A Dance of Cloaks - David Dalglish Giving this an average rating because I thought it was a pretty average book -- not bad, but not great either.

Right away, I sensed that Dalglish was attempting for a "Song of Ice and Fire" feel for this book. The title format as well certain phrases and names dropped as homages hinted at this, but he also states as much in his afterword.

This was both good and bad. On the one hand, I knew I was going to be in for some political intrigue; on the other, I also knew I was going to have to prepare myself for most of the characters I meet dying horribly and needlessly.

Turns out I was right on both accounts, but I was never engaged the same way with "A Dance of Cloaks" as I was with George R.R. Martin's "A Game of Thrones" and I think I know why. While Dalglish does a good job with his character and world building, he doesn't do enough. For example, when key characters died, the book succeeded in shocking me but where it failed was making me actually care, which is what I think is more important. It's hard to be affected when you don't feel any connection to the characters, and I wish Dalglish would have developed some of the secondary characters a bit more especially if he was going to have so many of them.

Speaking of shock-value, expect much violence. I saw it coming, and normally I wouldn't care, but I have a weakness for eyes and fingernails. Any time anything happens to those two body parts I get a little squeamish, and unfortunately for me, Dalglish seems to have a particular fixation for eye gouging and other eye-related torture and injuries.