Customer Review

57 of 68 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointed with this writer despite strong beginning, 7 Sep 2012
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This review is from: A Song of Ice and Fire, 7 Volumes (Paperback)
This isn't going to be a popular review with the diehard fans, but it's an honest one and I hope it may be of some use to those who haven't yet got into this series.

We bought this boxset on the understanding that it was "complete", e.g. the series comes to some kind of conclusion. It isn't complete in any sense, and doesn't even attempt to come to any form of conclusion (so why issue a boxset?!).

I also bought it under the impression that (having read the first three books before buying it) George R.R. Martin was an accomplished author who could keep you gripped longterm. He isn't, at least not in my case (or my partner's).

I was brought the first book as a present by my stepson last year. It was one of the best things I've read in a very long time and had me engrossed from start to finish, I read the lot in three nights, and it's not a lightweight volume. I was so impressed I rushed out and brought the second, not so great, but still a good read. Got a bit worried when I read the proposed "trilogy" had billowed out into six volumes and that the author had taken a couple of decades to write that much, but when the characters and plot were so good who cares? The longer the epic the better, right?

By the time I was half way through the second volume my partner was reading the first and she was also hooked - "such a great writer" we said to each other, a fantasy based (loosely) on the Wars of the Roses and Shakespeare's historical plays, "so gripping, can't wait to find out what comes next". My partner's favourite character was Arya, mine was Jon, but so many great characters - who can't like Tyrion? We've never both liked a book so much.

Feeling a little jaded with the second book I pressed on to the third and was pleased to find it actually started to pick up again - there it goes, you feel, Mr Martin has got into his stride again, now we're moving! Except it's the last of the good stuff - what you don't realise at that point is that from here on it's virtually all downhill into a never ending mire of: maim and disfigure old character, kill off old character, insert random new character much like the old character, but rather less charming, insert random sex scene and/or Elizabethan feast complete with recipes and/or boringly repetitive "humourous" song and/or boring and repetitive recitation of who killed who in some battle (not described), randomly maim and disfigure new character (Mr Martin likes gruesome facial scars nearly as much as he likes incest and Elizabethan food it would seem), kill off new character, bring back old character in some completely pathetic, predictable and implausible way, maim and disfigure old/new character.... and so on and on and on...

By the time you get round to finishing the last book in the boxset (book seven? it feels more like book 110), if you're anything like me, you just don't care any more, it's all so samey, so repetitive, so... dull! I've read them all up to the end of this boxset and Mr Martin claims he's going to wrap the series up in two more books, or maybe a couple more? But, you know what, I really don't care, the "cliffhanger" endings are getting tired and I really, really don't like ANY of the characters any more. Sad ending to something which started so promisingly.

My partner gave up at around the same time I did, although she was only on the fifth book (?) - the one that is almost entirely about new characters and doesn't really have any connection with the rest of the series until you're about halfway though and then you realise it's not going to contain ANYTHING at all about your favourite characters anyway! The strange thing is she didn't know I was fed up with the books until we discussed it one evening and both found out we felt exactly the same about them.

End result is this boxset is going to the car boot sale and we won't be buying any more (or watching any more of the series on SKY - which is incidentally not bad - it's got a great cast of actors, but does play around with the plot a bit - changing the sexuality of main characters and throwing in lots of gratituous sex scenes, for example).

IF you want to read about late Medieval skullduggery of the kind written about by Mr Martin in his more lucid and entertaining moments I'd recommend any of the many fantastic historical books available about the Wars of the Roses (York and Lancaster = Stark and Lannister, not too subtle really). IF you prefer a moving and inspiring fictionalised account of the same events look to Shakespeare. IF you want a cook book of Elizabethan recipes buy one, there are plenty. IF you want good fantasy fiction with perfidious nobles, bloody battles, Dragons and/or Undead there are plenty of better (more disciplined) writers of such out there (you could try the Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien, for example), and IF you want erotic fiction (porn?) involing siblings and/or older men and young girls there are better sources for those too - I'm sure!

In a nutshell if you're the kind of person who thinks neverending Soap Operas with the same old plot repeated over, and over, but with the odd new character and bit of sleaze, all wrapped up in a rather weak (at the end) "Medieval" fantasy you'll probably love this series and treasure it for ever. On the other hand if you're not that kind of person you probably won't want to bother.
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Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Sep 2012 18:21:29 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 Sep 2012 18:23:24 BDT
A most unsatisfactory series. The reader is left without answers to a series of cliffhangers. Also there is the loss of multiple characters who just disappear without explanation. After 7 heavy volumes (some of which are very boring and repetitive) there is still no sign of a conclusion. I will NOT be buying any more of Mr Martin's work

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2012 09:08:53 BDT

Posted on 6 Oct 2012 12:23:29 BDT
MichaelH says:
Tear him for his bad verses.

Posted on 8 Oct 2012 16:08:26 BDT
A Brook says:
I totally agree with the review. got book 1 six months ago and loved it, went downhill after that and I have just finished the last one available (book 5) and I am none the wiser about what happened really, but I know lots about what these people ate, wore and how little they thought of women (that morning he broke his fast with a plate of.........2 pages late, and a flagon of watered wine) or (she was dressed in.....2 pages later, and her hair was, 1 page later...etc etc). Bloated beyond need and GRRM is in serious need of an editor.

Posted on 25 Apr 2013 11:58:33 BDT
I agree with the review. Around the fifth book, I was disappointed, kept trying to go on, thinking it would improve, and then simply gave up.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Sep 2013 02:23:04 BDT
I was hooked, having bought the 1st and 2nd series of films I was going to buy this set so that I could continue the story until the END. This boxed set gave me the impression I could do that.

It is sad that, I and possibly many others have been dissapointed when maybe some serious editing might have made a difference....
Anyway, I wont be buying anymore of this (or any of Mr Martins work) in any shape or form. What would be the point ??

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Mar 2014 01:26:49 GMT
The saga is not complete...

Posted on 20 Mar 2014 01:45:50 GMT
I took time to read all your reviews. Of course, these are your personal opinions, and you are free to post. However, when you constantly dislike something that tens of milions likes, you are a frustrated person or just an idiot - I tend to the first, as comparing you with idiots, will be offensive for them.

Posted on 26 May 2014 15:17:23 BDT
Tempestas says:
The fact that "tens of millions" (a bit of an exaggeration, I think) of people like a book doesn't mean it's any good. A lot of people liked Shades of Grey. What does that tell you about public taste?

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Aug 2014 01:02:42 BDT
Last edited by the author on 3 Aug 2014 01:06:12 BDT
A. Moriarty says:
Sorin Dobrila, calling people idiots because they don't like a book is almost as stupid as calling someone stupid because they do. It's a matter of personal taste. What a boring world it would be if we all liked the same things and there was no place for discussion and difference of opinion. I haven't read the books yet but found this review to be helpful as it didn't just say the books were boring, it said why they were boring. This is something I can consider when deciding whether to purchase or not. I will also read some positive reviews to get a balanced view before parting with my hard earned cash.
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