Review: A Dance With Dragons

A Dance With Dragons
A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Before I even begin, let me say this: I’m not reviewing the book. This is just my opinion on what the book meant to ME. And only me.

I think I’m done with the ASOIAF series. I know the series is supposed to be a big deal and all that, but honestly, I think I no longer enjoy the read now. Finishing ADWD felt more like a chore, just to see what the heck else will happen. And at the end of that ‘chore’ all I feel is relief and not an ounce of excitement for Book 6.

This is no way reflects on the literature as such, though. It would take a genius to come up with something like this series and I won’t be surprised if this is spoken on the same terms as LOTR. And just like LOTR, it needs a certain kind of dedication and patience to enjoy this book (and possibly Book 4).. you know, like wine. Not everyone has a palate for it (contrary to what they may say aloud, mind you – there’s a lot of pressure on conforming to popular public opinion). So I understand all the glowing reviews and accolades. And they’re all probably right too. Just that, it doesn’t work for me.

The only thing that irks me now is how I was introduced to these books – I was told they’re better than the ‘over-rated’ (sic) Harry Potter series. Again, depends on the taste of each individual and so, I speak only for myself when I say that HP for me will always be better than any series of books that were ever written or ever will be written in future. It just makes me appreciate the genius that is J K Rowling, that much more. It’s not a joke keeping an audience interested in 7 books, where the levels of expectations rose with every released book and the next book actually managed to exceed those expectations. GRRM couldn’t do that for me. JKR could.

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2 thoughts on “Review: A Dance With Dragons

  1. Comparing ASOF and Harry Potter is like comparing apples and oranges. More appropriately apples and a juice box. ASOF is a rich tapestry of complex characters and situations entwining together. It is masterfully written and both beautiful and brutal. Its basic problem lies in the fact that it is too complex. GRRM has seemingly lost his grip on where the series is going. In DWD I became overwhelmed with the Mereen plot (is everyone named Grazdan??). ASOF is turning into the U.S. tax code. Endless. Harry Potter is a charming story but the writing lacks depth. Seriously- JKR writes endless pages where the characters simply speak and interject mindlessly on the speaker without reference to who’s speaking. e.g. Harry said, “blah blah…”, “-blah blah” said Ron. “–blah, blah”, “–blah, blah”. Who’s even speaking the last two interjections. Is it Ron, Hermione, Dobby? The hell if I know. Its frustrating. And every spell is a ridiculous (‘ridiculoso!’) bastardized one or two word latin phrase. Every person or object has a faggy sounding name like “Whifflywuff” or “Blippityblap”. Annoying. And having the series end with Harry having a conversation with Dumbledore to explain everything seems like a crutch. However, points to JKR for having finished the series. Unfortunately, Harry didn’t really learn much did he? He’s a mediocre wizard with a good heart and gee golly that’s why he triumphed. GRRM on the other hand has endless character development but he’s spinning his wheels. Odds are he’ll never finish ASOF before he dies unless he chops off about twenty plot lines unsatifactorily. Which, given his propensity for killing off characters, is possible. Points to GRRM in that his characters are not juvenile and don’t have ridiculous, over the top douchey names. These are just a few thoughts. But the bottom line is GRRM is for adults and JKR is for kids and adolescent minded adults. If you can’t see that, get on your Hufflewhiffledebop and wave your wand while you incant “ex vitum irrealoso” and run around in your underoos.

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  2. I wasn’t exactly trying to compare HP with ASOIAF – I agree, they’re of a different style even though both are part of the Fantasy genre. But then, when I first heard of ASOIAF, I was told it’s better than HP – that’s what I mentioned in my post above. The comparison was made TO me rather than BY me, so I wanted to set that straight.

    When it comes to pure entertainment value, I would any day pick up HP again. I guess that’s more of a personal taste than anything else. In ASOIAF, the first 3 books had me hooked. I did night-outs trying to finish ’em off. But ‘Feast for Crows’ was mind-numbingly boring. People say it’s because GRRM was trying to add depth to the characters, setting the stage, yada yada yada – I couldn’t care less. That justification doesn’t make it any more interesting to me. And knowing GRRM through the first 3 books, I think he could’ve made Books 4 and 5 interesting – it’s not that he doesn’t have the talent! I think he just got carried away with all those plots and sub-plots and sub-sub-plots and the story was all over the place.

    BTW, his propensity to kill characters is only matched by an equal propensity to re-incarnate them in some other way! Book 5 had so many of ’em that at the end it was just comical (like some of the soap operas where characters die but don’t really die)! I mean.. there should be some limit to these things! 😛

    And yes, HP is still young adult fiction – I will not contest that. Doesn’t mean adults shouldn’t like it 🙂 Some of the hardcore HP fans I know are over 25! And ASOIAF – I won’t be recommending this to my teenage cousins any time now.

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