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What Jia is Reading, Week of August 8

The number of books I read any given week more or less depends on their respective genres. If I’m reading YA or romances, I will burn through many books. On the other hand, if I’m reading a doorstopper epic fantasy, it can take a while and I’ll only finish one. This was a Only One Book sort of week.

A Dance with Dragons by George RR MartinA Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin. I finally finished this 1000+ page monster! Was it worth the wait? I honestly don’t know the answer to that. I struggled through the first half of the novel. We’re talking slogging here. It improved for me in the second half and I really liked where the majority of the storylines ended up, but the truth is there isn’t much forward progress in this book. It’s mostly development and set-up, although we’re finally starting to see how the different storylines are going to come together. But is that enough? It’s been almost 6 years since the last book came out, 8 since the majority of the characters featured in this novel were last seen in the series. I’m at the point where I just cannot recommend this series to anyone anymore because the publication schedule is so erratic and in all honesty, I’m not convinced we don’t have another Wheel of Time situation on our hands. (I’ll probably write up a full-length review for next week. I need a break — reading this book wore me out!)

So what about you? Who has read A Dance with Dragons? What did you think? Or are you someone who started reading the books after watching the HBO series? If so, what do you think of the books so far? Anyone else experiencing long-running series fatigue (of any genre, not just fantasy and definitely not just A Song of Ice and Fire) and wondering when it will all end? Come commiserate.

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Jia is an avid reader who loves fantasy and young adult novels. She's also currently dipping her toes in the new adult genre but remains unconvinced by the prevalent need for traumatic pasts. Her favorite authors are Michelle West and Jacqueline Carey. YA authors whose works she's enjoyed include Holly Black, Laini Taylor, Ally Carter, and Megan Miranda. Jia's on a neverending quest for novels with diverse casts and multicultural settings. Feel free to email her with recommendations at [email protected]!

45 Comments

  1. Molly O'Keefe
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 10:15:03

    I’ve started the series since the HBO special and I truly am awed by the books. The first three I can not recommend enough – the world building, the character reveals, the cliffhangers and surprises. Love them… then comes the fourth book…I’m halfway through and I totally understand the criticisims of this book it’s a whole lot of “who the hell?” And if I had just a little satisfaction, one answered question, one slightly happy ending I might put the thing down – but I can’t. I have to find out what happens to the these people. The blessing for those of us who started late – there’s no waiting. I got the first five all at once and when I’m done I just pick up the next one, so I don’t have the frustration the fans from the very beginning have.

  2. Jessica D
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 10:42:44

    *****VARYING DEGREES OF SPOILERS FOR THE SERIES AHEAD*****

    I read the first book years ago, then caught up with the rest this past year in anticipation of the HBO series and the 5th book. I felt like this book was a bit bloated. In particular, **MILD SPOILER** I felt there was far too much time spent with the previously minor characters from the Iron Islands, and ***SLIGHTLY LESS MILD SPOILER*** really didn’t need two more red-herring sets of parents for Jon Snow thrown into the mix. Whereas I could have done with ****PRETTY HUGE SPOILER**** more Jaime and Brienne, who became favorite characters of mine after the last book.

    At least there was lots of *****SPOILER?*****Tyrion. :)

  3. Jia
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 10:47:12

    @Molly O’Keefe: Ah but even for people coming late into the series, they’ll still experience the same pain as those of us who started from the very beginning! GRRM has already stated he doesn’t plan to start writing book 6 until next year. He says he intends to wrap it up in 2 books (so 7 books total) but it’ll probably be 3 more books (8 books total) but considering the fact that this was supposed to be a trilogy (!!!), I just really want people to know what they’re getting themselves into.

  4. Jia
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 10:49:43

    @Jessica D: Haha, the number of Davos Seaworth chapters truly annoyed me. Especially since he seemed really determined to make sure we knew he had 7 sons but lost 4 of them on the Blackwater.

  5. Angela
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 10:55:41

    I started this series just shortly before the HBO series began. I love the first book, and can’t recommend it enough. But I haven’t started the second book yet. I think I’ll make a point to read it just before the second season on HBO.

    I was just saying the same thing about this possibly having a WoT situation, and I’m a little leery of continuing for that reason.

