Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Song of Ice and Fire - don't start

Today there are 182 1 star reviews of George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4. If you haven't started the series, even if you've digested the first book, I urge you to read a few. For example....

...  GRRM will end up breaking our hearts. He is notorious for not keeping notes and "writing from his mind". So unlike Jordan, who had extensive outlines, notes and ideas for a future ghostwriter to work from in the event of his untimely death, GRRM may leave nothing but an unfinished series...

... The book is filled with plodding, excruciatingly descriptive chapters about the ASOIAF world that don't do much to move the plot forward. Half the chapters consist of characters traveling from point A to point B, or they feel like info-dumps. What happened to the story?...

... feel really ripped off and abused by this book. It is truly awful - not only dull, but positively unpleasant. I started to wonder if he was having a miserable divorce while writing it, because he seems suddenly to have it in for women. So many of the women characters in this book are the same: scheming, mean, controlling, lewd b------. It's the same idea, over and over.

He's awful in what he has happen to the two positive female characters in the book. Everything is negative and horrid in this story. There is no one to root for, not even a couple of characters who were very appealing in the other books.... ... He actually admits in the preface that he had trouble with the book, wrote it far too long and so cut it in half, with all the good characters left out of this one!!!!! It's worse than that - he didn't put much plot in it either...

It's rare in Amazon land to find such a long series of reviews that express my own feelings so well. This series is the Turkish Delight of the fantasy genre -- tasty at first, then vaguely distasteful, and finally calling for an intervention. By the time I got to the fate of Brienne I needed a long shower and a lot of fresh air. Yech.

If you dislike books, and especially series of books, that start without an end in mind - then skip Fire and Ice.

You have been warned.

Update 4/15/12: The Dance with Dragons reviews are equally scathing -- and rather brilliant in places. For example ...

So here is a release schedule, with my estimated projections into the future, giving George 5 years to complete each future volume:

Part I, Vol 1 (A Game of Thrones): 1996Part I, Vol 2 (A Clash of Kings): 1998Part I, Vol 3 (A Storm of Swords): 2000

Part 1.5, Vol 1 (A Feast for Crows): 2005Part 1.5, Vol 2 (A Dance with Dragons): 2011Part 1.5, Vol 3 ... 2016 (Climax in Meereen)

Part 2, Vol 1 .... 2021 Dany reaches Westeros)Part 2, Vol 2 .... 2026Part 2, Vol 3 .... 2031

Part 3, Vol 1 .... 2036Part 3, Vol 2 .... 2041Part 3, Vol 3 .... 2046

The series will never be finished.

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