Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An epic start, but...., 31 July 2011
This review is from: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) (Paperback)
There is a lot to applaud here, but I finished this book with a feeling I may have invested into a product, that will ultimately disappoint. I am undecided as to whether the quirky way the chapters are written works. Each chapter is titled with a leading characters name, and subsequently written primarily from their point of view. Whilst that helps develop a character early on, it becomes frustrating reading about the same event 30 odd pages down the road from a different perspective. Some of the leading players are weak characters and knowing a whole chapter is devoted to them, did make me feel like I was doing gym work before a race, essential to do, but not something to look forward to. The flip side is when my favourite, Tyrion Lannister was in the spotlight I knew the ensuing pages were worth the hard 9 yards reaching them. Tyrion is a dwarf, not in the Thorin or Gimli mode, more an abomination from birth kind of way. Even worse than this, is the fact he is a second son, in this book, first sons are popular, later births are situated below horses, castles, shiny swords and just marginally higher than women but way, way, way higher than bastards, they really get the pointy end of the stick here. (Feminists may want to avoid this tome). But Tyrion is smart and has wonderful dialogue, think Blackadder IV in the Blackadder I time era. Other characters with wit or subtlety seem to play mere cameo roles, something I am hoping is addressed in book 2. The start of the book has the execution of a ne'er do well, but fortunately for him, the passer of the sentence Lord Stark has to chop off his head, it just wouldn't be honourable not to look him in the eye before decapitation, Lord Stark even brings his kids to spectate, truth be told punishments are severe with the only option to death often being 'Taking the Black' which is guard duty up North on a 300' foot wall.
Shortly after a Dire wolf manages to give birth to 6 wolfs before dying from Stag injuries on the Stark estate which conveniently matches the number of children Ned Stark has, the children each claim a wolf cub which is ok with Dad so long as they do all the caring, we all know, after a day mom and dad are on litterbox duty so this really is fantasy. Incidentally a dire wolf is basically a wolf on steroids so maybe parenting classes should be considered. Still they each have a wolf which grows up and then my real moan, on several occasions the child in trouble has wolfy spring to the rescue, yes I know Dire Wolves are super scary and strong but against hardened warriors with 6' swords, nah.
The book does touch faintly on Sorcery & Dragons and "The Others" (spooky zombie types from the other side of the wall) but not nearly enough.
The big battle scene was frankly a disappointment but after reading Joe Abercrombie's "The Heroes" (500 pages, 1 battle, not much else, but sheer joy to read) it just deserved better.
I know this review seems to be harsh, but I will stand by it until I have completed book 2, 3 stars only I'm afraid and a worry that there might be too many loose ends to tidy up.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Apr 2012 23:16:24 BDT
Colin Leacy says:
I have just finished book 5, and I still have not made up my mind whether it's a classic or just a long, long read. Even now after a gazillion pages there are more loose ends than a Tory MP's tax return so book 9 would be my guess for a finale. This whole saga is Biblical in more ways than one, a memory for family trees is essential, I wish the publishers could provide a couple a la Tolkein for quick reference. Anyway here's a spoiler Tyrion lives still at the end of book 5.
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