Monday, December 2, 2013

Revew: A DANCE WITH DRAGONS by George R.R. Martin

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)The fifth volume in this magnum opus that is A Song of Ice and Fire reinstates Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and Tyrion Lannister as lead characters whose stories take place, for the better part, alongside those told in A FEAST FOR CROWS. Taking a step away from the bloody state of Kings Landing, A DANCE OF DRAGONS takes readers to the frozen and deadly cold winds of the Wall where Jon Snow is Lord Commander of the Nights Watch, and some other unruly guests. To the south of Westeros in the free city states of Slavers Bay, the promise of dragons is unleashed with unforeseen consequences. Daenerys is a Queen without a King in a land of dwindling food supply and murderous sellswords. Tyrion Lannister, much like the majority of the novel, finds himself far away from Kings Landing, battered and without his Lannister gold, his wits, the only thing keeping him from being little more than a circus act or source of entertainment for wild companies of men looking for a distraction from their bloody occupation.

There’s a host of lesser characters and some nice cameos but the sheer number did make the book hard to follow in parts - partly due to the breadth of storytelling and the well defined and complex narrative attributed to this deeply rich world GRRM has so painstakingly created. Each character means something, the deaths, trials, and tribulations all have a significant impact on the broader endgame which makes every chapter, every piece of dialogue, and every murderous action a must to savour and enjoy.

I read large chucks of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS deliberately slowly in order to take in as much as I could and I think this is essential for developing a full appreciation and understanding of what GRRM is trying to achieve with these books. It’s one long sweeping tale which encompasses every nook and cranny of Westeros’ past, present and future – from times of peace to warfare with secretary, sorcery, and the fantastical in-between and all around.

GRRM answered back to some suggestions he write THE WINDS OF WINTER faster, here’s what he had to say about that and a hint that A Song of Fire and Ice may span longer than the seven books he’s alluded to:

"It is great that so many people are eager for the next book and certainly these are the people who are paying my bills and allowing me to have a house across the street from my other house," he says. "But at the same time, sometimes I just wish they would stop pressuring me about it. It will be done when it's done. I'm working on it. I don't know what else I can say: I'm a slow writer, I've always been a slow writer, and these are gigantic books." (2013)

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  1. I have to get around to reading this eventually, but after the disappointment that was A Feast for Crows, I've had a hard time generating any enthusiasm.

  2. A fantastic fifth installment of the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. I have loved reading these five books. This series of books are now all in my Top Five favorites. I can only hope that Lord Martin sees fit to bestow gifts of early deliveries for the final two books in the series upon his leal and avid fans...

    If you have enjoyed the first four books as much as I did, this fifth one will not disappoint.

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