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A song of ice and fire

What happened to a Song of Ice and Fire.
I still remember being gripped and hooked by the first three books in the series. The books were big but never long to read. I devoured the pages. Scenes still stick out in my head. I loved the way Martin confounded my expectations at every turn. How he twisted the characters and how the POV made everyone seem right. I enjoyed the way he turned Jaime Lannister around in a Storm of Swords. Martin was a writer at the height of his powers but then the inevitable fall began. 
The downfall started wtih Feast and it was a torrid bore. It felt big, there was no tension, there was nothing I could take away from the book. Dance I thought would be better but it too disappointed with everyone just walking from point A to point B. I could hardly believe that this was the same Martin who penned scenes like the Red Wedding. The introduction of the Direwolves set everything up wonderfully. In that one scene you knew who the characters were, what sort of world this was. You knew that Jon Snow was a bastard, one of the Starks and yet not one of them, you knew that Eddard Stark was an honorable man. The entrance of the Lannisters was magnificently written. The twists just kept coming and all the while the writing was stellar. Tyrion just delivered. His wit and piercing insight into affairs made him everyone's favorite dwarf. You could almost always feel the pain when Littlefinger spoke of Catelyn Stark. The story always moved forward. There was no room for standing still. Martin possessed this ability of introducing characters but you felt as if you had known them all along but the magic just vanished.
Feast and Dance were soap opersa in which it made absolutely no difference if you skipped pages and scenes because you became reasonably sure that nothing of note would really happen. There was some memorable stuff but they were so scattered and so few in between that it was worse than trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Worse than this was the fact that no mainstream publication seemed to take a stand and say that a Dance with Dragons was boring. Everyone was effusive. It was almost as if they had been paid to do a positive review or they didn't want to risk saying anything contrarian.
Martin was on song in the first three books but he just seems to have lost his muse. I hope he rediscovers it in the Winds of Winter and keeps it focussed and stops it from meandering about. 


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