My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Review: A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was all about trade-offs. On the one hand, Martin introduces a fair amount of complex political intrigue and (what seemed like) realism in his world building gave it just enough grit to appear different then the standard epic (low) fantasy I had grown used to. In fact, some time later I read that Martin was quite pleased with the fact that just because a character was a 'good' guy, doesn't mean he will survive the story ... the only problem was that it really was difficult to find them. Jon Snow was perhaps the only individual I liked much at all, but his story seemed to be there to set him up for something much later. The nominal hero of the story was probably Eddard ... whose complete rigidity and lack of empathy really made him a detestable figure, despite his adherence to honor et. al. It was not until the War started that the story started to redeem itself ... And it did so admirably. The War of the Five Kings was the best part of the book; but even that drops a star because of the number and frequent changes of the various Points of View within (8 total POV across 3 major plotlines). 

This was THE most frustrating aspect of the book as every single switch made it real easy to put the book down and forget about it for awhile (at least until the later part of the book where I was more tempted to just skip ahead and ignore the crap in between ... Then maybe going back and reading the next POV/storyline parts. I did struggle through to the end though ... And the irritation faded enough that I purchased the next book in the series after finding it in a yard sale for a quarter ... And it wasn't long before I encountered enough 'realism' and not enough 'idealism' to decide that this series wasn't as good as I had remembered. Parts of it were really fun; parts of it I really intensely disliked and I would have preferred to do without. I still haven't read past book two.

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.