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Old 08-26-2011, 08:02 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by afa View Post
I'm very, very surprised by your evaluation, =X=. The first 3 books of the series are terrific, and the third is widely considered the best. Can I ask what was it about them you didn't like?

For me, I would say the first three would all get at least a 4 out of 5 stars. It's only the last two books that were disappointing. Although somewhat forgiveable, since they would probably be the equivalent of the 'middle part' of a trilogy.

And like all middle parts, it's got the difficult task of keeping the story interesting while still developing details to flesh out the plot.

In any case, I disagree with most of the opinions here. I would say A Song of Ice and Fire is a very good series. But considering how long Martin seems to take to write, it might be better to get a good idea about when he will actually wrap things up before delving into them.
So that I won't ruin the story I'll answer it in the spoiler
Spoiler:

It's the way he resolves climatic points in the book. I paints himself in a corner rather than the protagonists resolving the problem. He'll kill off the character. Or add some other twist that doesn't jive with the plot. An example is how the kings lost their crowns. Wow that was just horrible.

He's become too predictable, if there is hope, expect the worst and that is what always happens.

And he writes to write. There is a huge difference between writing to add a plot and writing to have a 1000page book.

At least when Robert Jordan did it it had detail an did develop the plot. Martin just seems to write.

This is all I surmised before I found out he took a 10yr break. When I found out he took that long I said "Oh yeah I can believe it his book as lost it's direction."



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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
Milk... it does an author (and publisher) good.

I, myself, love endings. So much so, that I think every book should have at least one.
You know R.A. Salvatore makes each one of his books self contained. So that each book has a mini-plot. He also makes all of his books trilogies so you have one main plot resolved in 3 books.

He has a 20 book series but you don't feel like shesh when is this guy going to finish you get closer with this author. BTW I never got past book 6(Those where his best two trilogies) After that he got into a rut.

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Old 08-26-2011, 08:17 PM   #17
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BTW I never got past book 6(Those where his best two trilogies) After that he got into a rut.
I'll be perfectly honest; my favorite authors in the whole, wide world will have a hard time holding my interest for 3, 4, 5 or more books with the same characters and/or the same subject matter these days. Where the hell's the genre standalones (I'm looking at you epic fantasy)!?
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Old 08-26-2011, 09:02 PM   #18
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After all this I still can't make up my mind. I'm on the waiting list for the first one so will have to give it a try, but given that I like my stories to have a beginning, middle and end, it looks as though they may not be for me.
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Old 08-26-2011, 10:00 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by =X= View Post
So that I won't ruin the story I'll answer it in the spoiler
Spoiler:

It's the way he resolves climatic points in the book. I paints himself in a corner rather than the protagonists resolving the problem. He'll kill off the character. Or add some other twist that doesn't jive with the plot. An example is how the kings lost their crowns. Wow that was just horrible.

He's become too predictable, if there is hope, expect the worst and that is what always happens.

And he writes to write. There is a huge difference between writing to add a plot and writing to have a 1000page book.

At least when Robert Jordan did it it had detail an did develop the plot. Martin just seems to write.

This is all I surmised before I found out he took a 10yr break. When I found out he took that long I said "Oh yeah I can believe it his book as lost it's direction."
You know, if you had said those things about the fourth and fifth books, I would say I agree with you. But I really didn't feel that way about the first three at all. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.*



* Either that, or you'll have to agree that I'm right...
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Old 08-26-2011, 10:04 PM   #20
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After all this I still can't make up my mind. I'm on the waiting list for the first one so will have to give it a try, but given that I like my stories to have a beginning, middle and end, it looks as though they may not be for me.
Judging by what you said about having a proper ending and closure, I would say A Game of Thrones is not for you. You can tell when you finish it that it's the first of a series.

If you want to try a Fantasy novel that's the first in a series, but still has a somewhat contained ending, try Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. The ending is not a cliffhanger or anything; it can be read by itself, but at the same time leaves the door open for more. And if you like it, you can continue with the rest (which are also good). Another example is Magician by Raymond E. Feist.

