Friday, February 03, 2006

You win this time Mr. Martin

[I found this in my drafts, apparently I forgot to edit it and publish it, so better late then never here it is. This is a first in series of reviews I plan based on my pre-review post from before Christmas]

So, George R. R. Martin, and his Feast of Crows, was late enough to irk me. (As I'm sure it irked many fans.) Its lateness was starting to feel Stephen King's Gunslingerish. When it came out, it was only half a book, half a very very big book, making it in fact larger then your average one book. The reason for this was publishers ability to physically print the book came into question, as it stands the behemoth has pages made of onion skin, and is still thicker then your average hardcover. (It does not exceed the ISO bear ergonomic size guidelines, but only barely, eh BooBo. [As I am editing this 3-5 weeks after initially writing it, I'm certain this was a lot funnier the first time, the kernel of this joke has something to do with the fact either ISO or some other standards board has a set of ergonomic size guidelines for products, in regards to humans.])

When George decided to split the book he had two choices, he could make Feast of Crows Part 1, and Feast of Crows Part 2; where he cuts the book in half along the temporal axis. Instead, George shimmied his plots about, so that half the characters had there whole story told. Fortunately the points of interaction in his story are local wise very disparate, and so this could be done without revealing too much of what you weren't seeing.

To say the least, I was appearing about his choice, but it was his choice, and I can't really change it, so in my opinion doesn't matter. For the record, now that I have read it, he made the right choice.

In approaching this book, I was concerned that I would be lost in the twisting maze of plot. I had reread the whole series prior to the published publication date over two years ago, only to find out within days of the published publication date, that the published publication date was utter bunk. In protest, I refused to re-re-read the books, I figured sure fire if I did that again, the book would magically vanish from my shelf for another two years just to spite me. So head first into his story I dove, and it tenderly caught me, and pulled me into its twisting curves most masterfully.

Since most of my friends, and family haven't read the book yet, and most of them will at some point probably read my copy, I will avoid spoilers. What I will say is that the long wait was worth it!

Martin wrote a phenomenal book that captivates its readers, and pulls you along. At times you find your self screaming at the book demanding justice for your beloved characters, or comeuppance for those you loath, Cersi, I hate that witch! As always each chapter focus on one character's point of view and as always you are put behind that characters eyes, and see it through them. This of course makes their pain all the more visceral.

Without given much away, he has taken to a slightly different naming on his chapters that works well. In this case his characters are evolving, and the chapters which used to (and still primarily) are named with the name of the character they feature, "Cersi", "Jamie", etc. Yet he strays a little bit naming chapters with names more befitting the characters present evolution. Looking back at previous books to demonstrate instead of hinting at the content of this, a chapter might have taken the name "King in the North" as opposed to "Robb" at such a time when Robb called his banner men to him, and set off to avenge Ned Stark (Dammit, George, I didn't see that one coming, I really didn't, after you killed Ned, I knew you for the monster that you were!)

Continuing on my parenthetical rant, Martin did an interview with The Star (that link will probably die,) where he likened killing characters to football, and being all suspenseful. I tend to agree that it makes for a better book in the long run, but when he does kill someone you really like it really gets you emotionally. This works both ways, in one of the first two books when he pours a pot of molten gold over the head of the sniveling wretch of a boy king you are very very satisfied!

So Martin once more has written a great book, and while an evil part of me wanted reason to complain, other then it being late, I can't find one. So, Martin, if you are searching the web, and find this site, know that you have a fan, and know that you better write more!
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