. The more things that seem off, the stranger the town of Gamin is, and the greater the sense of unease that builds up.

There are numerous elements that I think will be important in future books, and I’m eager to find out how they relate. The following information is mostly speculation and I have no idea if/how these things will relate to the ultimate resolution of the series. I’m only mentioning these elements because they stood out to me — one or more of them could totally be a red herring! I think a good groundwork was being laid in this book for addressing certain elements later, including moths, a lighthouse, shipwrecks, painting, babies/children, and music. (Seems like a lot, but I promise everything works together.)

I like the slow buildup of unease a lot; it makes you fear for Ellis and the other residents of Gamin. I find Ellis to be sympathetic. She doesn’t want to cause a problem but she knows she needs to look out for herself, and she does stand up to people towards the end of the book. It’s understandable that she lacks confidence early on — after all, she only knows what other people have told her. Other characters are not as fleshed out, but this is a third-person limited narrative and we’re almost exclusively in Ellis’s head.

If you want to get the most out of this book, pay careful attention to the characters’ language and use of words. There are some little clues, especially towards the end, that you won’t want to miss. In general, the writing does its job without breaking immersion.

Overall, a lot of elements of this book were done very well. If you hate cliffhangers, you may want to wait until the rest of the series is out (thankfully, Tracy and Laura Hickman write books at a decent pace, unlike some other authors in this genre — I wouldn’t expect it to be but another 2-3 years before the series is finished).



Review written by Sneaky Burrito