Alternatively, you can just read some stand-alone Fantasy novels, and do away with the 'closure risk'. There are quite a few good ones - sticking with Sanderson, his debut Elantris is a good read, as is his Warbreaker. I haven't read any Guy Kavriel Kay, myself, but he is very highly regarded; Tigana is supposed to be his best. Neil Gaiman also has a few.

Last edited by afa; 08-26-2011 at 10:10 PM.
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Old 08-27-2011, 12:25 PM   #21
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Wow, I thought the feedback would be much more positive and "just go for it" type stuff! This is really giving me pause! Maybe I should just watch the series and skip the book. My husband and I rarely agree on TV shows to watch and we often both like HBO series (like Six Feet Under, True Blood, and Deadwood).

eP
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Old 08-28-2011, 01:00 AM   #22
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I've read the first 4 books (years ago) but don't plan to continue. As everyone has said, these are sprawling and slow-moving books that offer more politicking than adventure with no discrete plot lines or resolutions.

But this is also a very "dark and gritty" series that involves a lot (A LOT) of rape and child abuse and mutilation, etc. Plus your favorite character might die at any moment.
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Old 08-28-2011, 01:49 AM   #23
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Is it going to hurt or maim you in any way to just try to read it? Can Sony do free samples like Amazon does? If so, try that.

I for one, can't get into the first book. I'm over halfway through it, and I keep leaving it to read others. It jumps around too much, I don't really care about what happens to the characters, it's an interesting story but the wrong person is telling it.

The TV show, on the other hand, amazing. It's why I wanted to read the books, actually.
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Old 08-28-2011, 04:40 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elemenoP View Post
Wow, I thought the feedback would be much more positive and "just go for it" type stuff! This is really giving me pause! Maybe I should just watch the series and skip the book. My husband and I rarely agree on TV shows to watch and we often both like HBO series (like Six Feet Under, True Blood, and Deadwood).

eP
I'm a member of a couple of other forums (both Fantasy-related) and I must say this is the first time I've come across so many who dislike the series. A Song of Ice and Fire is almost unanimously praised and regarded as one of the best of the genre.

So I guess you'll just have to make up your own mind. If you like Fantasy, there's a good chance that you will like it. I was hesitant at first, as well, because it seemed to be the Fantasy equivalent of a 'political drama' and I wasn't sure if I would like that. Plus I was wary of the long wait between novels that Martin had become notorious for.

I had A Game of Thrones on my shelf for over a year, and I didn't read it. Then the show started, and it got rave reviews, and I decided it was high-time I started reading the damn thing. And I must say, I'm glad I did. I finished the first three in about 3 weeks, even though I had work and exams at that time; this is quite an achievement for me, as I'm not the quickest of readers. (I normally manage no more than 2 books a month.)

Things really only got slow in A Feast for Crows (the fourth in the series), and sadly that trend has continued in the latest one (A Dance with Dragons).

But you have to remember - there is a reason why the show was so heavily anticipated. Because a lot of people love the series.
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Old 08-28-2011, 06:48 AM   #25
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I'm reading the third book now. So far I'm really enjoying the series. Probably one of the best book series/ books I've ever read. I may be in the minority but I actually really like the different character point of view chapters. Not only is it different and refreshing, but I think that the story is too complex to tell it from one or two chracters points of view. Another thing I like is how the author fills you in with a bit more of the back story in everybook. I also like how he tells you some of the back story from one chracters perspective, but then in later books will tell you the same part of the back story from a different characters perspective. The story is multi- dimensional and he is able to portray that excellently with the different character perspectives.


Yes he has written six books and plans on writing at least two more to conclude the saga,
but for me one of the biggest strengths of this series is the level of detail. It's well thought out, you can tell he takes his time and thus it is to be expected that it will take him years to finish each book. If we don't the 6th book for another 5-10 years I would understand.

