Monday, May 2, 2011

thoughts on: Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

This book is a 600+ page preface to a story that only begins to unfold in the last 200 pages.  Excruciatingly slow.  I do not mind books that are low on plot, but they need to compensate by presenting characters whose complexity increases as the book unfolds.  A well drawn character will draw me like a cat to tuna, but Martin's saga is soap opera bland.

Game of Thrones crawled along, each chapter named for the character who carries that bit of narrative.  Usually, this is a device I like, especially when told in first person.  I like differing perspectives on events, enjoy seeing characters through each others' eyes.  That is not what happens here.  Here, we get scene changes, most of which follow the same storyline. 

(The one storyline that is most distant from the others I found the most interesting, but I am uncertain whether that is because it is better written or because I just needed a break from the very slow pace of the main storyline.)

Also, like a soap opera, the characters are much slower than the viewer/reader.  Frustratingly slower.  You know that happy feeling of figuring something out a chapter ahead of the characters?  Then realizing the author deliberately misled you, and figuring it out anew?  Not in this book.  In this book, you are desperate for the nice guy to realize he is being played because it is painful to read hundreds of pages of cluelessness.  You know who will die, and you wish it would happen sooner because you just want something, anything to happen because how much preface can you bear???

I know this book has a huge fan base, which I am certain will grow with the current HBO series, but I won't be reading the other books.  I have only question that I care about, and I googled it.  Four books written and it has not been answered yet. 


The Reader said...

I've read many books in that style lately, and usually don't like it. One or two that I read, I loved. I think with that style it really really really REALLY has to be superbly well done, or it's just painful. (at least, that is my take on it; maybe I'm just not cut out for that style??).

Had not even heard of this one, but glad to place it on the "not with a 10 foot pole" list.

Lil Seesta said...

I had the exact reaction to this book - I usually really like this genre (and I kept imaging Sean Bean as the lead, which he is in the HBO series, so that helped) but not even the estimable Sean could pull this one out of the "send back to the library" bag.