There is a subset of fantasy literature called Big Fat Fantasy (BFF). Or door-stoppers … because they look like this.
My first foray into BFF territory was Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. I really enjoyed that series until Jordan created way too many plot, sub-plot, sub-sub-plot, and sub-sub-sub plot threads. I gave up on that series in 2000. I was, however, aware of George R.R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Around the time I broke up with the Wheel of Time, I noticed that Martin’s third ASoIaF book, A Storm of Swords, was still in hardback. It had been released within a year of the previous volume’s (A Clash of Kings) paperback.
“He’s making great progress!” I thought. “The next book will probably be out next year!”
Well, not quite. In fact, not by a long shot. A lot of ink has been spilled on this topic – including inside The New Yorker (!) – so I won’t whine and complain how long it took Book 4 (A Feast for Crows) and Book 5 (A Dance With Dragons) to come out. I’m just glad they did.
Since the Game of Thrones series (based on Martin’s novels) came out on HBO this spring, I began a re-read of the series. I read every evening and in any free moment I could snatch.
And then I finished A Dance With Dragons this past weekend.
I love the characters, setting, and plot of the series. I find myself thinking about characters, plot points, and the mysteries raised throughout the novels. It’s truly an immersive experience. But that goes both ways, because the series frustrates me, too. Martin caught a slight case of Jordan-itis and created too many sub-plots in the last two novels. But Martin is such a skillful writer that you still care about the characters even when you’re frustrated with them. So he has done his job well.
Book 6 (The Winds of Winter) will come out (eventually), but it doesn’t help my “withdrawal” right now.
So I’m currently reading contemporary novels like Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell, because I miss hanging out in Martin’s world, and no other fantasy setting will do.
Do you ever finish a book (or a series of books) and then feel kinda blue when you’re done?