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A Song Of Ice And Fire back to reviews
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Epic Series to Sold Franchise: 11 Years to Screw Your Fans
Martin knows prose. His expertise of Voice is incredible; that's what made the series such a hit with fans and critics, delighted to have gritty, realistic epic fantasy.

Unfortunately, somewhere between 2000 and 2011, Martin forgot what the hell it was about. The first book had a cohesive story; sure, there were cliffhangers for future volumes, but the story was entertaining. Book 2 was forgivably dry in the way of middle books for trilogies everywhere: Too much setup, not enough resolution. Book 3 rectified, it was delightful.

Then came The Change. Martin originally released a book 2-3 years, but it was 5 years to book 4, another 6 years to book 5, which were originally supposed to be one book.

Why were they so long, and why did they TAKE so long, compared to prior volumes? Martin's unwillingness to cut, which he has admitted. Fair readers, if you ever see an author UNWILLING to cut, run. Save yourselves.

Martin split Planned!Book4 down the middle by character, giving fans their least-favorite characters in the book they'd waited 5 years to buy. To get more of the characters they wanted, fans had to wait an additional 6 years — over a decade in all.

Disappointed with A FEAST FOR CROWS, I eagerly awaited A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. It was a disappointment akin to Star Wars prequels for this troper, and for similar reasons: The author's unwillingness to cut. Virtually nothing happens in book 5 except for major cliffhangers at the very end for all your major characters.

Martin could get away meandering early in the series, because he was still world-building. We don't need it anymore; we know who's who, and what things are. We're just looking for the resolution to plots introduced as early as...oh, the prologue of book one.

Dragging them out it one way to guarantee future sales and more seasons on HBO. But the series has degenerated into ongoing soap opera. The last event worthy of mention (were I telling the tale in oral tradition) happened in book 3.

I agree and disagree:

I disagree with everyone writing off Feast as "the boring characters in one place". Really? Feast gave us Arya, Jaime, Brienne and Sansa. The first three are fan favourites, and the last one was at least well written. In addition, I personally found the King's Landing chapters more interesting than I would have guessed, and it was in Feast that Dorne became my favourite ASOIAF setting.

With Dance, though, I agree 100%. World-building this late in the series is fine, but the amount of time spent in Slaver's Bay and the Free Cities area was inexcusable. It would be like it The Hobbit, Fellowship and Two Towers took place in Middle Earth, and then before Return of the King came out, Tolkien released a middle book that took place 90% in some Egyptian place, solved nothing, and ended in a cliffhanger.

And it isn't just locations. Martin definitely overplayed his hand with Dany's entire storyline, and there is no end in sight. He also effectively doubled the character sheet, mostly with characters we don't give a damn about; the Shavepates, Daario, the numerous sellsword chiefs, Ser Quentyn the Dornish prince... to say nothing of all the attention that Wyman Manderly and the Bolton clan suddenly got. We heard nearly nothing from the Starks (other than Jon and Bran chapters either at the wall or North of it) or the Lannisters (other than Tyrion, waaaay out of the way of anything important, and his siblings near the very end).

Is the War of 5 Kings still going on? That's what I bought Go T's sequels to read, and we seem to have moved past it.
comment #17087 darrenw1 5th Dec 12
I always thought that the central story of ASOIAF was the Others and the coming invasion. The big war was all just a way of getting everything set up for that to begin. Of course, even after 4 books (never read Dance; been too long and I don't care anymore) the first glimpse of the Others at the beginning of the first book is still their most prominent appearance.

Actually now that I think about it, Sam kills an Other in book 2 or 3 by accidentally giving it a minor scratch with a piece of obsidian(?), and then Stannis arrived later with a whole bunch of obsidian. So I guess there's no tension left in that threat now.
comment #17099 luomo 6th Dec 12
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