Monday, November 21, 2011

My review of George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire: epic meh

So I can't exactly pan his books seeing as I've read the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series in less than three months, but if I could go back in time I'd warn myself, don't do it. Or maybe just read the first book, which is the best, and then watch the HBO Game of Thrones show as it gradually recapitulates the books (disclaimer: haven't seen it, but it gets great reviews).

The series is epic, but it's meh. The level of detail is stunning - I've never read a book with such descriptions of each dish of food at so many meals. The battles and intrigues are epic. And they don't lead to anything. Five books later, and I don't have a sense of a plot line that's really advanced from the beginning. The characters just run around in their clown car of a fantasy world, coming and going to various lands and occasionally getting bumped off. It feels like an alternate history, which is fine, even amazing, but after a while it just all fades into one damn thing after another.

Tolkien could wrap up a story arc in three books. Martin hasn't done it in five - he claims he'll do it in seven, but the last two haven't been written yet, so who knows really, and these aren't quick reads like the Harry Potter books. My suggestion is to just watch the show instead (based on all the rave reviews), it saves a lot of time. Of course, it's too late for me - I'll read the books when they come out.

UPDATE:  I half-expected to either get flamed or ignored, but apparently the rabbits agree that Martin's overrated. They provide alternatives.