    I need my series to have closure. It doesn’t matter if I can’t see when it’s going to end as long as the author has an end in sight. I think the fatigue sets in when I’m in this constant state of … something, anticipation maybe, waiting to see what’s going to happen. If I’m kept in that state, with nothing major getting wrapped up, then I start to lose interest, excitement and desire to continue reading and will eventually just stop. There’s a few series I’ve done that on already.

    On the other hand I don’t mind if an author wraps up the main conflict in the series, and then does almost a spin-off type thing – staying in the same world, maybe even some of the same characters, but a whole new story.

    There isn’t anything right now that I’m wearing out on, but I can see the end coming between me and a few series if the author doesn’t start to wrap things up. I think this is a hard line to walk for an author, especially with a popular series. Fans want more, and I think authors want to continue to provide more of what’s doing so well and making so many people happy….but sometimes enough is enough and it’s just gotta end.

  6. Angela
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 10:57:09

    @Jia: This was supposed to be a TRILOGY? Really? o.O How…what…wow. I’m just speechless right now.

  7. Joely Sue Burkhart
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 10:59:18

    I love both this series and Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. Back in the 90s, I used to re-read all of the books in the series in preparation for the next big RJ release (since they were at least 2 years apart, I had plenty of time to do so, even though they’re 800+ pages each). But after book 7, I just couldn’t do it any more. I didn’t want to have to read 7 again, let alone 8, where nothing seemed to happen. Then RJ passed away. *sadness*

    I’ve read the first 3 books of Martin’s series too, but heard the complaints about 4.

    What I’ve sworn to do: once all the books in each series are out and available, I will re-read both series from the beginning straight through. There’s no other way I’ll be able to remember the characters, red herrings, etc. unless I do it that way. I mean, the first RJ book I read was back in 1994 or so. I read Martin’s first three on maternity leave with my youngest (who’s now 8). I love figuring out the secret details across the entire arc, but I just don’t have the memory any more!

  8. Jia
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 10:59:36

    @Angela: In all fairness, that was said a very, VERY long time ago and he revised that quickly enough! But still.

  9. carmen webster buxton
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 11:03:32

    It’s not the length that put me off reading them, it’s GRRM’s willingness to kill off major (likable) characters. I hate investing time with a character and then having them (in some cases literally) get the axe.

  10. Angela
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 11:03:59

    @Jia: Considering the sheer volume of story that’s been released so far, I’m having a really hard time imagining GRRM ever thinking this would be a trilogy.

  11. Susanna Fraser
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 11:08:31

    I started reading the books after the HBO series came out, and I’m fully caught up. I’m hooked, and I know I’ll pre-order Book 6 whenever it comes out…but I was hoping more would happen in ADWD than actually did. In particular, I thought the whole book was setting up two major characters meeting at last, only to have it come THAT CLOSE and not deliver. And I just can’t bring myself to invest in Davos Seaworth or any of the characters from Dorne or the Iron Islands the way I have in the Starks, Tyrion, Dany, or the Night’s Watch. Which doubtless says as much or more about me as a reader as it does Martin’s writing, but it makes me realize I like my big sweeping epics with just a handful of POV characters so I can fully invest in them. I read for character first, plot second, I think. Also, I like grit and moral ambiguity along the way, I really do, but I want a happy ending too, and I’m by no means sure everything is going to turn out OK for the characters I care about most.

  12. Julie
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 11:22:11

    I read A Game of Thrones when it first came out. I read every subsequent book right when they were released as well. A Dance with Dragons? Nope – now I am playing the waiting game. Since Martin isn’t even going to start working on the next book until next year, I no longer feel it a good use of my reading time to plow through a series that might – or might not – get an ending. It’s so frustrating, because I did love the other books…

  13. Jia
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 11:28:01

    @Angela: I honestly think he does have an end in mind — there’s too much foreshadowing and hinting for him not to — but a part of me wonders if he’s lost control of the story? There are so many POV characters now, some of which I wouldn’t even consider the “core”, that I wonder. This happened with Wheel of Time too and I just wonder if it’s one of the dangers of writing an epic fantasy series.

