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Buy it, but buy it in paperback
am 9. August 1999
Martin's world is one that grows on you. A year after reading GofT, I found myself arguing to myself about the characters, and having to read it again. A book that does this to you--it's some kind of brilliant.
I bought A Clash of Kings in a personally purchased hardcover because I was itching to know more and couldn't wait--well, I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to say at the end of this book I still feel exactly the same way--without the satisfaction of feeling like the plot has moved forward. Martin has killed off a bunch of his characters--that should simplify some things, right? But where's the story's forward momentum? The best example of lack of forward momentum in this story has to be what goes on with Arya, Eddard Stark's tomboyish daughter. At the end of GofT, Arya, separated from her family and wolf, is struggling to make her way north through hostile territory to rejoin them. At the end of CofK, Arya, separated from her family and wolf, is struggling... What, truly, has changed for Arya between the end of book 1 and book 2? Yes, events occur in the course of this book, but there are no major new realignments to the situation as we are left to understand it from book one. Most agregious is the way Martin sends Daenerys on a futile jaunt due East (or whatever) directly away from Westeros. Sure, once again, loads of STUFF happens--but this is not a very subtle way to delay Daenerys's return for a later book!
So--this time Martin got me. I had to read CofK in Hardcover because I couldn't wait for the Paperback edition. But I feel burned. One day I will own Book Three, and Book Four, and whatever. Martin is master of fantasy and I want to support his writing by buying his books. But definitely not in Hardcover again.