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Customer Review

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but no gob-smacker., 29 Nov 2011
This review is from: A Song of Ice and Fire (1) - A Game of Thrones (Paperback)
I am without a doubt somewhat slow in catching the George R. R. Martin bus. However, now that I have (by reading the rather monstrously bloated 'A Game of Thrones') I find myself ruminating over what I have read and deliberating about purchasing the next book in this 'epic' series. Is it considered epic because of its quality, or merely for its length...?

I have deliberately awarded this book a middle of the road score because it both enthralled me and irritated me. I can't help but notice that the vast majority of the views on this site have been highly favourable, but I would gladly debate with and question those who have awarded it a perfect 5 stars.

Perhaps I should begin with telling you why it is good. Well, Martin writes well for starters: about this there can be no quarrel. The story is overall an interesting one, exciting in parts and most chapters leave you wanting to discover the next turn of events. He uses detail well to fuel (as well as aid) your imagination. The subject matter is of a sort that would appeal to most people (albeit likely aimed at the 50% of the population in possession of a pair of testes). Fantasy it may be, but we're not talking witches, wizards and lightning-ejaculating wands, and only relatively occasional utterances of dragons and a bit of hocus pocus towards the end.

All well and good until we address Martin's enthusiasm for breadth. There is simply far too much happening for anyone who isn't entirely, 100%, completely, utterly and undeniably engrossed in this book. I read this book over the course of about 7 weeks (leisurely, but consistent). I like to think I have a fairly good brain in my skull and I know a few people who would back me up on this point. That said, I found it incredibly difficult to fully grasp the story and relied on later discussions of earlier events to help consolidate the overall plot.

All-in-all I would probably recommend the book to a friend but would not do so with abounding enthusiasm, therefore 3/5.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Dec 2011 07:51:44 GMT
Galning says:
I would agree with your review 100%. It was only after finishing the book that I found the names of the characters at the back and it confirmed my own feelings - WAY too many people. And I too am puzzled by how many 5s this book has gathered.

Not only is there too many people to remember who on earth is who, half the time, there are fantasy items introduced and not properly explained. When you are trying to grasp around 30 new characters per chapter, many of them only introduced fleetingly, I found myself struggling to keep up and ended up skipping pages here and there where he was droning on about who killed who and why they were out to get each other.

If a book grabs me I can read it in an afternoon but this one (being a hefty size) meant it was bedtime reading over about 3 weeks. Left me pretty indifferent to the author but I'd bought the 1st three books in a sale so will have to give book 2 a go....

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Dec 2011 14:02:59 GMT
Dr Black says:
Thank you. Perhaps you would be so kind as to start the next book and let me know what you think of it after the first few chapters. Perhaps that will give you enough of a feel of the book to enlighten me as to whether the author has improved on his shortcomings in the first novel. If he hasn't, I might find it difficult the justify the time sifting through the tedium for entertainment.

Again, thanks for the comment.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Mar 2012 13:47:29 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Mar 2012 13:48:06 BDT
If I may just add my opinion here? Agreed with everything you said in the review. At my son's recommendation, gave the second book a go. I found myself skipping chapters for those characters of less interest to me. This tells me two things
1) too many characters
and
2) too few likeable characters
Although I am mildly interested in some outcomes, it is not enough to persuade me to lose valuable reading time on any more of this semi hypnotic tale. Enough!
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