Christina’s Review: A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin

Christina’s Review: A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. MartinA Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
Published by Random House Publishing Group on 2011-07-12
Genres: Action & Adventure, Epic, Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction
Pages: 1051
Format: Paperback
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NOW THE ACCLAIMED HBO SERIES GAME OF THRONESDon’t miss the thrilling sneak peek of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Six, The Winds of WinterDubbed “the American Tolkien” by Time magazine, George R. R. Martin has earned international acclaim for his monumental cycle of epic fantasy. Now the #1 New York Times bestselling author delivers the fifth book in his landmark series—as both familiar faces and surprising new forces vie for a foothold in a fragmented empire.  A DANCE WITH DRAGONSA SONG OF ICE AND FIRE: BOOK FIVE 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.From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.Praise for A Dance with Dragons   “Filled with vividly rendered set pieces, unexpected turnings, assorted cliffhangers and moments of appalling cruelty, A Dance with Dragons is epic fantasy as it should be written: passionate, compelling, convincingly detailed and thoroughly imagined.”—The Washington Post   “Long live George Martin . . . a literary dervish, enthralled by complicated characters and vivid language, and bursting with the wild vision of the very best tale tellers.”—The New York Times   “One of the best series in the history of fantasy.”—Los Angeles Times From the Trade Paperback edition.

I have finally done it… I have caught up on the Song of Ice and Fire series and finished the fifth book. Now I can reward myself by watching seasons four and five of the TV series on HBO and eagerly wait until Martin releases the sixth book, pre-ordering it when possible and eagerly awaiting its arrival with everyone else. Until then, I wanted to try something different in my review of this book by highlighting my initial reactions broken up throughout the book approximately every 250 pages. Enjoy, and please share your reactions and thoughts as well:

Going into the book:

  • I was not totally thrilled with the fourth book. I enjoyed it, but I felt there was less action and suspense compared to the previous three books which I had come to expect. Entering the fifth book, I was hoping Martin would make up from this lack of action.
  • Book five started with the events that were happening beyond King’s Landing with characters who were not in the fourth book, including: Daenerys, Tyrion, Jon, as well as others in the north and far south.

Through page 250

  • Some of the early chapters, particularly those with Jon at the beginning, were repetitive to chapters from book four. There were a couple of cross-events and repeated dialogues, such as one conversation between Jon and Sam that was almost word-for-word from the fourth book. I am sure this was meant to show the overlap of the events between the two books to bring the reader back to the time at the start of the fourth book and the different interpretations of conversations. However, I felt this made the start of book five long and dragged out. I was hoping the rest of the book would not continue this way.

Through page 500

  • At this point of book five, I felt it was more eventful than book four. (YAY!)
  • There were some new character perspectives introduced whom we had not read before. (For example, there is a chapter from Melisandre’s view) While it was unique, there were almost too many new character perspectives introduced compared to before. Was this to show the complexity of the “game”?
  • On this same point, there were chapters that were not titled directly with the person’s name so the reader had to figure out who the characters were. This was similar to what I started seeing in the fourth book, however, I was not a fan of this design change from the first three books. It almost felt misleading… (examples early in the book included chapters titled: “The Merchant’s Man,” “Reek,” and “The Lost Lord.”

Through page 750

  • The time covered in book four catches up through the overlap of time in book five. I was so excited when I started reading about characters who were in book four again, particularly the chapters on Cersei and Arya, which I found most interesting.

Through the book’s end

  • There was definitely more suspense at the end of book five compared to book four. Some shocking deaths and “what will happen… Martin release book six now!” reactions… The twists could have been predictable, but I still did not expect them and was stuck with my nose glued to the book the last 100 pages in suspense.
  • I think Cersei chapters were still some of my favorite to read because I always expected something dramatic to happen and was not disappointed
  • I wish there was more on Bran in book five… he felt forgotten. Same for Jaime, although I am sure Martin will bring them back with a bang in book six (at least that is what I hope will happen!)

Now that I am caught up on the series, I am eagerly awaiting the release of the sixth book. Martin did a nice job ending the book with suspense… in fact, he did too well of a job, it’s not fair! Book five ended in the same style as book three, with suspense, unfair events, and death. Stick to the series, and get excited. I sense A LOT of suspense and a big turn of events coming in book six, The Winds of Winter. And o yeah… winter is coming.

pj - christina

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