    As for the trilogy thing, I think that was because in fantasy, The Trilogy is the structure most often lauded and used due to Lord of the Rings. On the other hand, I still laugh when I think about that recent interview GRRM did where he got snippy with the interviewer who’d asked about all the subplots with no end in sight and GRRM had replied by comparing his structure to that of LotR (a core group that splits up, does their own thing, but then comes back together in the end). Bad comparison to use since Tolkien told the entire story in three books versus 7+!

  14. Jia
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 11:31:13

    @Joely Sue Burkhart: I used to read the Wheel of Time books back in the 90s too. I think I made it to book 5 before I bailed. Ha, I guess there’s something about me and book 5′s of epic fantasy series? The good news about Wheel of Time though is that, despite the final book having needed to be split into 3, Brandon Sanderson has been doing a good job about putting them out.

    I did like A Feast for Crows, but I think I might have been in the minority. Most of that had to do with the absence of Jon Snow though, whose chapters I really cannot stand.

  15. Jia
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 11:33:51

    @carmen webster buxton: For better or worse, GRRM did usher in a new era of epic fantasy when he did what he did in Game of Thrones. Prior to that, it was pretty much guaranteed that the main sympathetic characters would never die. It was such a shock for people then.

    That said, I do think the schtick has gotten old though and since we’ve had 5 books of it, it’s usually fairly obvious when he does actually kill someone off or does one of his trademark cliffhanger fake-outs.

  16. Jia
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 11:38:10

    @Susanna Fraser: Oh man, I was really frustrated by the almost-meeting too! I’m glad that we had some progress (at least they’re on the same continent, in the same vicinity!) but it would have been nice for them to meet face to face! Something, anything.

    I don’t particularly care about any of the characters from the Iron Islands — especially that guy whose name is something like Victorian — but I was glad to see Theon again. I also thought that one character from Dorne (Quentyn) was a waste of page time.

  17. Susanna Fraser
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 11:53:15

    He did succeed in making me root for Theon, which I wouldn’t have thought was possible after the previous books.

  18. Carolyn
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 11:53:25

    I gobbled up the first three GRRM books, but after waiting five years for the fourth, I bailed. I’ve heard nothing about Dance with Dragons to make me change my mind.

    Another aborted series I lusted after was Melanie Rawn’s Exile. Two books were written and then … nothing. I understand she was ill, but the thing is she’s written other things, the name of her website is Exiles, and the third book, The Captal’s Tower is still listed as ‘forthcoming’. The thing is, the second book, ‘Mageborn Traitor’, was first published in 1997. 0_o

  19. John
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 11:53:36

    I am so iffy if I want to attempt this series. I started and quickly abandoned the first WoT book. Just wasn’t for me at the time. I also couldn’t push through Sword of Shannara or The Sword of Truth, which are both lauded as popular epic fantasy series. This latest waiting game with GoT just makes it seem easier to pass on completely.

    I do have Spellwright in my pile to read, but it’s shorter than these epic tomes. >.> I admire your capacity to stick with a series this long and arduous.

  20. Jia
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 12:32:43

    @Carolyn: LOL,I am so so bitter about Exiles because I know we’re never going to get Captal’s Tower. And if we do, it won’t be anything like the other two books because Melanie Rawn isn’t the same writer she was before. I’m glad she’s better and I’m glad she’s gotten treatment but as has been discussed on this blog about other authors, when illnesses happen and long-term medication is taken, that changes many things. One of which is the writing. At this point, I don’t really need to read a final book but I would like it if she’d just hold a Q&A sort of thing and answer questions like “Do Cailet and Josselin end up together?” and “Who are Collan’s parents????”

  21. Jia
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 12:33:31

    @John: To be quite honest, sometimes I wonder if I have S U C K E R written on my forehead.

  22. Lynnd
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 12:36:17

    @Carolyn: I agree with you on both of these. I loved books 1 – 3, but haven’t read anything past them. If GRRM ever finishes a Song of Ice and Fire, I might read the whole thing then,.

    I just packed up the first two books in Rawn’s Exiles to take to the used book store.

    I also gave up on Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children series after Book 5. I eagerly waited for 12 years for Shelter’s of Stone to come out. When it did, I was so disappointed – it was awful and I had (and have) no desire to read The Land of Painted Caves (I’ve heard that it’s pretty awful as well).

