having done read it: The Armegeddon Rag

The Armageddon Rag The Armageddon Rag by George R.R. Martin

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I cannot think of a more perfect book for me to have read in the wake of the most exciting presidential election I may ever witness. This book, although pure escapism, packed just the right punches to rank it not only on the "dad was right" list but also on my own all-time favorites list. Here are the reasons it resonated with me:

1. The author: I'm one of those who loves his epic fantasy series, the Song of Ice and Fire for reasons way beyond "I like me some swords and dragons" I'm in it for the political/familial sprawling drama. So, I was very pleased to see that his ability to set the stage, paint the characters and deliver the intrigue was all present.

2. The peace movement: As a youth, I was envious of my parents for living through the tumultuous 60s. Dad was a musician, so he had the records for me to grow up on. For me, those records go hand in hand with the notion of passive resistance, marching for what you think is right and loving the planet and the people on it. The Armageddon Rag is set up

around an aging activist who is having identity issues because he has lost the drive for activism that fueled everything he did in the late 60s. There is a lot of action and reference to Grant Park in Chicago, which resonated with me because of the celebration on election night. In fact, the entire energy surrounding Obama's campaign gave perspective and connectivity to the rising action of this novel.

3. The music: I have a wound. I joke about it; but, it still haunts. My mother took away my KISS records and gave me Chicago tapes. Talk about scarring a child! (I'm not missing the irony of the band's name). Even at 14, when I was convincing my dad that I needed a CD player, I promised him (and I'm sure it saddened him to hear) that I would never buy a Rock and Roll CD. Can you imagine! {I've rationalized every CD purchase since - in other words, I've broken that promise, thank you.) Regardless, when the author talks about activism in the 60s being so closely associated with music, I get it. When the room you're in is filled with people all listening to the overwhelming sound of a song that you know and love and real people are up there making it happen, it IS magic. It's the good fight.

4. sci-fi-fantasy-elves-and-shit: A rock and roll book about self-recognition and magic that heavily references Tolkien? sold.

The first half of this book rolls by incredibly quickly. There is a marked sense of realism in which you start to identify with or recognize the main character and all of his associates. Midway through the ground shifts from under you and you're reminded that it's a fake story on a page; but, this doesn't mean the quality of the story telling drops. If anything it indicates how amazing George R.R. Martin is at his craft.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes the horror genre, to anyone who got moved by the election results, to anyone who really likes what music can do to you, to lovers of the Song of Ice and Fire sage (break out of the genre from time to time, it's good for you), and to anyone who is in their 30s and struggling or in the 50s or 60s and remembers.


before reading, I said:

Dad calls this one of his favorite books; so, I'm excited to start it in the rare and fleeting free moments of the weekend (which starts Friday, right? right). I had it shipped in from Charlotte though the Interlibrary Loan program, which I highly recommend.

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