Saturday, 12 April 2014

‘A Game of Thrones, The Graphic Novel – Vol. 1’ – Daniel Abraham, Tommy Patterson (Bantam)

Every so often I come up against a review that is incredibly difficult to write and for any number of reasons;  a negative reading experience, trying to temper my positive feelings and be objective, really should be doing something far more productive… You know how it is.
I’d actually read this volume a couple of years ago but wanted to go back and revisit it before I got started on the next two volumes which have only come out fairly recently. And here’s the thing, I found that my opinions on the book hadn’t actually changed at all in those two years. Not one little bit. See what I mean about this being a hard one to write?

I wanted something posted here though (because I’m a bit of a completist at heart when it comes to reviewing series all in one place, that is going to come back and haunt me…) so I’m going to sum up what I thought with a few handy quotes from my review way back in 2012. The whole review is Here if you want it. This post isn't so much a review as it is confirmation of what I already thought in the first place, a placeholder if you like… ;o)

What Abraham does then is to take the more important moments in the book, dress these up with some of the minor details and present this to the reader as a fait accompli. It’s an approach that worked very well as far as I was concerned. I felt like I was getting a clearly defined tale that worked very well within the parameters of the format. There may have been plenty missing but it didn’t feel like there was anything missing out and that was the main thing for me.

It was also interesting to see that Abraham was able to do this by taking the focus off individual characters and merging everything into one ongoing tale rather than the approach that Martin himself takes (with each chapter devoted to one particular character). Maybe I’ve been out of the ‘Reading ASOIAF Game’ a little too long but things seemed to flow much more smoothly here with a story that gradually unfolds rather than jumping to and fro across continents and even timelines.

I suspect that Tommy Patterson’s artwork will come to grow on me more as the series progresses. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, Patterson really brings the world of Westeros to life (aided and abetted by Ivan Nunes’ colours) but the facial expressions he lends to his characters don’t seem to back up the whole ‘gritty, harsh and Machiavellian’ thing that Martin wants his reader to be a part of. It feels like they’re all smiling at the most inopportune times!  It’s a small complaint though and I think that, as the story progresses, Patterson should be more than up to conveying some of the darker moments to come.

I was up for the long haul two years ago and that’s still very much the case now, look for proper reviews of the next two volumes soon.

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