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StormIt’s that time of year, Game of THRONES, my friends.  Are you geeking out?   I am.  Hard. Core.  I resisted this show for two whole seasons, but in the end, pre-baby ‘bed rest’ boredom, plus my inner fantasy fan (ok, OUTER fantasy fan) won the day.  And as if often the case, once I committed my whole heart, after binge-watching two seasons (and frankly, switching cable carriers to get HBO at a great deal for Season 3), I made my way to the books.

I’m happy to admit that A Clash of Kings was the first book I read on my Kindle. While I’m still not in love with the technology, it did save me lugging around an enormous book while also lugging around an equally enormous newborn.  But we’re not here to talk about A Game of Thrones, or A Clash of Kings.  That’s SO last season(s). We are here to talk about A Storm of Swords.

I’ve decided that all authors with R.R. as their middle initials have a pathological fear of brevity.  They enjoy describing, in exhaustingly minute detail, everything everyone is wearing, eating, smelling, seeing and riding.  Lots of time is spent discussing sigils and scabbards and mottos (oh my!).  Like Mr. R.R. Tolkien, Martin takes the scenic, slow-as-a-goat-path (sometimes an actual goat path) route around his fictitious world.  Like an old man reminiscing about his youth to his grandkids.  It’s not bad, you get to see all the main tourist attractions – some of them more than once (Harrenhal, I’m talking to you!).  We know the climate and topography of each landscape intimately, as well as every breakfast, lunch and dinner.  And unlike some other books, we actually get to see our characters piss and shit (repeatedly) and, of course, have sex.  But not nearly as much as in the show.  But that, dear readers, is my only criticism.  Wow, I feel lighter.  Now let’s move on to the fun stuff (SPOILERS GALORE AHEAD!!!!!)

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Why do I read such long books?  Arguably something like Gone with the Wind is worth the 1,000 pages.  I would say each of the Harry Potters was enjoyable even when topping over 400 pages each.  

Ken Follett, not so much.  We know he can write a long book, certainly, this one caps at a little over 900 pages.  But can he write a good one?  Of that I’m not so sure.  Which is not to say that World Without End is a bad book (or perhaps I’m just trying to justify my continued dedication to it) but Mr. Follett seems to think that his own book is too long.  Clearly he doesn’t believe any reader will continue to pay attention.  He’s constantly reminding you of characters (remember him? He was back on page 200? He’s still a hunchback, in case you forgot) and events (oh yeah, just in case you forget pages 400-476, here’s what happened, they got married and had a baby and here’s how old it is now).   

As a reader of lots of books, and longish books usually, I find this incredibly annoying.  I AM paying attention, and if I’m not it’s YOUR fault, Mr. Follett, not mine.  I have the same complaints as I did about Pillars of the Earth – too much rape, too much sex and too many inane, repetitive details (do we have to hear about that damn cat again?  Unless he turns into a pivotal character, even I don’t want the feline interludes all the time).

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