A Dance with Dragons

A Dance with Dragons is the fifth book in George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.  While I’m a fan of fantasy, I didn’t start reading this series until last year, well after it was released (the first book was released in 1996).  However, like many other fans of the series, I was a little upset when the fifth book had not been released, especially when the fourth book had a letter from Martin in the back of the book saying that he hoped A Dance with Dragons would be released in the next year (A Feast for Crows was released in 2005).  On with the review.

Book Stats

959 pages (hardcover, the book is over 1,000 pages, but the last 40 or so are appendices containing information on the various houses in the book, the story ends on page 959)

Fantasy

5th book of “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R.R. Martin, sequel to A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows.

Characters

Most of the characters in this book were viewpoint characters from the previous books, with a few additions who play smaller roles in the story.  The primary characters in this book who were also in the previous books are Daenerys, Tyrion, and Jon, with Bran’s storyline also progressing in this book.  As is fitting for the 5th book in a 7 book series, the characters are fairly well set in their personalities at this point, and don’t go through too much change, this book is more about moving the characters that we already know into their places for the later books.  The characters are all interesting and well written, but it also made the story seem to move very slowly to me.

Setting

As Martin has said about the series, the fourth book dealt mostly with the people in and around King’s Landing, while this book would deal with all of the characters away from King’s Landing.  The only setting really new to this book as opposed to the others is the city of Meereen, where Dany is.  The book also deals more with magic than the previous books, as well as Dany’s dragons growing up more than they had in the previous books.

Plot

This is in some ways a part of Martin’s writing style for these books, but the plot seemed to move very slowly to me.  The plot occurs mostly during the time of the last book, although extends beyond it towards the end, with characters from the fourth book appearing again.  There is a lot going on throughout this entire series, and this book extends everything that we’ve all loved from the previous books.  The continued battles between the major houses for the Throne of Westeros, Dany’s attempts to regain her rightful throne while seeking her army in the outer cities, and the worries of everything beyond the wall.  My complaint with the plot is that the parts of it are all very separate, and I’m wondering how everything is going to come together.

Enjoyment

The book was slow to me, I can understand it because it is towards the end of the series and Martin needs to get all of the characters where they need to be for the end of the series.  Also, it’s been a while since I read the other books, but this book seemed to have a lot of unnecessary info-dumping about the history of the world that I don’t remember it being as bad as it was in this book.  I did enjoy the book, and I’ll pick up the next one, but some part of this story needs to start resolving or the series is going to be a lot longer than even Martin thinks it’s going to be.

Overall Grade

I did enjoy the book, even though I thought it had it’s problems, specifically the plotting seemed slow to me.  I also have no idea how he is going to bring all of the loose story threads together at the end, but I’m all for reading the rest of the series.  However, if we have to wait another 6 years before the next book comes out it’s going to be very aggravating.

6/10

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