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Showing 1-10 of 40 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 73 reviews
on January 3, 2014
The one thing that most stands out to me about this novel was the amazing job Martin did describing the music. I have never read something that made me want so badly to listen to the music. I very much wish the Nazgul were a real band because their music sounds incredible. The novel also did an excellent job of weaving in the tale of the 60's counter-culture movement. I learned a great deal from it and I consider myself reasonably well educated.

The story itself is an engaging tale of a man coming to grips with his past and who he has become interwoven with the story of good people doing great evil. It has a bit of magic/fantasy elements but is primarily a modern character based story that is well worth the read.
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on July 8, 2014
As a twenty something college kid, this book still appealed to me. I read through it at a pretty quick pace due mostly to Martin's style of writing. The main point of this review is to put in my two cents and say that this was an enjoyable read for someone who was not from the era that is its subject. Given, a brief review of the happenings of 1968 may help you grasp the historical references and their relevance to the plot. Ultimately the mix of rock music and horror makes it a rare treat in terms of theme. The characters are enjoyable but I don't feel like I know them very well at the book's end. I found the ending a little underwhelming and abrupt. I felt like the immediate plot was resolved in a very "Happily ever after" manner while the larger scale influence of the immediate plot's resolution on the world was left up in the air.
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on October 6, 2012
This starts off really good and then sort of meanders, but if you are a fan from the 60's or 70's it sort of makes you wonder what could've been with certain groups. I kept feeling that Led Zepplin or Kiss we're going to jump off the pages. not my genre but some good feelings about lets all get together and see where it will lead. kept me reading to see where it was all going. not the best George RR Martin but wanted to see what else it he had in the pipes before Game of Thrones. He has definitely gotten better in his story telling.
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on July 4, 2013
I like GRRM. I have read much/most of his catalog (not just the Song of Ice and Fire) and find this his least compelling stand alone. It is well written, but may simply be for an older crowd. The music and memories are from the late 60s-early 70s, about half a generation before me. If you are 50+ and enjoy paranormal fantasy, give it a go.
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on January 20, 2017
Two or three novels in one, all interesting but unfocused.
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on August 29, 2016
I have loved this story of a Rock & Roll Murder! Is it a murder mystery, ghost story, or both? Idk. I just love it! Full of high fantasy and rock & roll references. Great read!
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on December 6, 2016
this was a pretty good book. one of George's early ones. it was slow in parts, and kind of draggy, but I did enjoy it. just wouldn't read it again!
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on October 14, 2012
[vague spoilers]
Set in the 80s (when it was written) this novel is a sort of "rock-n-roll horror mystery", about a novelist (closely modeled on the author?) who has trouble meeting publisher's deadlines. Instead he decides to play detective, investigating the recent death of a slimy 60s promoter. He sets out on a road trip in which he digs up former 60s buddies, while investigating his prime suspects - the surviving members of "the Nazgul", a fictional-but-legendary band known for its dark, Satanic, Tolkien-themed imagery, broken up since the assassination of their lead singer. Meanwhile the hero begins to find himself plagued by dark visions of undead hordes, blood, fire, and human sacrifice (themes we also see echoed in his unfinished "Ice and Fire" meganovel).

It sounds interesting, but runs too long, with anticlimatic results. I advise reading quickly, letting the "road trip" aspect of the novel wash over you, and not wasting mental energy trying to solve the murder mystery.

This novel sold poorly, and the author blames it for nearly killing his writing career. But it is no worse, and perhaps somewhat better, than his two prior novels (DYING OF THE LIGHT & FEVRE DREAM). I like that the author seems to have emerged somewhat from the nihilistic funk that drove DYING OF THE LIGHT.

But a quest for moral meaning that idolizes the lost 60s can only lead to a silly, unconvincing, result. The dark apocalyptic imagery (the most powerful aspect of this novel) is ultimately brushed aside as shadows on the wall, except that the defense raised against them seems far more illusory. Here, ultimately, is a story where people indulge in drugs, self-indulgence, open relationships, and sex with underage groupies, and no-one makes any real sacrifices or faces any any real consequences.

Yes, I am also against the Vietnam war on moral grounds, but this volume fails to refute the suspicion that what the counterculture movement was mainly about self-indulgent cowards trying to get laid. The characters vaguely talk of "ideals", but one is never sure what they mean, especially since what is portrayed as a climactic moral victory (the refusal to commit a senseless murder) is really just a victory of rational calculation: "Oops, I just realized this murder won't achieve the result I want. I guess I won't do it then. Hooray for my ideals." The novelist hero has contempt for former associates who are "sellouts", but it is unclear what that means. Absent any evidence that he has lived a better life, this comes across as envy and sour grapes. Later in the story, lack of funds motivates him to accept employment with one he suspects may be the devil himself. Was that "selling out"? I have no clue.

The climax does make a striking point about dualism (with which I don't necessarily disagree). This may be of interest to his "Ice & Fire" fans, since that unfinished meganovel also has raised dualistic themes.
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on July 28, 2016
George RR Martin's gift with language and imagery bring his characters and worlds alive to the reader. So glad I read this book!
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on August 1, 2014
The best thing about The Armageddon Rag is that you get to see early George RR Martin and get a feel for how he's evolved as a writer. Some passages are really clumsy, almost embarrassing, and others hint at what he'll become. It's a quick read and fun for fans of Martin.
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