As for the empty spaces, I.e when nothing is happening, I kind of like this because when something does happen it takes you by suprise and makes it more enjoyable for me at least. When you read some books, the plot gradually builds up to certain points. Sometimes I find that I have already guessed what is going to happen or even if I haven't it takes some of the bite out of the reveal. Most of the big reveals in the series have taken me completely by suprise. The only part that didn't was the red wedding in book 3. I had an inkling but the way it was written was excellent. Prior to the reveal I had a sense of impending doom as I was reading. This sensation was almost if not as good as it would have been had I not had any idea what was going to happen.

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Old 08-28-2011, 08:25 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shanghaichica
Yes he has written six books and plans on writing at least two more to conclude the saga,
Five books and three novellas (in the world of Westeros), but who's counting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by afa
I'm a member of a couple of other forums (both Fantasy-related) and I must say this is the first time I've come across so many who dislike the series. A Song of Ice and Fire is almost unanimously praised and regarded as one of the best of the genre.
I think you've answered your own question. This isn't a fantasy-related forum. There's a lot more cross-over readers and part-time fantasy fans here.

And like I said... I enjoy Martin's writing (when he's on point), but I've grown weary of series' (especially ones that go from cliff-hanger to cliff-hanger). The format is not a literary concept, it's a marketing concept. And any story-telling format that encourages readers to overlook a subpar work, simply because it's a "middle book" just isn't cool at all, IMO.

Entire books that exist for no other other reason but to set up events in some future book are completely unacceptable to me. The author is obligated to find a way to keep it all interesting WHILE "fleshing out plots" and getting characters into "position" for future installments. If they can't do that, they should consider narrowing the scope of their tale.

Plus (and here's where I differ from a lot of fantasy fans), I detest over-zealous world-building. World-suggesting or world-hinting is more my cup of tea. World-building is an attempt to micro-manage my imagination's interpretation of your (the author's) vision. It's OK if I get some of it "wrong." I don't need to know whose face is printed on the coin of the realm. I don't need to have every single, little socio-economic/political detail (that each character's decisions might affect) described to me in excruciating detail. Leave something for my imagination to "flesh out." My imagination enjoys a good workout... that's why I was attracted to fantasy in the first place.

Economy of prose is an art, too. I only wish more genre authors aspired to it.

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Old 08-28-2011, 09:57 AM   #27
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Don't start!! I said I would not read a dance with dragons. Well curiosity got the best of me. I started it. I finally just stopped. Is it better than book 4? Yes, but barely. He is lost in his own story.
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Old 08-28-2011, 02:16 PM   #28
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I've pretty well stated already what I like about the series and where I have some reservations. I'm now browsing the first four in preparation for A Dance With Dragons. After a long hiatus this is, unfortunately necessary. A Feast For Crows wasn't exactly inspiring. The main story bearers, who were also the most interesting characters, Jon, Tyrion, and Daenerys were all absent, in that not one of them is used as a point of view. {I believe these will be the three dragon riders in the final volume's apocalypse.} So FFC is certainly a bridge novel. Others who have read DWD have said that it is much better. I'll just have to wait until I read it and find out.

I do hope that Martin finally gets moving on the final two volumes and brings things to a satisfactory conclusion. BTW I believe Martin has said the the ending is going to be "bittersweet".

Hmmm. . .which heroes/heroines will die?
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:43 AM   #29
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I started reading A Game of Thrones but was bored rigid by it. I didn't even get past about the first fifty pages.
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:39 PM   #30
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It's a great series, but, really, GRRM would try the patience of a saint with his delays. After finishing the fourth book, I honestly thought that he had got lost. In his story and would never finish book 5. I've heard good reviews, though, so I will buy Adwd despite initial reluctance.
I would definitely recommend that anyone at least try those series. GRRM really is a great fantasy writer and he has built a wonderful world with great characters. Even if the journey hasn't yet resulted in the payoff of an ending, it has been a great ride.
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