45 of 53 people found the following review helpful
Right at the top of the list of great fantasy series...,
This review is from: A Dance With Dragons: Part 2 After the Feast (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5) (Paperback)
I delayed reading this series because of the negative reviews on amazon regarding this book and its predecessor, A Feast of Crows. I didn't want another unpleasant disappointment after the Wheel of Time, having enthralled me, plunged into dismal depths around book eight. With similar accusations leveled at Martin, I was wary.
After reading the whole lot back to back, I can only surmise that this is due to the lack of attention span of some readers. It was utterly riveting. Yes, the plot grows and grows, but allegations that Martin is losing track of his story are quite simply down to some readers inability to keep up. Tiny aspects of the first book turn out to have significance much later- there is no padding whatsoever, unless you consider richly detailed description to be such.
And despite the vast story and cast (the list of characters in the back of the book takes up dozens of pages by this volume) it's tremendously fast moving thanks to the author's formula of short POV chapters.
I suppose if you left gaps between reading books, you would probably lose track of things. Now I'm left to wait for book six I might end up doing so. But I'm sure if you google it, there'll be synopses somewhere on the net.
This really is a story to immerse yourself in. Utterly tremendous- full of intrigue, treachery, sex and violence, a dash of the supernatural, unpredictability, all wrapped up in a medievil realism and harshness that both enthralls and appalls. But Martin's greatest strength is in his characterization. Everyone is an individual in this book- some are hugely original, some are more traditional fantasy characters. And like all the best fantasy, there is no tedious, unbelievable good versus evil going on. No unfeasible Tolkienism. It's about people struggling through turbulent times. Some characters who commit atrocious acts early on end up earning your sympathy, and some you might like at first might lose your affections in time. And if you want 'goodies' to root for, look elsewhere. This as realistic as fantasy gets- the depth and scope is up there with Robin Hobb and Rothfuss.
It's damn near perfect.
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Initial post: 15 Feb 2013 14:54:56 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Feb 2013 15:21:39 GMT
R Pearse says:
Hello. I really don't know how you can claim to have a reasonable sense of the attention spans of other readers. I didn't find A Dance With Dragons frustratingly tedious because of my 'inability to keep up', I found it frustratingly tedious because the (formerly gripping) plot seems to have completely ground to a halt.
I found it to be an unfocused, meandering, long-winded, repetitive, poorly written, slack-plotted trudge through an interminable mire of irrelevant tedium. 'Utterly riveting' and 'tremendously fast moving' it most certainly is not. 'A massive, boring disappointment after the brilliance of the first three books' is what it is. (And yes, I'm purposely ignoring A Feast for Crows - yawn.)
This is my view.
Other people will, quite naturally, have their own feelings about this book. This doesn't make me call into question their mental capabilities. To do so would be a pretty spectacular overreaction to a simple difference of opinion. It would, in fact, be arrogant, presumptuous and insulting. You could also say that it betrayed a rather strong sense of intellectual insecurity.
Have your opinion, you're welcome to it. But don't accuse others of being in some way mentally lacking just because they take a different view. It isn't big and it certainly isn't clever.
In reply to an earlier post on 18 Feb 2013 20:14:43 GMT
Ah, now I would never do as you accuse, and I wouldn't call a short attention span 'mentally lacking' either. I have one myself when it comes to movies and TV. I am genuinely bamboozled that folks think this story is boring and was speculating as to why this could be. Much is dumbed down in our tabloid culture, and I suspect peoples' attention spans ARE generally shorter nowadays.
By all means dislike these books- I loved them enough to want to jump to their defence, what with the negative reviews accusing Martin of ponderousness. I simply disagree with that- I was indeed riveted, and the short chapters flipping between character viewpoints, if anything, move too quickly....
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