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Archive for May, 2012

I finished A Game of Thrones (or “Game of Thrones” if you’re American), a few weeks ago now. It was rather a relief to finish, which is never a sign of a good book!

It took two attempts to get into it properly, and a good 50-100 pages before I was convinced it was worth reading. Then I quite enjoyed the first half or so, once I’d established who was who, and how they related to each other.

There are a lot of characters introduced at the start with no real setting to see how they fit together, or even if they are part of the same story. (and I only found the family history charts tracking who was who at the back of the book when I was over halfway through…putting it at the front would have been more logical!)

An interesting and different way to structure a book was telling the sotry through a series of point of view characters. Each chapter is titled with a different character’s name, and written from their point of view. But I think there were too many “point of view characters” making the story spread a little too thin to really engage with and care about all the characters who were telling the story.

There were a couple of characters I liked (Arya in particular), but other places – big battles which should be full of pace and excitement where I ended up skimming the details because it was just too staid and monotonous. I didn’t care what happened to Tyrion during the battle, or whether person X lived or died. Although interestingly Tyrion came across as a far more interesting and likeable character in the TV series.

The story of Daenrys, her horrible brother and the horse lord was one of my favourite threads of the story, and interestingly I found out afterwards that those chapters were split out into an award winning novella after the first book was published.

By the end I was reading it because I wanted to get to the end – wanted to finish it – rather than particularly enjoying reading it. It wasn’t bad. It was just a bit unfocused.

But then when one of the main characters died  (I won’t spoil it by telling you who) it was over in a flash, there was not enough emotion expressed by any of the characters there, and no detail for the reader to empathise with. There isn’t a need for blood and gore, but something to make the reader feel something about this quite surprising death would have added to the story.

I cheated in the end. I did finish the first book (of about 9 in the series) and I did, sort of, want to know what happened next, as it wasn’t a neat and tidy conclusion. But it just didn’t leave me wanting to read the next book enough to actually decide to buy it . And therefore I used the synopsises and character details on Wikipedia instead.

Next time – some more on the TV adaptation of book one.

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