Home > Literature, Reviews > Review of The Armageddon Rag by George R R Martin

Review of The Armageddon Rag by George R R Martin

Having enjoyed everything else I've read by Grr Martin I was looking forward to this, but it was a bit of a disappointment – which isn't to say it was a bad book (bad book! Dirty book! In your bed!), just not that good.

Novelist Sandy Blair is hired by his old magazine to write a piece about the Nazgûl. The Nazgûl were a legendary rock band from the sixties whose lead singer was shot dead on stage. Recently, on the anniversary of his death, the band's manager has been ritualistically killed in his home. So Sandy tries to find out who killed him and why.

The book doesn't really fit well into any particular category – it's part crime novel, part road trip, part horror story and a very large part nostalgia. The book's main flaws are its liberal spattering of pointless sections of text, like its endless reminiscing about how great the sixties were and its equally endless dream sequences. Sandy travels around the country hooking up with his old hippie chums and being harrassed by nightmares, and these parts of the novel just seemed very self-indulgent and didn't help further the plot. Even more annoying, I found, were the purple descriptions of the music: guitars scream and wail, drums and bass thunder apocalyptically, lyrics conclude with multiple exclamation marks.

On the other hand, Martin's characterisation was as good as anything else he's written – although it felt a little strange reading something set in the contemporary (nearly) real world. On the whole the writing's OK (apart from the aforementioned music descriptions), but he has a tendency in this book of stating the obvious – not just telling instead of showing, but sometimes telling what he's just shown. But it's readable. Just not brilliant.

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