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Showing 1-10 of 22 reviews(2 star). See all 960 reviews
on December 29, 2017
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on January 21, 2002
Cosidering the large amount of fantasy writers out there...You don't have to read anything but the very best. So when I saw the high ratings George R.R. Martin was getting I thought it would be worth my time...I was wrong. To be honest...It just sucked. If I want to read about politics I'll grab a newspaper and read the real thing. I have to give George credit, he was brave with his story telling. He wasn't afraid to kill anyone. But the characters were just pawns in some schemer's whomever dies in the story was meant to die. I wasn't surprised at all...just think of all the things that could go wrong realistically...and they go wrong... If you are looking for a character that rises above his/her negative heritage and becomes greater...then don't look in this series. Its really just there to be unpredictable...which is good. If you wait for the plot to become might be waiting for a while. Because you are reading fictional history. Not a epic heroic novel.
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on September 20, 2001
I love epic fantasy. After reading the intro chapter online, i was all excited about finding a new author. Martin's writing skills looked promising: the slaughter of the night watch by those weird undead things was very evocative, chilling. not many writers can bring you 'into the moment' like that.
Where did that skill go? I have not been 'in the moment' since that intro. After diligently pushing through the first half of 'Game of Thrones,' I'm giving up. I have tried very hard to like this book, but despite the richness of the world he has created, i just can't seem to care about the characters or what they are doing. I don't think any of them are three-dimensional at all. you could sum each one up with a single phrase. In short, they are entirely predictable.
Some of the reviewers have given Martin 'kudos' for creating characters that are more 'real' than your usual all-powerful hero, struggling with his prophecied destiny. OK, maybe he deserves credit for trying to make them more realistic, but he has not made them 'real.' They don't get under my skin at all. I can't imagine crying for the tradgedies they experience; I'm just not convinced.
I kept thinking the story would get interesting, that the characters would grow, but from the reviews for the next book, looks like it's just 'same stuff, later on.'
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on June 1, 2003
I've always known people in general were mindless sheep who needed to be told what to like & what not to & this is just another example.
This is fantasy close to it's lowest form. Come to think of it, this isn't fantasy at all. This is the civil war with swords & castles. There's just enough fantasy elements in here for it to be called fantasy. Was this guy not creative enough to build a fantasy setting or just lazy?
Fans of War & Peace will love this novel. It's just as agonizingly slow. NOTHING ever happens. Some have went as far as saying Martin is better than Tolkien & Jordan. Please! While I had to watch LOTR 2 or 3 times to get into it & even though I had to quit reading Jordan after book 8 or 9 because it was taking him forever to get the next one out, they were 100x's better than this clown.
This wasn't a complete loss. A writer should take some of Martin's approaches to storytelling & just tell a better story with it. Having each chapter dedicated to a different person was brilliant - especially for an epic - & his characters were entertaining. They just never DID anything.
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on February 14, 2002
[....]I enjoy fantasy and sci-fi writing a lot. Usually I can force my way through a fantasy/sci-fi book even if it's pretty bad. Heck, I finished Crichton's Airframe. However, there was just a certain impenetrable thickness to this book that only let me get about 100 pages in, both times I tried. I think a book should leave you wondering what happens next when you have to put it down to go to class or something like that. However, this book was so confusing that I found myself avoiding it whenever I had time to read. Don't get me wrong, I love stories of intrigue and mystery, and stuff that messes with your head, but this was different. It was just plain confusing; I think part of that is due to the fact that so many of the names Martin uses sound extremely similar so I never knew who's who. Not as in I never knew who was on whose side in a mysterious intriguing sort of way, but that I never could get the name with the right person. Maybe he should have gone more in-depth with each character, and maybe stretched it out to a five-book series. The story did not seem to be in any way lacking; it just wasn't written as well as it could have been. Oh, and what's with the graphic sexual stuff? seriously, I think we're all mature enough to know that it goes on and don't need to be reading about "the wetness between her thighs."
Anyway, try this book out for yourself; you may be able to get into it better than I did, and it may have some good things to offer as well.
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on December 12, 2000
Mr. Martin has written a gripping, realistic account of a low-magic fantasy world where numerous powers vie for the throne. As any of the shrieking 5-star reviews will tell you, Martin's book examines events from a number of different viewpoints, with no true heroes or villians, and many shades of grey. I was thrilled with the book and burned through its 700+ pages in the space of a few days.
