I remember, ten years ago (was it really ten years ago? My GOD, I'm getting ancient), amid the chaos and confusion of first-semester final exams, I discovered a book that I'd bought over the summer. And heck, Robert Jordan said it was good, so why not give it a kick at the tires?
Three days later, I'd written a couple of finals and finished this glorious piece of fiction. See, the problem was that I'd read enough mediocre fantasy that I was worried I wouldn't find the right thing to blow my socks off. After all, I'd already read up to book 6 or 7 of the Wheel of Time, so I thought it had all been done.
George Martin opened my eyes up to a new style of fantasy. NED! BRAN! What the hell's going on here? How can he let this happen to the good guys?
Now, the ensuing books haven't been as good, but they are still fine books, better than most of what's out there. I'd been getting a little stale on the series, with Martin's harbingers trumpeting every turd that he makes on the toilet but it was nice to read this one again to refresh myself, get away from the hype and just enjoy the book.
I can't believe it's been ten years and it's only the second time I've read the book.
I've started it a couple of times, but there's an event that happens three-quarters of the way through that is hard to get to, let alone through. The buildup to it is just insane, especially if you already know what's going to happen. Once it happens, you're free to go ahead and finish the book, hopes and dreams shattered but the pressure lets up somewhat. Then picks up again to leave you needing the next book.
Good for you, George. You've recaptured a fan, just not butt-polishing fanboy. I reserve that for Robert Jordan.