This is book three of the series. I started reading it after seeing the advertisements for the start of Season Two on HBO. They are pushing this thing pretty hard in print and on TV. I don’t have HBO so I’ve only seen an episode or so on the road and it looks pretty true to the books. Not that you care, but remember, I only started reading this because I caught an episode while traveling.
So here we are.
I was bored with this book at the half way point. It just wasn’t doing anything for me. But shortly after the half it took off like a shot and never looked back. There was a frenzy of death, bloodshed, hope, sorrow, victory, and disappointment over the course of a few chapters that caused a bout of late-night reading.
The story is complicated and there are plenty of deep characters, yet it can still be treated as a guilty pleasure. It goes both ways, sci-fi and fantasy addicts can discuss the story’s social significance and people like me can bang through it because it’s a ton of fun. I forget many of the characters and I don’t have any idea where they are geographically (in a relative sense, it’s a fictional land), but I can still follow it.
I’ve heard some say this book, number three, is the best in the series. I’ll leave that to the pundits, but I will say, the ending left me in a place that makes me think I’ll read the next book soon. These things are a thousand pages a pop so they’re not small endeavors, but that second half went quickly and left me hanging. I’ll target October for the next one.
I’m worried that my trilogy rule, which says things get shaky after number three, will hold true. The Dune “trilogy” rocked until the fourth book. I tried to stay with it, but couldn’t. W.E.B. Griffin’s Presidential Agent series made it to a solid fourth book but blew up on the fifth. I’m done with that, despite the fact that I said I’d give it a chance. I won’t.
Now this Song of Ice and Fire series (TV calls it Game of Thrones series) is already five books and Martin is shooting to make it seven. That’s big. Hopefully it ends up more like the American crime or British spy series I read which seemingly extend forever without losing momentum. Martin published the first one back in 1996 and there have been five and six years between the last two books, so I have time to read the next two before the anticipatory wait period.
Yeah, the anticipatory wait period, that’s fun stuff. It’s that time of analysis, punditry, speculation, and reflection that occurs during the run-up to potential new stuff in a series of successes. I may or may not be able to enjoy it, depending on how fast I consume the next two.