  23. Sunita
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 13:19:07

    I bought this for TheHusband as soon as it came out, just to torture him, but he hasn’t started it yet. He says he’s working up the intestinal fortitude.

    I read 1-3 back to back but then refused to read 4 because it was only half a book. At this point I’m kind of torn. I haven’t been able to get into the HBO series (on my blog I described it as Rome meets Red Riding in Middle Earth).

    I understand taking a break, not owing your readers, etc. etc. But GRRM wrote plenty of other stuff in the meantime. And Steven Erikson has a 10-book series that he planned out in advance and has delivered on schedule over the last decade+. So my sympathy is limited.

    I never heard about a trilogy. 0_0 By the time I got on board it had morphed from a 4-book to an 8-book series.

  24. Jaclyn
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 13:28:02

    I had just started reading Game of Thones (was about 50 pages in) when my husband asked if he could read it. I handed it over knowing I won’t get it back for months. :) I think this might become my winter reading project.

  25. Brian
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 14:09:41

    I’ve got Dance in my TBR list, but so far I just can’t get up much enthusiasm to start it. I know a good chunk of it is basically the other half of Feast so I’m wondering if I should re-read that first, but I didn’t like Feast as much as I did the first three so…

    Part of me wants to wait the 10-15 years (20?) it’s likely to take for the series to be finished (if it ever is) before reading anything more. I used to be one of the series’ biggest fans, but a lot of my enthusiasm has waned over the years.

  26. Hillary
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 14:48:46

    Dance is on my TBR, but since I’ve waited this long, I’m probably waiting until paperback prices! (Which I have pretty much always done.) If I was in the US still, I’d get on a wait list at the library, but I’ve always been pretty patient about waiting for books and I’m also very forgiving, for the most part. WoT I dropped after book 9, and I’ll probably read the Sanderson 3 when they’re done, but I doubt that I’ll read the intervening books…I’ll just pick up from there and finish.
    Now I have a suggestion and the nice thing is that this series is complete…there were 4-5 year waits between books way back in the 90′s when I was reading them as they came out, but you’re pretty safe now (except that she’s writing a continuing series, but the first 3 of that are also done so by the time you get through her backlist the new book/s will be out). I’m talking about Michelle West’s Sun Sword series that begins with Broken Crown :). It would be so fun to see a review of that series here. If you want some sort of sample, she has one or two short stories on her blog, and she also writes under Michelle Sagara and those books are the Chronicles of Elantra.

  27. Estelle
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 15:29:57

    There’s no way I’m reading ADWD until the series is over–or at least until Book 6 comes out. If it ever comes out.

    I was left high and dry at the end of A Feast For Crows. But any urge I might have to read the next book died a slow death over the years. The wait was just too long.

    Okay, I admit I almost caved in and ordered it. But then I saw the list of point of views and thought WTF?!? I didn’t care or know about most of them. There are definitely too many point of views in the series now. It’s to the point that it must be hard to keep track of them.

    I watched and loved the HBO series. They’re doing a great job. I think I actually enjoyed watching it more than I enjoyed reading the book, which is pretty rare for me when it comes to TV adaptations. If the TV series lasts for a few more years, it might make me care about the dozens (I exagerate but it really does feel that way) of new characters Martin bombards us with later on. On the page they’re just flat and boring to me.

    I’m not willing to invest more time and money in the books when it’s so uncertain that the series will ever be finished. There are too many other books to read and so little time to do it!

  28. JoannaV
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 15:44:19

    My husband read the first three Martin books and loved them, got pissed when the fourth took so long and then didn’t like it very much and refuses to read the latest so I have been reluctant to pick them up. I will probably watch the HBO show when it comes out on DVD however, it looks like they did it right.

    Sunita mentioned the Steven Erickson books – both my husband and daughter loved them, and they think that overall he is a better writer than Martin. I couldn’t begin that series either because the length seemed interminable but they both highly recommend it!

