Saturday, January 31, 2015

"A Dance With Dragons (ASoIaF #5)" by George R.R. Martin

This is the fifth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. For those of you who haven't read A Game of Thrones, (or haven't watched the tv series), there are unmarked spoilers for the first four books of the series in this review.

What kind of book do you expect from a famous author who has previously made your jaw drop, your eyes turn into water faucets, and your heart explode into three billion little bits of bloody nougat? Yep, you expect a lot. That's my problem with this book: I feel if it weren't by Mr. Martin, I'd give it four stars- the characters are awesome, if a little waffley, but the plot was... not.

I always expect the best from my favorite authors- in Mr. Martin's case, I've grown to expect the sun, the moon, all the stars, along with the rest of the Milky Way Galaxy. I only got the moon and the stars- the galaxy, the sun- they were absent. That is the best analogy I can come up with to describe my feelings with this book.

The Plot: (As Seen on Goodreads)
'In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance — beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.
'Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys's claim to Westeros forever.
'Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone — a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.'

My main disappointment with this book: Nothing much happens. That's not to say nothing happens, but it seems like there's a lot of machinations going on and not a lot of action, as compared with the other ASoIaF books. The problem is, in part, due to the splitting of the world- if we saw what A Feast for Crows had going on at the same time, it might've been a bit more thrilling. But then again, we have the issue of length- if Mr Martin had mashed the two together instead of splitting them apart, you'd have a book about 2000 pages long (a built-in workout for the hardcover reader). I think he was right to splice them as he did, but something still left me wanting when I read this book.

Also, there's an issue I have with the ending: once again, we're left wondering what precisely will happen in the next book (which won't be published in 2015, dammit!). I'd like very much to elaborate in a spoiler section, but my conscience will not allow the possibility of this book being spoiled for anyone else- I'm sure plenty of Goodreads reviews have mentioned the spoilers. Regardless, this book is guaranteed to make you grind your teeth when you reach the end, if only to realize the next book is at least a year's wait away.

A Dance with Dragons disappointed me, but my expectations were exceedingly high for this book (the title + Mr. Martin + the things that happened previously in the series = a major setup for my disappointment). Dany and her dragons may dance a merry jig, but it wasn't enough to sate the inner bloodthirsty reader within me. Nevertheless, I heartily recommend this book (and its series) to those who are brave enough to wait for Winter to come.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars for a great, if disappointing, series continuation.

Content: Ages 18+ for the usual Martin gambit.

Page Count: 1016 pages in my spare dumbbell hardcover edition.


  1. Yep, completely agree with you there. I feel like I waited for certain characters to meet, and certain other payoffs for the entire novel only to get... nothing. Didn't realise the next book was being released later this year though. That's exciting.

    1. Well, people speculated the sixth book was going to be released this year, but it actually isn't- Mr. Martin plans to cater towards his cable audience more than his readers, I guess. A Dance with Dragons could've been better, but I think he's (hopefully) setting up to the sixth book being mega-action-packed... or that's just what I hope.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Miriam!
      ~Litha Nelle


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