The Dilemma of Buying Book 5

So, I told you some posts ago that I was re-reading The Game of Thrones saga, and a few weeks ago, I “finished” the series.  You also may remember my slight anger over the fact that Book 4 was NOT the final book, and further, that I mentioned skimming through quite a bit of reading, particularly in the last two books.

I have to say, I did the same exact thing, this time, and was still annoyed.

I decided to do a little research to see what lies ahead in the apparently never-really-a-final-book saga, with some slight expectation that I might splurge to buy the fifth (and sixth, I guess) book if I knew something good might come of it.

Well, it’s a few weeks later, and I still haven’t bought the next book.

“Why not?” you ask?

I read the reviews.

It seems that all of the things which annoyed me about the last two books not only annoyed many of the other reviewers, but apparently, there is more of that to come in the fifth book.  Now, I admit that I read book reviews with a very wary eye.  Even “professional” book reviews can have me scowling.  Non-professional reviews, however, can be pretty interesting.

While I immediately discount anyone who uses bad spelling, grammar, and an overabundance of exclamation points and stars, I alternatively give quite a bit of reading time to the reviewers who sound a lot like myself.  I give them more credit, to be truthful.  I was actually pleased to see so many others who had complained about the same exact things I had complained of; it made me feel a little validated.

I don’t know what kind of reader most folks are.  There is a cute little conversation in the movie “When Harry Met Sally” regarding the type of people who read the ending of a book before they’ve read anything else.  I used to be the type that kind of abhorred that idea, but was certainly guilty of skipping ahead in certain books because  I couldn’t stand the suspense of wondering whether a certain character was guilty/dead/etc.

I have strangely become one of those who is not bothered by knowing the ending of a book (or movie, for that matter).  Most times I actually savor the thrill of the unknown, and perhaps that’s a sign that the author is really doing a good job of keeping me occupied with every delicious detail of the current page.  I do not generally read ahead to the end of my books, but if I’ve read a spoiler, it will not likely prevent me from reading the book.  Remember, I’m the one who reads and re-reads her books multiple times.  I typically always know the ending in those.

As I was reading the reviews, I was hoping to find some spoilers.  I needed some spoilers, so I could determine whether I was going to invest my money and my time into the rest of the never ending saga.  Well, I got spoilers, and they sucked.  Most of them pretty much told me that I was in for another 800-900 pages of  skimming and being annoyed.  And, at the end of it, having to wait for yet another book to be published.

Now, I’m sure there are many of you who have nothing but admiration for the first four books, and I’m sure that if Mr. Martin ever read some of my musings, he would have a lot of not-nice things to say on the matter. However, I am not, as of yet, being lauded as a best-selling author with an HBO Original Series under my belt.

I can tell you something, though, about this series of books, and the fact that they may, indeed, be the true Never-Ending Story…. I will likely buy the fifth book, as will many others.  Even others who were ticked about the last two books of the first four.  I won’t buy it with a sense of anticipation and excitement.  I’ll buy it with a kind of resignation and dragging of mental feet, with the excuse that “I might as well see what happens…. I guess.”

And I’m thinking that THAT is the selling point for the rest of these 426 books yet to be published.  People are going to buy them because they’re willing to drudge through countless pages to find out if the character they loved in book one had a happy ending or is killed senselessly in a small insignificant chapter.

I’m guessing that this is not usually the game plan for publishers or agents; I’m guessing that sales figures are reflected somewhere down the line, and that they don’t say to their writers, “just write another 800 pages of whatever… keep stringing people along, they’ll buy, they’ll buy!!”

I wonder, though.  Because, of course, I’ll be buying.  But I’m definitely waiting until I can get it for the cheapest price possible.  Preferably for free, or in a library.  Sorry, George, but none of your hardcovers will ever be gracing my bookshelf.

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