Daniel Barkan's Reviews > A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
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it was ok

I read the first two books in this series and then stopped, and I'm not going to bother to review each separately as they both suffer from the same problems. This single review will have to do.

First, though, what they don't suffer from is a brilliantly realized setting. Yes, you have to accept that it trades on certain fantasy cliches, but the cliches are part of the genre and if you dislike them that badly, you're probably grabbing your books from the wrong section of the store. Martin injects his world with such thoughtful, clever, and nitty-gritty detail -- clever names, clever language, well-realized customs, a geography that logically affects characters and their actions -- that I'd be inclined to book a ticket there if it wasn't such a crap-sack world.

I mean, I just have a hard time investing in a story where everything is brutal and dire all the time. Where it feels like the bad guys always win, and the good guys are either too stupid or too impotent to do anything about it. I like to feel some sense of hope for the characters, and I like to feel like the characters are worth rooting for. But this cast is so flat and boring (and weak, and stupid) that I eventually wound up rooting for their deaths.

I really hope Sansa dies early in book three, because it's going to take at least that much for me to go any further with this series. "Go further?" you ask. "Whatever for?" Well, with no sense of structure -- no climax, no resolution, the sense that every chapter is yet more exposition that at any moment might launch you into the rising action -- I do find myself very curious about how the story turns out. However, without some major changes to the characters and the story telling, it just isn't worth the effort. I'm sure there's a wiki out there that will tell me the whole thing in a fraction of the time yet with all the same style and excitement offered by Martin's encyclopedia-esque prose. In fact, my recommendation is that you skip the series and just read what the Internet has to say about it. It will be much more engaging.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
March 1, 2010 – Finished Reading
June 22, 2010 – Shelved

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message 1: by Taygus (new)

Taygus " In fact, my recommendation is that you skip the series and just read what the Internet has to say about it. It will be much more engaging." ..kind of what I've been doing. My partner keeps talking about how good it is..but so far everything I've read, including the "good" puts me off reading this series..IT's too dark..and to slow moving..I have enough drag with the WoT series

message 2: by Pygmy (new)

Pygmy lol, stumbled on this review from reading your review on another book I read, and even though I never tried to read the GoT series, your commentary on the lack of hope is the reason why I never got past ep 1 of the tv series. Nice review!

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