  29. sarah mayberry
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 15:53:53

    I’m with a lot of other people – discovered GRRM, gobbled up books 1 – 3 with shameless adulation and glee…then the waiting game began and has not stopped. It’s been so long since I read the last book that I truly can’t remember where everyone is. In fact, a friend who I put onto the books mentioned something that happened to Arya at the end of book 4 and I was like “what? No! That didn’t happen!”. So I guess I’ve forgotten. I’ve decided to save myself the angst and to simply wait until it’s all done. If it ever gets done. As for the TV series, I have only watched ep one, but I couldn’t get into it. I have them all saved, but for some reason it didn’t grab me by the cohones (possibly because I have none…?)Part of it is production values. Although I think HBO did an amazing job, it looks a little back-lotty in places for me – I think Peter Jackson really set the standard with Lord of the Rings and I know it’s cruel to compare such very high budget fare with TV, but that was part of the reason why I couldn’t fully engage, I think.

  30. Jia
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 15:57:54

    @Lynnd: Oh, that’s another series I dropped. Ugh, I do seem to gravitate towards these fatigue-inducing long-running series.

    @Sunita: I admit that any sympathy I’ve had over the years has shriveled up and died. Yes, yes, GRRM is “not my bitch” (as said by Neil Gaiman) but when I see authors like Brandon Sanderson finishing up other people’s doorstopper series on top of writing his own doorstopper bricks, I’m going to feel a little irritated!

    @Jaclyn: They can be a little heavy at times so be sure to take breaks! LOL

    @Brian: I was the same way. I was really, really into this series. We’re talking intense discussions and constructing theories kind of serious! But that’s also gone. During the first half of ADWD, I honestly wondered if I’d changed as a reader or I just didn’t like GRRM’s writing anymore. It wasn’t until I started reading other people’s reviews that I realized other people were having the same sort of reaction I was.

    @Hillary: I’m a big fan of Michelle Sagara’s work! The Sun Sword series is one of my favorites in this genre. I’ve reviewed the last 3 Elantra books and the latest West novel here. I currently have a galley of the next Elantra novel waiting for me in my review pile and I expect I’ll review Skirmish as well. Her, I’ve been following since almost the very beginning too! It might be fun though to go back and do a overall review of the Sun Sword series. I think some people mentioned wanting us to review older books now and then.

    @Estelle: I definitely was annoyed by a lot of the POVs in ADWD. I remember feeling that I wasn’t going to like ADWD when I finished AFFC because most of my favorite characters were in Feast, meaning Dance would have some of the ones that annoyed me the most.

    I heard they were planning for a total of 10 seasons of the TV show! I don’t know if it’ll last that long though because things definitely start getting hairy during A Storm of Swords in terms of adapting it for TV.

  31. Jia
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 16:06:14

    @JoannaV: I think someone’s recommended the Erickson books to me before so I may give those a try. I’m always looking for more traditional fantasy to read but I’m so picky because I’ve been reading it for so long that it’s really hard to find stuff that reads fresh to me.

    @sarah mayberry: It’s funny that you mention Arya! I’m pretty sure I had a similar conversation in which I had to remind someone about what happened to her at the end of book 4. (It wasn’t you though, lol.)

    I’ve watched the HBO series and I do think they did a decent job considering what resources they had. I mean, the budget for the animals alone had to be pretty high and there were a lot of horses.

  32. Chicklet
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 16:26:25

    For me, long series of any kind fall into two categories: Epic, and Get Over Yourself. How long it takes for a series to cross from Epic into Get Over Yourself varies; for GRRM, it was after Book 3, when the wait for Book 4 was so long, I lost all interest in reading it. For the Outlander books, it was 200 pages into Book 5, when I realized I was on page 200-whatever, AND IT WAS STILL THE SAME DAY in the book. I gave up on Wheel of Time after Book 3, when I realized I had read 2100 pages of story, and Jackass hadn’t even declared himself The Dragon Reborn yet. (2100 pages! That’s almost TWICE as long as Lord of the Rings!) In general, I want authors to get on with it, not just in terms of publication schedule, but also in terms of the story and characters. And I never trust that an author in the middle of a gigantor series has a good-enough ending on the way.

  33. cs
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 17:20:32

    My brother being the big fantasy reader he is gave me his copies. I’m still reading the first book but the TV series is brilliant.

