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3.1 out of 5 stars
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3.1 out of 5 stars
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on 14 September 2011
I'm going to put my cards on the table straight away and say I tried the first of GRR Martin's Game of Thrones books and did not understand what all the fuss was about.

This book on the other hand I much preferred. It has a great background, believable plot, and unlike what others feel here, I thought the characterisation was pretty good too.

It's not a perfect book by any means, and I think it could have benefited with fleshing out some of the plot elements. In some ways it reminds me of Jack Vance, which is probably intentional. All I can say is that I enjoyed it, and for me at least, it's a pity he got sidetracked into writing these fantasy doorstoppers
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on 11 December 2002
...and it kinda shows. On one hand, George has delivered one of the most creative settings I've ever seen in Sci-Fi, complete with fascinating alien cultures. On the other hand, I felt quite dissatisfied with his main characters, and there was little action. However, it was still fun to see the master honing his skills.
The planet of Worlorn is a rogue, simply meandering through space on its own. Recently, it has come to drift near 'The Wheel of Fire' -a constellation, which has brought it to life for a few decades. The wandering planet became a wonderful tourist attraction for a while... a festival, with fantastic cities built by each of the known races. Now, Worlorn is pulling away into cold darkness again, and its becoming uninhabitable once more. The Festival of Worlds has come to a close, yet a few people can still be found living among it's deserted cities as the planet slowly dies. Dirk travels here in answer to a call from his old lover, Gwen, and ends up the pawn of an intercultural conflict.
As I said before, this is a fantastic place I'd love to see with my own eyes, but the characters were too dry and unrealistic. There really wasn't any motivation to keep turning the pages here. Since reading A Song Of Ice And Fire, I've been hunting down all of George RR Martin's earlier out-of-print works, and have enjoyed the ones I've found quite a bit. He has quickly become my favorite author, but Dying Of The Light could have been skipped.
-Lysander
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on 21 May 2003
For those coming to this book because of the Song of Ice and Fire be warned this is not high fantasy, it's a piece of straight cultural science fiction. It is very different from his current work. Science fiction and fantasy are often linked together, but despite this overlap there are huge differences between the genres. If you like space opera and great SF ideas this book is for you, if you want a high fantasy romp and have never liked hard SF then look elsewhere
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on 2 January 2015
As a big fan of Martin's 'Thousand Worlds' universe, I'm pleased to say that this sci-fi action-packed thriller, his first, hits the spot. Kept me on the edge of my seat through out and the descriptions of the eerie, doomed planet of Worlorn are genuinely haunting. Some thoughtful themes regarding the clash of cultures between the Klingon-like(yet definitely human) Kavalars, the sly Kimdissi and the 'normal' Avalonians, as well as an exploration of what honor really means. A fine, twisty plot and a set of characters deeper than they first appear make a far better than average book that I tore through(particularly once the action really started.)
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on 14 July 2015
This seems to have had the potential to have been a very good novel,but was not well composed,lacking a sound plot,and tended to meander.At nearly 350 pages,it was too long,with a dense structure that was difficult to follow.
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on 17 January 2001
This story is set in the far future when humanity is only recently recovered from disastrorous wars which cut off interstellar contact for many years. The location is Worlorn, a rogue planet drifting through space which is turned into a festival planet for the short period it passes close to a multiple star system. The story's hero Dirk t'Larien arrives on Worlorn shortly after the end of the festival when most of the population has left, in response to a call from his former lover Gwen Delvano. Gwen is married to Jaan Vikary, from the feudal world of High Kavalan. High Kavalan suffered greatly during interstellar wars and the population was forced to live underground and they adopted a martial culture which has many philisophical views that seem unnatural to the more contemporary views of Dirk. Vikary is a reformer who tries to change some of the more cruel ways of his people which puts him into conflict with hunters from his homeworld who regard all off-worlders as less than human. The main plot of the story is concerned with the culture clash between Dirk, Gwen, Jaan and the High Kavalan hunters. There is no shortage of action is this book, it is genuinely supsensful and (as regular Martin readers would suspect) there are several plot-twists. This book is intelligent, compelling and well worth reading.
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Dying of the Light was George RR Martin's first novel, published in 1977. It is set in his SF 'Thousand World's' mileu, but no prior knowledge of the setting is required. As GRRM's first experience of the long-form novel, it is perhaps unsurprising that Dying of the Light is somewhat rough around the edges, lacking the trademark expert pacing of his later works. The first half of the novel is terribly drawn out. Whilst Worlorn, its flora and fauna and its dying cities are beautifully described, there is the feeling of the plot meandering around without a purpose for a while. In the second half, the book's various strands coalesce into a much more driven storyline and the pacing ramps up to the ambiguous finale in a manner which is classic GRRM.

The protagonists are well-drawn. Once again (see also many of the short stories in Dreamsongs), anyone who has been been through a painful or awkward relationship can identify with GRRM's main characters, Dirk and Gwen. The Kavalar are also a well-drawn species, whose complex codes of honour are logical, although the exploitation of legalistic loopholes in their traditions and customs occasionally makes the book feel like a 'Klingon honour' episode of Star Trek. Some may also bemoan the Butch & Sundance-style ending.

Overall, the novel has aged reasonably well, although the odd pacing means the first half of the book has a tendency to drag somewhat. Once the reader hits the second half of the novel, however, things improve immeasurably. As usual, it's fun finding precursors to George's later work (particularly the similarities between Bretan and A Song of Ice and Fire's Sandor Clegane), but Dying of the Light is a somewhat slight work compared to ASoIaF, Fevre Dream or The Armageddon Rag.
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on 17 February 2016
I write this review as a sciense fiction reader not a fantasy one (i don't read fantasy and i'm not even in the slightest interested in The song of ice and fire books) and i don't understand why this book is included in the sf masterworks series.
First it's not actually science fiction. Yes it is set in another planet in the future but beyond that it is actually a high fantasy story. The world of High Caballan besides it's technology (which anyway doesn't play any important role in the book) is a classic high fantasy world. And the central story is a story of love ( a man trying to save his ex-girlfriend from the rather barbarian rules of High Cavallan society). A science fiction book needs more than a setting in another planet.It needs a science fiction theme and there is nothing like that here.
The writing is good but nothing exceptional. The only reason i can think about for including this book in the sf masterworks series is that, propably, they wanted something from the famous writer of game of thrones in the series.
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on 22 July 2016
Good overall, and not too slow to get started. The dying planet along with the events of the book cast a very good melancoly. The ending will leave you satisfied and glad you read the book in some strange, sad way...
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on 5 June 2001
After reading "A game of thrones" and "A clash of kings", I was chumping at the bit to read anything written by this author. So on coming across this book I thought was an answer to my pray for a thoroughly mindblowing read. However I was extremely disappointed. I was not expecting the same intensity of detail to be contained in a single volume, but I did expect the rich plotting and colour of his other novels, the diversity and flavour of the characters that you could grasp and understand with their weaknesses and strengths. I would not recommend this if I was introducing this writer to a friend for the first time.
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