Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hmmmm...Where Have I Been?

Wish I could say I've been sitting on a beach drinking margaritas and reading, but that'd be a big fat lie. No, I haven't been doing anything other than drowning in the sea of Back To School and one great big humongous novel, which was a great read but took me freaking forever to finish. So now I've got a backlog of reviewing to get through...first up is the Mother of All Summer Reading...


Yep, all caps. You don't wait 5 years for something and not over celebrate, people.  Review below.
Contrary to many, I am overall pretty satisfied with George RR Martin's A Dance With Dragons. Does it have problems? Well, yeah, and some of those are huge. But is it the worst book of the series, deserving of the derision and vitriol that's been heaped upon it by lots of reviewers? Certainly not. Allow me to elaborate.

I won't recount the plot here (if plot is even the right word...meandering at times, achingly slow and then devastatingly wicked at others); there's entirely too much going on. Most of the chapters are Tyrion's, Jon's, and Dany's points of view, but others surface as well, including Theon, Davos, Jaime, Cersei, and Arya. There were a couple of POVs I must admit to being puzzled by, but I have to hope that ultimately Martin will bring them to a satisfying intricacy with the main characters. Would I have loved to know what Brienne and Sansa were up to? Sure, but it's all right. We're moving along, however slowly, and lots of Tyrion is always worth it.

Biggest complaints? Well, the pacing is off in the first two hundred pages or so, with way too much detail given to traveling woes and feasting items. In any other series, these would be deal breakers. Do I think Martin's editor was snoozing? Probably. Just because you are uber successful doesn't mean you should be allowed to enumerate every food on a table. My other big, huge complaint is that it had been so long since I'd read A Feast For Crows, I was LOST for a hundred pages. That's my own fault for not rereading, but I also lay some blame on Martin, since five years between books is inexcusable.
What I liked? Lots of things.The dialogue is perfect and the intrigue is thick. We got vintage Martin with double crosses, lots of gore, and set ups galore. Loved, loved, loved Theon's comeuppance and what he does later in the novel; loved Barristan Selmy's honor; loved the twist with Rhaegar's son. I found what happened with Dany and her dragons distasteful, yet entirely plausible; I know that the bloodletting has only barely begun after Cersei's humiliation. And poor Jon Snow...always trying to do the right thing, but it's usually at the wrong time and with the wrong people. Martin's world is convoluted, overblown, and nasty, much like the world we live in today. His writing, however, while needing editing, still draws one in and builds suspense, causing me to continue turning pages and luxuriating within the boundaries of the Seven Kingdoms and Beyond. Personally, I'm invested for the long haul, even if A Dance With Dragons pales when compared to A Storm of Swords. It's not the comparison I try to keep in mind, it's the journey.

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