Then I finished the book and realized that what I'd read wasn't a story, but instead an extremely detailed timeline of events. This character does one thing, that character does another thing, someone else fights, yet another person betrays. Which is fine if it serves the story, but there is no story.
Mr. Martin doesn't have any point he's trying to make. There are no ideas he wants to get across, no philosophical axes he wants to grind. There's no moral or message to his book -- no point whatsoever. Much like the history of our own world (which this book is based on), events simply happen because they happen, not because the author has a story to tell.
I burned through Mr. Martin's book because I thought all these different events and characters were leading up to something. They weren't. I tried the next book, but it was more of the same. Now maybe Mr. Martin has a story to tell using the whole six-book series, but at 800 pages a pop, it's not worth my time.
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on May 27, 2003
Oh, gods... I'm not sure how Martin has bagged such critical acclaim with these books. His stories progress at a glacial pace. This would not be so bad if these were enjoyable characters to follow. They arent. Or rather, the majority of them aren't. If he picked a single character, that might make for interesting reading. Or if the characters were dynamic, that would be alright. The characters are too often like pieces of flotsam tossed on rough seas. Life is like that sometimes. But it doesnt make for good storytelling.
The books I'm reminded most of to compare these to are Brin's Galactic Civilization books. He also split the story among many characters. But he did it in cliff-hanger serials with scrappy characters you wanted to like. Martin's characters are an often luckless assorment of not very interesing or fun people with lives that manage to be somehow boring against grand spectacle.
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on April 1, 2002
I picked up this book with a lot of anticipation. When I read that it is much like English history during the Wars of the Roses, I couldn't wait to get started. After I read the Prologue, I still felt that I had made I good choice. But after a few chapters, I was disappointed. The book never did take off.
I did finish the book because I kept waiting for something exciting to happen. It just never did.
The characters are flat and unbelievable. Not only that, there are so many that I constantly referred to the appendix in the back of the book just to keep them straight. But that didn't really help because many characters are listed more than once under different family names.
The reason that I gave the book two stars instead of just one is because of the writing. It is very good prose. In fact, it's better than most prose in today's mass market fiction. However, even the excellent writing isn't enough to save the book.
I will also admit this: I rarely read fantasy. To me, the benchmark of fantasy is The Lord of the Rings. Perhaps I compared it too much with that story.
I won't be investing time or money with the other books in the series simply because there are no charaters that I cared about.
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on January 2, 2003
It's "Dallas" meets "Fantasy Epic". Martin is a better fantasy writer than most, but sadly this book is no masterpiece. He touches on an interesting story, but gets bogged down in the soap opera in which his main characters are playing.
If you are more interested in interpersonal relationships than a gripping story then this book will sit well with you.
If you are looking for a good fantasy yarn, then keep looking. This is fantasy for those who like "he said, she said" stories.
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on March 29, 2002
I'm obviously one of the very few fantasy fans who didn't like this book based on the other reviews I've read for this book. Something about this book just didn't work for me, however.
Most of the reviews detail the realistic characters and numerous plot twists as one of the great things about this book, but that's what I saw as this book's downfall.
I found myself disliking if not flat out despising nearly every character in this book. Every one of them had serious flaws, be it that they were flat-out scumbags, selfish nobles, or just too dense to do what they should. This may be realistic, but I guess I read fantasy looking to enjoy the story of a hero, not to follow along as character after character shows they're not worthy of being a hero.
The number of plot twists left me a little bewildered too. I found myself struggling to keep everything in perspective, as characters I thought were going to be part of the main story suddenly died, leaving me wondering what just happened and why. Was I misreading the earlier part of the book by thinking they were better than they turned out to be? Maybe if I could have forced myself to continue the series it would have made more sense, but after reading this book, I just kind of felt like I couldn't bear any more frustration.
So I'd have to say, be very careful if you decide to read this book. You'll see tons of reviews that declare this book and it's follow-ups to be the greatest there is in fantasy literature. Just be prepared to lose numerous characters you liked, and not enough of the ones you didn't, along the way. It's easily the most realistic book I've read in the fantasy genre (that was good enough to make me finish the book, any way), but that doesn't make it the best by any stretch.
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