Kevin's Watch Forum Index
 HomeHome   MemberlistMemberlist   RegisterRegister   SearchSearch   ProfileProfile   FAQFAQ   StatisticsStatistics  SudokuSudoku   Phoogle MapPhoogle Map 
 AlbumAlbum StoresStores   StoresItems Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Whilst, needs must, not wrong

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Kevin's Watch Forum Index -> The Library -> George R. R. Martin Forum
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
[Syl]
Embattred


Joined: 26 Oct 2002
Posts: 12838

Thanks: 83
Thanked 57 Times in 55 Posts


3130 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:31 pm    Post subject: Whilst, needs must, not wrong Reply with quote

So, with 3.5 hrs of commuting time every day to kill, I broke down and checked out A Dance with Dragons from the library. I tried to give it a fair shake, and while it wasn't as bad as I had thought it might be (though I'd say far from good), I did have some issues with it.

First, the thread title. Was this always present and I didn't notice it until just now? Every time I came across one of these, it jarred me right out of the text. If you're going to use these kinds of archaic connections, they need to be natural and seamless. I wasn't doing a line by line read, so if their use wasn't consistent, I couldn't say, but they did not fit with the rest of the narrative or even the dialogue. Instead, it felt like Martin did a search and replace for "while," "need to," and "correct." It felt like he was trying to cloak himself in Shakespearian associations without following through (though there were a few awkwardly worded sentences like "...and west they rode"), as if a previous link thematically was now out of reach due to the cumbersome dramatis personae. That, or he was just writing like a lazy rennie. But no, one of the Wall chapters had a decidedly Scottish Play-like feel to it, especially when the queen's fool was introduced shortly after.

I'll get to problems with plot later, but it certainly wasn't helped by Martin trying to write too many stories. I don't mean the numerous POVs (though a few really didn't work for me -- some that focused attention off-stage when it should've been on and vice versa, some that didn't seem to necessitate an entire chapter), but that no novel can be helped by making it part captivity narrative, part existential journey, part bildungsroman, part romance, part epic fantasy, etc. Some authors use this technique successfully, giving it extra flavor and depth, and though I know some people will like this, I felt like it muddled the story and gave it an extreme lack of focus.

The first half of the novel was kind of tight. A few small problems aside, I was digging it. Me, I blame AFFC, because right about where he starts to bring it back in, the book falls apart (and probably not coincidentally, I put down AFFC at about the same point). It gets boring. Nothing new is happening, and instead, it begins running in the tread of the last book as well as its own. I'm a big fan of refrains, but suddenly "words are wind" is on every other page, and I feel that way about the rest of book -- it's all just wind; nothing matters. I no longer care about Mereen, Stannis' march, Theon's self-loathing, Daenerys' lusts and polito-romantic dilemmas. What should've been a major event, mounting Drogon, becomes meaningless as she's gone for almost the rest of the book and when she does reappear... blah. I'm even tired of the Wall and the wildlings by the end of it. Worse, Martin (ostensibly) kills on the last major favorite characters, and I'm just thinking, "Yeah, he pretty much deserved it." Maybe he was trying to give the impression of some snapping point, but Jon's decision to go to Winterfell seems like a major break of character. Cersei... who cares (all that hand-wringing got old quick, and the walk was anticlimactic).

The book really sucked the life out of my last week's commute. I finish the book, and there's no moment. No catharsis, no cliffhanger. Just "that's it?"
_________________
"It is not the literal past that rules us, save, possibly, in a biological sense. It is images of the past. Each new historical era mirrors itself in the picture and active mythology of its past or of a past borrowed from other cultures. It tests its sense of identity, of regress or new achievement against that past.
-George Steiner
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Zarathustra
Be True


Joined: 04 Jan 2005
Posts: 17415

Thanks: 37
Thanked 174 Times in 167 Posts


20390 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I pretty much agree with your assessment, Syl. I won't repeat everything I said in my own recent review, but I will second every single point you've made.

However ... there is some doubt about Jon's fate. If that doubt turns out to be well founded, it's just another trick that is getting old.

I can't stand the Queen's fool. I hate him, I do, I do. The single most pointless character in a book of way too many characters.

I don't understand the point of stretching out a narrative between so many characters unless their stories are actually important and reach a satisfying conclusion within each book. This is a soap opera, not a story--full of the same gratuitous sex scenes, backstabbing, character deaths (or "deaths"), and melodrama. I expect some character to get amnesia soon, and his identity to be a secret. Oh wait, maybe that was Theon, at least for a while.

