I've just finished reading the first four books (five novels) of George R. R. Martin's 'A Song of Ice and Fire.'
Brilliant reads, all. I was hooked about halfway through book one, and have read them all quite closely together. I did find the fourth 'A Feast for Crows' difficult to get into when compared with the books that came prior to it, but once I caught the tempo it became another good read.
I love the different cast of characters, in particular Ayra Stark, Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Brienne of Tarth, and Ned Stark. It's such an expansive world, and Martin jumps around the array of characters and places with ease.
Can't imagine quite how it felt to read 'A Feast for Crows" back in 2005, expecting the sequel within the year! Out next Tuesday, 'A Dance with Dragons' should hopefully pick up the pace a little, and at over 1000 pages will keep me going awhile. I've read a few horrible things written by 'fans' of the series regarding this gap, moaning about Martin's rate of work, that he's let them down, that they hate him now and won't read any more, etc. It's really odd and disturbing stuff to read, and I don't understand why a person wouldn't give an author credit to know his work best, and to appreciate that it's a creative medium after all.
My only (minor) negative comment on the books is that I would just love the action to jump ahead in time... I want to see the young characters become adults, the strong become weak, the weak become strong. I want things the rate of change to escalate, to slow down again.
I think I must be one of the only people NOT to have seen the new HBO series 'A Game Of Thrones' based on the books. I only became aware of the series while reading the first book, and have only imposed the image of Sean Bean onto the character he plays, Ned Stark (and why not, eh?). The other characters are all sitting in my head still, and it will be interesting to watch them on the TV whenever this comes to terrestrial or DVD.
I do fancy the show, though. Trailers and clips I've seen all look great, like this one.