Lightweight. Pretty good. Not great. The best parts involved the science stuff, but all of that kind of took a backseat to other things later in the book. Not sure I'll be compelled to move on to future installments.
Will be interesting to see if I get into this. I mean, it seems okay, so far, but it doesn't particularly *feel* like the characters live in the time the story takes place. It's like Follett did a bunch of meticulous research on cathedrals, but forgot to learn about how the people behaved, talked, etc. So far, I feel like I'm watching a movie set in Europe, featuring American actors.
Definitely a worthy number two.
I found *Kings* to be a bit slow at first, wasn't sure the plot was as intriguing as *A Game of Thrones* but it eventually hit a really great stride as some of the best characters from the first book were further fleshed out, while some underdeveloped characters gained new (and often unexpected) dimensions.
I love that the story is populated so thickly with major characters, that there is so much development of these personalities, but that Martin still manages to make time for some really great supporting characters, like Jaqen H'ghar, who was so unlike anyone else in the books, with motivations all his own, and Yoren, someone who seems pretty awful, but turns out to be something much more.
It's also neat to see a book with a really well-developed lineage, so that when you meat a character with a given surname, you feel like you know something about them, and you immediately wonder why "this person" is fighting for "this side" despite other connections.
I also like that there is something of a slow creep towards the more fantastical elements of the book; dragons and magic are slowly filtered in, and there's a real sense of discovery, and it feels less manufactured this way, and somehow more realistic.
As with the first book, there's also a creeping dread, a sense that awful things will happen to people that we sympathize with -- though no one seems to be truly sympathetic. This is due, in part, to the fact that Martin will destroy anyone, at any time.
1) The birthing of a shadow assassin.
2) The whole Jaqen H'ghar subplot.
3) Daenerys Targaryen - Her plot is simmering, and I like the way she grows on me.
Excellent review. The strong minor characters in this book give it much more depth than A Clash Of Kings. Some of the chapters definitely dragged (especially the Jon Snow chapters), but overall an excellent continuation of book one.
The short prologue had me hooked, the next few chapters felt a bit slow. Around page 70, the book is hard to put down, primarily due to the way each chapter is devoted to a specific character from the book. I found myself finishing a chapter, upset that I'd have to wait 5 or 6 chapters to get back to that character, only to have the same reaction when I finished the *next* character's chapter.
Really, really good. It ends without really "ending" as events seem to simply lead right into book 2.
I have a few minor quibbles. Some of the sex seemed a bit gratuitous. I'm not a prude, and a good sex scene is fine, but here it was just a bit jarring, and felt a little disconnected. I guess maybe it was supposed to be. The Daenarys character developed a lot through the book, and I suppose it's a mark of good writing that I was actually disappointed with the person she becomes, but as with the sex -- it all feels a bit forced. Martin seemed to want us to feel as though certain things were just part of that culture that she married into, but I kept wondering why she was so quick to accept it, and some of her later attempts to "atone" felt a bit feeble.
Still, *so* many great characters, and none of them seem to be safe. This is very much like LOST where bad things just keep happening to people that you really like, and some people that you really like do some things that aren't particularly nice.
A couple of the twists were somewhat predictable, but there are so many twists that it's almost impossible to know what is going to happen at any given point in the story.
So, all in all, really very good. Not too challenging, easy to pick up and put down in spurts, fun, humorous -- slightly repetitious.
Fortunately, just as you get kind of sick of reading the same sort of commentary about lists of weapons, etc., Brooks switches to a recounting of various recorded Zombie encounters throughout history which, I think, will be a great lead-in to *World War Z*.
In the end, it's the sort of book that you show guests when they come over, pointing them to specific quote-worthy passages.