Friday, January 31, 2014

Cephalopod Coffeehouse Book Chat – Game of Thrones, etc., a Negative Review

From the ArmChair Squid:
“The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you've finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same. In this way, we'll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers.”

Sometimes I get a hold of a certain type of book that, while interesting, makes me skim words, sentences, and then paragraphs. Ultimately, plowing through the wordiness frustrates me to the point of skipping whole pages. In the category of Skippy books, I place the following:

The Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) – George RR Martin. At some point, do we really need to know what they are eating at every meal? I want the tale to advance and not hang up in too many storylines. Plus, his penchant for killing off characters is wearing thin. If the initial hook is in the characters, I tend to lose interest if they are killed off. I mean, why invest my time and enjoyment in (insert name here) if he is going to die later?

The Wheel of Time – Robert Jordan. All started so well, so interesting. But, after a point, I groaned, “Just get on with it. Don’t bring in more characters, darn it. No more inane conversations. Move along. Gaaaah! Not another plot twist.”

I bought every WOT book and would again. At least he and co-author Brandon Sanderson, who picked up the reins after Mr. Jordan passed away, made the first five and the last two books amazing. The ones in-between, not so much. 

And I never liked the book covers. Too amateurish, IMHO. Though not as bad as anime, a style of art that I intensely dislike. Hate actually.

But Martin’s, I don’t know if I care enough at this point to continue the series. 

Recently I read One Second After by Willaim Forstchen and it quickly turned into a skipper. The reviews were wall-to-wall 5-stars but I didn’t buy it until the price dropped to $2.99. Glad I didn’t pay the full price now. It turned into a version of Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank complete with a death of a secondary character by the same disease. Too much “Bob” dialogue, the method of delivering info the author wants you to know via Y.T.M. aka Yapping Too Much. No strong females. All are wimpy and whinny. Bleh.

Mr. Frank's book is the one to read but it is dated and reading it makes me very uncomfortable. 

Do you have a famous Skimmer book? 


  1. I've enjoyed George R.R. Martin's series, overall, but I'm guilty of the skimming thing. It's probably why I haven't yet read the fifth book. But I'll get to it eventually.

    I haven't read any in the WOT series. I own quite a few of them (picked them up cheap at a used book sale) but never took the dive. I'm so with you on the covers.

  2. Someone else who feels the same way about Wheel of Time! I got through the first few books, skimming of course, and then finally gave up when there appeared no end in sight.

  3. Thanks for the review - I won't be reading it!

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

  4. I love A Song of Ice and Fire but did do some skimming in the last book. Love the pic of Jon Snow and Ghost - my favorite characters! :)

    1. You read Dance of Dragons? Then you know why I commented about killing too many characters.
      And yes, I love the pic also.

  5. I feel like there are other people who do the same sorts of things arguably better than GRRM, like Daniel Abraham, Joe Abercrombie or Janni Wurts. Although with any longish series, there's the danger of there being a whole book that is nothing but set up for the next one.

  6. Not read any of these but admit to the skim sometimes- often with classics that I want to like but can't actually be bothered to plough through (Moby Dick is a notable example. I keep retrying but I fall asleep. Sorry Melville!) Also so glad I'm not the only one giving vent to a bit of a gripe! :-)

  7. This is really funny. I mean, your review is funny ("do we really need to know what they're eating at every meal?") but also weird funny, because I just picked up my MIL at the airport last night and we had a long discussion about GoT and WOT. I have never read the latter, but she was just finishing it up and really loved it. She tried GoT and abandoned it: too violent, no clear overarching plotline to invest in.

    I liked GoT and continued with the series, though I've opted to read them along with the HBO series. But I totally see why people wouldn't.

    My most recent "skimmer" was "The Passage" by Justin Cronin. I was so grateful to finish that doorstopper and will not continue with that series. The characters never felt real to me, so I didn't really care what happened to them.

  8. Yes I admit it, I've skimmed too, and killing off to many characters would hurt a book in my view, but it seems to be made for TV. Although, I don't watch it - although I did try. Just not my cup of tea.

  9. I really enjoyed GOT, though I haven't read the last one yet. I feel the same way as you about WOT. The first four/five were awesome but then there was too much going on and too many characters and I lost interest.

  10. I'm at the point now where if I find myself skimming, it's time to put down the book. At least, until I get to one that I want to know the ending...

  11. i'm a skimmer sometimes too. i'm reading GOT to be one step ahead of the hbo series - i hate that they split the last book in two and wasted so much time on the ugly fish son in the dungeon... i read WOT too, but could really tell the difference when Brandon took over and never finished...

    love honest reviews! (ditto on disliking anime) and i like this coffeeshop idea. i get to hear all your thoughts on books! thanks!

    hope things are going well for you =)
    have a wonderful weekend!

  12. A rather disappointing month of reading! Here's hoping February is skimmer free.

  13. Wow, this is the first time I hear of someone not liking Game of Thrones (I haven't read it). I agree with you in that it can be very frustrating to read about so many characters and so many details if the plot is not moving fast enough. I'm currently experiencing the same thing with a book I'm reading. :(

  14. I've read a few skimmers. I skimmed through the first half of Under the Dome by Stephen King. That was so disappointing.


  15. I did some skimming with a book I just read - a DCF book called "See You At Harry's" that my son had read for his book group and I knew had some pretty heavy themes. The book was so sad and the main character so tormented by the sad events - after a couple of pages of her anguish I started skimming because it was just so depressing and bleak! A good book but heavy, especially considering the age of its intended audience.

  16. Scott Westerfield's books have become Skimmers (I love that term!)...I want to read the third book but have been holding off...

  17. You are so funny! And yes, I have Skimmers, too. A lot. But most turn into DNFs, since I don't have a lot of time to waste on things I'm not into. Have a good week, and drop by my blog if you want a link to promo freebies for authors. :)

  18. You know, I'm a definite Game of Thrones fan but have done this a little bit, too. Nice to hear someone articulate it!

  19. This is why I've always been apprehensive about reading these Big Epic Fantasy Novel Series.

  20. I've read books 1-3 of GoT, and really enjoyed them - but by the time #4 was available it had been so long that I needed to re-read ... and I still haven't done that. I'll get around to it, someday.

    As for WoT, I've re-read them all once, and to be honest I wasn't a huge fan of Sanderson's versions. I am still totally bitter that he made Mat say "YEAH!" None of the WoT characters had ever said "yeah" before, so it just wasn't right. :P BUT I love WoT. It has actually changed my life - back in 2000 I joined an online community of WoT fans, and I have met some amazing people through that site, even if I'm no longer active at the site I started out at.

  21. I'm one who loves to get immersed in a world. Even with giant door-stoppers, if an author gets me to fall in love with the characters, I'm not much for skimming. I did get kind of luke-warm about GRRM though. That was more to do with killing a character every other page, though. ;)

  22. Just finished skimming parts of The Dogs of Babel, which isn't a bad book at all but I cannot bear to read a single paragraph in which there is cruelty to an animal. So there were a couple of chapters that I by-passed.

    I hate that I've read all of the Game of Thrones. SO MUCH is skippable and horrible. I swear I'm not gonna pick up the next one he comes out with--it's just the same damn thing.


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