Thursday, July 3, 2008

What I did on my Summer Vacation--Part 1

Ok, I don't actually have the time or money to take a vacation--I haven't in a very long time--but with the price of gas these days I suppose that doesn't come as much of a surprise.

I did finish some of my reading though. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell turned out to be a wonderful book, though some major plot points were left unresolved. I hope that means we'll be seeing a sequel. I'll definitely have to keep an eye out for it.

I also finished both A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords and am about halfway through A Feast for Crows. I've enjoyed them, but I have to confess that I haven't bothered to buy any of them and am only working through the library's copies. The first two books (Thrones and Kings) had a nice tragic Fall of Rome type quality to it, but the third book reminded me of a certain John Gardener quote:
“Real suspense comes with moral dilemma and the courage to make and act upon choices. False suspense comes from the accidental and meaningless occurrence of one damned thing after another.”
It's not that there wasn't suspense, but by about the third or fourth time that Arya escaped, got captured and escaped again, well it became somewhat tedious. And when two key characters from her family get killed...well, the whole story is a slow blood-letting so you kind of stop caring who lives and who dies after a while. Other characters disappeared and seemed forgotten for 100,000 words at a time. One rather sympathetic character just got killed--but it happened off-screen which left me filling a little cheated. It might have been better to devote some novels to specific individual characters rather than trying to weave all these plot strands together just a few at a time.

I've heard terrible stories from fans of Robert Jordan's work. I never made it past the first book myself, but I've heard that even his fans felt that he sold out or lost control of the series at some point. I hope GRRM doesn't do a Jordan. He's got a massive story going on. I hope he can keep track of all the story threads, devote the time to each that they deserve, and still keep the story focused on the parts that move the overall plot forward and that he doesn't just follow characters wandering around the landscape for no reason.

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