July 19th, 2011, 02:17 PM
I'm not going to pile on a book that was obviously a brutal struggle for an author I like very much (and reads like it). You can go elsewhere for the pile-on.
MILD SPOILERS AHEAD
I'll just say this: Judging by AFFC and ADWD, Martin should have gone with the fast-forward after ASOS he originally envisioned. The events of ASOS are apocalyptic, and a fast-forward would have given Martin some fresh backstory to play with -- something he does very, very well. The way the history of Robert's Rebellion is revealed (and the speculation that fills in the gaps) is one of the things that really set the first three books apart.
With a fast-forward after ASOS, Martin could have done the same thing with the events following that book, and the exposition could have been parceled out in hints, clues, and reveals so the reader can piece it together on their own, without having to read 2,000 pages of POV characters wandering in circles, riding pigs, attending to administrative challenges, waiting for the wind to fill their sails, or buried in snowstorms.
Also, don't call your book "A Dance with Dragons" and then chain the dragons in a pit for the duration of the book.
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