I read Dreamsongs Volume 1 earlier this year and I enjoyed it but wanted to put off reading this one until I had more time. Voilà! Plenty of time these days!
I only knew of George R.R. Martin through the Ice and Fire Series but I enjoyed reading most of his other work as well. I am by no means a Martin expert. But it’s fun to read his old work and see the themes and threads that pop up throughout the thrones series. My biggest problem with Volume II is when he starts talking near the beginning about how his drawers are full of unfinished series. For just a minute I wanted to cry and then I thought to myself, “He’ll finish. He’ll finish. He’s going to finish!” I am not going to be one of those people who beg and plead no matter how much I want to do so. He’ll finish!
The stand outs in this one for me are: ‘The Skin Trade’ (which was better horror than what was included in Volume 1) it’s about werewolves technically but all I could think was the Bolton’s in Thrones and you’ll know why quickly and disgustingly. I enjoyed ‘Unsound Variations’ even though I know nothing about chess- it’s a nice twist that by the end I found myself rooting for some characters who were pretty awful in the beginning (not unlike Thrones). Of course I’m also fascinated by the idea of different lives based on the choices one makes.
There is a Hollywood section that I found fascinating. I enjoyed seeing the scripts laid out but I also like how Mister Martin talks a little in the beginning about how these particular stories or scripts came to be and the bit of Hollywood background about the behind the scenes made the scripts even more interesting in that regard.
Of course there’s also Dunk and Egg, the first of the Hedge Knight series, the reason why I picked up the book to get my Westeros fix. I’m not even going to lie. It was my favorite of the Volume. Dunk and his squire are just adorable and I loved the peak into early Westeros and the Targ Princes before everything went up in flames.
This book overall was a quicker read and a bit less expansive then the first Volume but then again I enjoyed it more. The stories feel more alive and consequently a lot more intense. If you’re a fan you’ve probably already read it (I’m perpetually late to the game). If not it’s still an enjoyable anthology just beware of some truly gruesome stuff (mostly in The Skin Trade) and some mentions of sex and in a later story mentions of a violent assault.