  34. Jinni
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 18:12:39

    Oh, dear. You’ve just stumbled on one of the biggest disagreements in my marriage. My husband stumbled upon the first book of this series many years ago when we lived on the east coast. He loved it, and the two subsequent. Then in the interim, he read all of GRRMs other books. He has been pestering me to read this series for years. I refuse as I like to read books where the series is completed, OR the author is writing on an acceptable 1 – 2 year schedule (Elizabeth George or Julia Spencer-Fleming come to mind).

    But as he’s reading this new book (and it’s not moving quickly), he’s had to reread the first book in the interim as he just can’t keep up with all the characters. I think this all seems like a lot of work, and waiting, and unnecessary anticipation. So, I’ll put this off for the long haul. Now that I’ve read about your slogging, I’ll have to ask my husband how it’s going!

  35. Jia
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 18:33:44

    @Jinni: If your husband doesn’t want to reread the books to remember everything, might I recommend http://towerofthehand.com/books/guide.html? Chapter by chapter summaries for those who are lazy don’t want to reread everything!

  36. Christine Pope
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 20:53:34

    I think I’m in the same boat with a lot of other people. I loved the first three books, sort of slogged through the fourth and found myself getting highly irritated by certain events, and then with the long wait for this one, I’m sort of “meh.” I haven’t even bought it yet, and am perfectly willing to wait until it comes out in paperback. I’m another one who bailed out on the Wheel of Time series midway through; I got the impression that the author really didn’t know where he was going. I wish there wasn’t so much pressure from publishers to string out successful series just to earn a buck; the storylines really start to suffer in these situations.

    I’ve got the HBO series of A Game of Thrones ready to go, but I have yet to convince my husband to sit down and watch the whole thing.

  37. Merian
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 21:02:20

    @Jia: I bailed on Wheel of time aorund book five in part because I couldn’t shake the feeling that Jordan didn’t really like women. His female characters just didn’t work for me – I contrast this with a mega Military SF series by Steven Erikson – ‘The Malazan Books of the Fallen’. It is a series of ten books – the latest has a back spine in trade that is 5cm wide :). It has sweeping story arcs, gods and people die; events on multiple fronts and continents and different times. I love the density and complexity and his women are great. I haven’t read the latest GofT installment even though I read everything back in the day and lvoed them because I don’t want to commit to a series that may not end. That is a contrast with the Malazan books which have a thesis and overarching story arc that the author has kept hold of through out the series. These are bloody books though the building by building fighting in Capustan, Toc the Elder’s imprisonment and the chain of dogs are beautifully told and meaningful and not gratuitous but many many people die awfully but there is also a great deal of kindness and loyalty that shows people well despite this ugly world they live in.

  38. Kelly Bishop
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 21:56:29

    I bailed after the 2nd book because there were just too many POV characters. I became convinced that Martin was never going to be able to wrap up ALL of the loose ends in a way that would satisfy me. And the delays between books have gotten so bad, I’m glad I did.

  39. Telisiane
    Aug 13, 2011 @ 00:03:01

    De-lurking here to say that I have been a HUGE GRRM fan since the beginning and will absolutely stick with the books. I gave up on Wheel of Time at book 10 or so because it seemed to get more and more muddled, with no conceivable end in sight. With ADWD, I can see how George is moving everyone into place, and I think the last two books are going to be similar to ASOS — the you-know-what is going to hit the fan at a non-stop rate.

    It’s no secret that he struggled with the last two books, and I think it’s because he originally intended to have a 5-year gap between ASOS and AFFC so that some of the kids could grow up. As he began writing, I am guessing he was annoyed by all of the “as you know, Bob,” flashback conversations he had to write. So he chose to show us stuff instead. Maybe the choice didn’t work for everyone, but I am very happy with the result.

    BTW – I re-read books 2-4 in anticipation of ADWD, and I enjoyed A Feast for Crows immensely. Once you know what happens plotwise, you can settle in and really enjoy all the detail in the world building that you miss during the first read.

