Some of you might be pretty sick of hearing about Game of Thrones at this point. It’s everybody’s new obsession and there probably isn’t anything new about but a) for once this is actually about the books as opposed to the TV series b) I’m going to give it a shot regardless.
The Martin worshipers among you may chastise me for it, but I do have to say, so far the best book in the series has been the first one. It’s almost as if he realized just how much he had hooked us in with the first book, and then dwindled his efforts from there, because you were already committed to finishing the series. Don’t get me wrong, the books are good, somehow Martin managed to balance Tolkien’s complex and thoroughly planned imaginings, with the accessible language and story-telling dominated by Rowling. He is undoubtedly a very good writer, and I still have very much enjoyed the series so far, but the story doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere.
A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons cover a large geographical space, without actually covering much chronologically. Meanwhile A Clash of Kings was mostly a lot of nothing happening while messages and crows are being sent back and forth. All I can think is that most of these minor occurrences will play a much more significant role in the books to come, which I can completely understand. Martin is establishing significant relationships and personality traits for each of his characters, and we need to understand those in order to full comprehend their future actions and have an attachment to them.
What I really enjoyed about A Dance with Dragons was learning a lot more about the Free Cities and other lands to the East of Westeros. The maps in this book make referencing character dialogues a lot simpler, and despite the slow pace of action there is still just enough excitement to keep you turning the page, although at a slightly diminished pace. The series itself is still a good read, and a lot more interesting than the TV series if you ask me. In fact, I have a very different relationship with the characters in the TV series than I do with those in the book. I’m not a huge “books are better than TV Snob”, in fact I’ve always believed that every form of media carries its own unique value. Which is a really complicated way of saying that, if you’re not much of a reader, and you like the TV series, I encourage you to give the books a try.