A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I do not share the world’s passion for these books. Dark, long, and often intensely monotonous interspersed with periods of sheer horror, the series may go on forever, but I will not be there if and when the end ever comes.
The first time I encountered a 40 page description of the food at a royal banquet and drifted into a coma, I thought “Hmm. Filler.” Then Mr. Martin began to knock off any character to whom I felt anything resembling empathy, leaving only the characters I would have willingly knocked off myself. That didn’t give me any warm fuzzies either. I need to relate to someone in a book if I’m going to enjoy it. If I dislike everyone and relate to no one, I lose interest. Call me old-fashioned, but I need to like someone. Reading a very long series when there’s not one character I admire or like is like going to a really big party that goes on forever … but you have no one to talk to. I don’t usually go to parties for exactly that reason.
Science fiction/paranormal/fantasy/alternative reality fiction is my favorite area, the one in which I spend most of my literary hours. The problem is not unfamiliarity with the genre. I just don’t like this series or its author.
It goes on forever. The plot never advances. The situation never changes in any substantial way. Maybe it’s too much like real life in that it’s one set of machinations replaced by another in an endless cycle of nastiness, back-stabbing, murder and intrigue. Surprisingly, I need more than lots of mean-spirited plotting and murder to make a book interesting. Especially a series as long and complicated as this one.
Does its placement in an alternate reality improve the story? Not for me. These days reality is alternate enough.
I know that this is a really popular series. I have a bunch of volumes of the series. It’s hard to remember how many. I kept hoping it would get better, that I’d like it more. Especially because I had already purchased more books that I optimistically expected to read.
I haven’t felt even a little inclined toward reading them. I doubt I ever will.