**spoiler alert** Is it wrong to give a book five stars and yet feel completely dissatisfied with it? George R. R. Martin is a genius, and A Dance Wit**spoiler alert** Is it wrong to give a book five stars and yet feel completely dissatisfied with it? George R. R. Martin is a genius, and A Dance With Dragons is brilliant. Yet... after 1,000 pages, the books ends with simply no resolution whatsoever. I understand that there are still two books to come in the series, but it would have been nice to feel that at least one storyline paused in a reasonable place. Instead, we're left hanging, knowing that we can pretty much count on the fact that we won't see another book in this series for several more years. Frustration!
That said, GRRM's writing, plot, descriptions, and pacing are as amazing as always. I loved that the first half of ADWD takes place at the same time as A Feast For Crows, and fills us in one what's been happening with everyone we didn't see in the previous book: Tyrion, Daenarys, Jon Snow, etc. I couldn't have been more excited when the two storylines finally converged somewhere around page 500, and I could feel the narrative gaining forward momentum.
Some key characters are entirely absent this time around (Sansa, Littlefinger), and some are practically absent (Jamie, Brienne). However, the storylines that are included are all fascinating, although if I were to quibble, I'd say I could do with a bit less Meereen and sellswords.
Overall, ADWD is an excellent read, and simply can't be missed by anyone who has come this far in the series. Here's hoping that the author doesn't make us wait six years for the next installment!...more
It's been years since I've read a Stephen King novel, and I'd forgotten just what a pleasure it can be. I know it really should go without saying, butIt's been years since I've read a Stephen King novel, and I'd forgotten just what a pleasure it can be. I know it really should go without saying, but boy, can Stephen King tell a tale!
In Under The Dome, King has created an entire world within the borders of one small Maine town. For no discernible reason, the town of Chester's Mill is suddenly and completely cut off from the rest of the world by an invisible, unbreakable "dome" (note: it really sounds more like a giant acrylic box than an actual dome). The opening chapters, as the townspeople first encounter -- and collide with -- their invisible prison walls, are chillingly creepy.
While the circumstances are otherworldly, the impact is all too human. King has created a microcosmic masterpiece. The beauty of UTD is in the world he's created within Chester's Mill. The cast of characters is vast, yet crafted with such painstaking care that each character can really stand on his or her own. About 80% of the plot revolves around human flaws and virtues: love and honor, deception and lust for power, greed and betrayal. Watching the interpersonal dynamics, particularly how a corrupt small-town politican can propel the entire town into disaster beyond imagining, is the true horror of this tale.
I might quibble a bit with the ending. As in some other Stephen King books that I've read, the resolution didn't provide an entirely satisfying explanation, but it worked well enough. I read this book with my breath held for much of its 1000+ pages. If I wasn't entirely convinced by the final 25 or so, that doesn't take away from the impact of this massive tome.
Finishing one of Diana Gabaldon's books feels like a major accomplishment. After all, A Breath of Snow and Ashes topped 1400 pages! If you've come thiFinishing one of Diana Gabaldon's books feels like a major accomplishment. After all, A Breath of Snow and Ashes topped 1400 pages! If you've come this far in the Outlander series, don't stop now! Snow & Ashes picks up the tale soon after the end of The Fiery Cross. All the beloved characters are back, with some new storylines and the conclusions of several ongoing threads. While the amount of sheer detail can feel a bit excessive at times (do I really need to know that much about treatment of - um - piles in the 1700s? or how to make blood sausage?), it was thrilling and satisfying to spend more time with Claire and Jamie, Brianna and Roger, and the rest of their sprawling, messy, stubborn, spirited family. Having read this far in the series, these people feel like well-known relatives, full of quirks and flaws, but loved despite and because of them all. I was touched to read how time had changed Claire and Jamie, and their love story is as timeless as ever. Can't wait to read the next installment in this series! ...more
My love for this series continues to grow. But 1400+ pages! Don't start this book if you're not committed -- and don't have time on your hands! The stMy love for this series continues to grow. But 1400+ pages! Don't start this book if you're not committed -- and don't have time on your hands! The story of our beloved characters continues. Claire and Jamie, Brianna and Roger, and all the various offspring grow, thrive and prosper in their homestead on Fraser's Ridge. Events of the broader world keep intruding, and Jamie and kin are once again drawn into the perils of war and intrigue. The Fiery Cross does meander at times, and could definitely have stood to be cut a bit. The first 250 pages of this massive book cover the events of one single day! However, the author does a wonderful job of evoking the thrills and dangers of the 1770s, the simple pleasures of love and family, and the risks people must take to protect home and loved ones. You've got to feel a bit sorry for Jamie and Roger especially -- how many times must they end up on the brink of death? Claire, of course, is the heart of this series, and she continues to enthrall, with her combination of romantic love and clear-headed science. If you've come this far in the Outlander series, you won't want to miss The Fiery Cross.
**Updated to add: Re-read finished 2/15/2014. Even better the second time around, when I wasn't quite as consumed with finding out what happens next -- so that I could think things through a bit more, enjoy the connections to previous books and foreshadowing of what's to come, stop and consider the meaning of small moments, and just in general enjoy the heck out of this amazing book! Love, love, love....more
It's a little bit insane how much I love these books. The Outlander series is one of the most addictive reading adventures I've ever experienced -- thIt's a little bit insane how much I love these books. The Outlander series is one of the most addictive reading adventures I've ever experienced -- this, despite the practically absurd length of each book. Drums of Autumn is 1000+ pages, but so tightly plotted and beautifully written that there's really nothing I'd leave out. The story continues just a few months after the end of Voyager, with Claire and Jamie setting out on new adventures in the New World. The next generation gets prominent place in this book as well; the focus shifts often to Brianna and Roger, and while I was a bit doubtful at first, their story ends up being equally as compelling as supercouple Claire and Jamie. In many ways, Drums of Autumn could be an ending point for the series, as the last pages of the book bring so much to a satisfactory conclusion, and many lingering questions are finally answered. However, I'm delighted to know that there are more books available, and can't wait to dive into the next one....more
Voyager, book 3 in the Outlander series, is a whopping 1000+ pages long, and probably could have lost about a third of that and been a better book. ThVoyager, book 3 in the Outlander series, is a whopping 1000+ pages long, and probably could have lost about a third of that and been a better book. The first two-thirds are heart-poundingly terrific, continuing the stories of Claire and Jamie in their different worlds and times, and beautifully portraying their struggle back toward one another. However, the last 400 - 500 pages go a little off the rails, as the story becomes sidetracked by sea battles, pirates, West Indies slave revolts, voo doo, and witchcraft, as well as new but fairly pointless side characters including a "Chinaman", a token Jew, and a pot-smoking disgraced priest. The books in this series are best when focused on the love story of Claire and Jamie, and their relationships with their family members, friends, clans, and others in their immediate circles. In Voyager, the story threads come a bit undone, but I'm hoping that the next book in the series brings it all back together again. I'm not giving up on this series, but I did feel a bit let down by the end of this one....more