  40. Jia
    Aug 13, 2011 @ 09:22:55

    @Merian: I definitely agree with you about the portrayals of women in Wheel of Time. Maybe they’re a little better in Sanderson’s installments but the ones written by Jordan left much to be desired. Ironically, when they first came out, they were lauded as having a stronger female cast than Lord of the Rings. Which is true, but doesn’t actually say much honestly.

    I’ll probably put Malazen of the Fallen on my “Check this out sometime” list.

    @Kelly Bishop: Oh man, the number of POVs gets so much worse after book 2! And that number still doesn’t compare to the number featured in Wheel of Time.

    @Telisiane: See, that’s funny because I still think there were too many needless flashbacks and references to past events in ADWD.

  41. Telisiane
    Aug 13, 2011 @ 11:35:31

    @Jia: I won’t argue if you are referring to Tyrion’s flashbacks on Tywin and to Jaime’s thoughts on Cersei, Lancel, and the Kettleblacks (although maybe that was mostly in AFFC). I admit, some of that was a bit much. And I thought “nipples on a breastplate” was way overused (heh). Either it’s supposed to be a favorite Lannister phrase, or GRRM just lurves using it! I assumed a lot of the flashbacks were for the sake of folks who don’t re-read the books obsessively (like me!).

  42. SR
    Aug 13, 2011 @ 12:47:26

    I picked up book 1 after watching the first episode of the series, but already my fortitude for this is flagging.

  43. Cmm
    Aug 13, 2011 @ 15:23:17

    Just wondering if anyone here was a GRRM fan before Ice and Fire? I remember reading and loving two early books, Fevre Dream (vampires on a Mississippi River steamboat) and especially Armageddon Rag, though its blatant nostalgia for the 60s as Best Years Ever was very 80s boomer and probably way dated now. I followed a little of the Wild Card books but lost track, and then nothing for years, then I started hearing about this series, but I was pretty over high fantasy by then and paid it no real attention. The raptures over the HBO series finally pulled me in, and I am into Book 3 and still loving it but even mid book 2 felt things getting baggy. Book 1, as long as it was, had a clear overall through line, but it is getting harder and harder to see where things are trying to go, AND taking longer to get there. But it has gotten me to read old school medieval world fantasy again for the first time in forever!

  44. Andrea
    Aug 14, 2011 @ 19:33:26

    @Cmm – I haven’t read “A Song of Ice and Fire” (I stopped reading thousand-character doorstoppers midway through Jordan), but I have read and enjoyed some of Martin’s other work, such as “Tuf Voyaging”, which I found a lot of fun. [I also enjoyed Wild Cards back in the day, but I doubt that would work for me now.]

    @Jia – it’s a rare writer which can hold me through a long series these days. I like stand-alones (but won’t say no to multiple stand-alones in the same world!).

  45. Selene
    Aug 15, 2011 @ 07:14:02

    Count me in as another longtime fan of this series, also dissappointed with Dance. Mostly because the whole novel is a huge buildup without any payoff! Nothing is really resolved, or even advanced.

    * SPOILERS AHEAD*

    Tyrion spends the novel trying to reach Daenerys, and doesn’t manage. Daenerys tries to deal with the situation in the city, but by the end hasn’t resolved anything. Quentin travels, then dies. Theon gets used and then escapes, but we don’t know where he ends up. Jon prepares the wall and ends on a cliff hanger. Arya’s plot seems totally unrelated to anything else, and fairly uninteresting. Bran travels and reaches his goal, but doesn’t _do_ anything either.

    * END SPOILERS *

    I read that the problem was that after book 3 GRRM wanted to jump ahead five years in the story, but that this caused too much problem with flashbacks, so he ended up having to write out these intervening years as well. That makes sense to me, because a lot of what goes on in book 4 and 5 feels like stalling.

    Like you Jia I am also very picky on epic fantasy after reading so much of it. I’d recommend Laura Resnick’s (completed) trilogy starting with In Legend Born, which looks like it’s going to be re-issued in e-book format soon. Great worldbuilding and characters, and a wonderful romance plot too.

    Or there is Celia Friedman, still on auto-buy for me. I love the concept of her latest trilogy, and she always does moral ambuiguity so masterfully. I’m really looking forward to Legacy of Kings (Book Three of the Magister Trilogy) which is coming out in september.

    Selene

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