This series should have ended three books ago. Then, if he wanted to continue the stories of individual characters, he could do spin-offs.
_________________
Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Holsety
Full of Hot Air

MaleRanyhyn
Joined: 21 May 2006
Posts: 3406

Thanks: 94
Thanked 23 Times in 22 Posts

Location: Principality of Sealand
1401 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Member of Linden's Army1 Captains Fancy1 Lord Mhoram's Victory


PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't particularly think Jon's decision was OOC. In fact, I think it makes perfect sense for him. He almost went to join Robb at one point, and had to be stopped by other brothers of the Night's Watch. He abandons his vows to save his own life and joins the Wildlings, even if in order to get back to the Watch later. And we know he has strong feelings for Arya, and though the girl he's intending to save by fighting the Boltons isn't Arya, he doesn't know that. Finally, he has shown himself to be strong in the tradition of not swearing fealty to a lord as commander of the Night's Watch with Stannis, and he would have to swear fealty to the Boltons to avoid conflict with them.

I agree with the points you raise otherwise.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
Farm Ur-Ted
Child of the Dead Seed


Joined: 30 Mar 2006
Posts: 646

Thanks: 10
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts

Location: Colorado
631 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Diamondraught1 Kresh1 Na Mhoram's Grim


PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's been a while since I read it, but the Daenerys/Mereen chapters were absolutely brutal. It would've been a lot better if she'd just kept moving, instead of deciding to hunker down there. Nothing happened. Then, in the next chapter, nothing continued to happen.

I found that Tyrion's self-loathing/self-destructive behavior got really old, really fast. And it was ridiculous that there were two chapters in a row that ended with his life in peril (one when he fell off the boat and was drowning, and the other when he was kidnapped). Martin just seemed really lazy there. I did like it once he hooked up with Penny, though.

I was pretty pissed when characters from AFFC started getting POV chapters. I'd much rather read about Jon, Tyrion, or Bran than frickin' Victarion or Cersei.

I guess the part that absolutely killed me in the book was the fact that Martin spent the first 3 quarters of the narrative building towards the battle for Winterfell. And then he punted on it. I really could not believe that the battle wasn't there.

On the whole, I actually liked it better than AFFC, but it still was not a complete novel. It was highly fractured. Jeez, there was the scene in the beginning between Samwell and Jon that was almost verbatim the same in the two books. How could GRRM be so sloppy? You'd think you could write a new first chapter for Jon.
_________________
Roach trotted over to sniff at the gleaming phlegm, then licked it up.

The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
SerScot
That GRRM fan. ;) (7/12/11)

Male
Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 4639

Thanks: 28
Thanked 21 Times in 21 Posts


21802 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Lord Mhoram's Victory1 Revelwood


PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Dany section of ADWD could, and should, have been cut in half. Every Dany chapter, but one, dragged interminably.
_________________
"Futility is the defining characteristic of life. Pain is proof of existence" - Thomas Covenant
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
JazFusion
For Your Internets

Female
Joined: 10 Feb 2008
Posts: 1007

Thanks: 3
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

Location: R'lyeh
783 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 I Love KW1 Foul Duck1 Lord Mhoram's Victory


PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm still only half-way through the book. I just can't finish it. I spoiled everything for myself plot-wise. Not that there was much going on, anyways.

I really enjoyed AFFC. I though it was a good balance after the whirlwind that was ASOS. But ADWD continued the slow pace that was in AFFC. I felt he should have wrapped up so much more.

I'm starting to feel like he should rename the series to "Hydra".
_________________
"Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt." - Kurt Vonnegut
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
MsMary
The Cheat

FemaleRanyhyn
Joined: 06 Mar 2002
Posts: 6948

Thanks: 12
Thanked 19 Times in 16 Posts


34057 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Member of THOOLAH1 Andelain1 2010 Watchies


PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How did you spoil it for yourself plotwise, Jaz? I don't get that.

I had to read the whole thing, couldn't stop myself. Wink

Renaming it the "Hydra", that cracked me the heck up. Laughing
_________________
The Cheat is GROUNDED! We had that lightswitch installed for you so you could turn the lights on and off, not so you could throw lightswitch raves!
***************************************
- I'm always all right.
- Is all right special Time Lord code for really not all right at all?

- You're all irresponsible fools!
- The Doctor: But we're very experienced irresponsible fools.






__________________________

THOOLAH member since 2005

EZBoard Survivor
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
JazFusion
For Your Internets

Female
Joined: 10 Feb 2008
Posts: 1007

Thanks: 3
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

Location: R'lyeh
783 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 I Love KW1 Foul Duck1 Lord Mhoram's Victory


PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MsMary wrote:
How did you spoil it for yourself plotwise, Jaz? I don't get that.

I had to read the whole thing, couldn't stop myself. Wink

Renaming it the "Hydra", that cracked me the heck up. Laughing


I read the wiki on all the plot in ADWD. I just...one day I'll get through the book. One day.
_________________
"Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt." - Kurt Vonnegut
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Kevin's Watch Forum Index -> The Library -> George R. R. Martin Forum All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by Earthpower © Kevin's Watch