Author: George R.R. Martin
First Published: 2011
Page Count: 959
Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Note: Book 5 of A Song of Ice and Fire series
After a disappointing 4th book, Martin steers readers back on track with another fine addition to his riveting series.
*Familiar faces take center stage once again *Broader look at the setting and its inhabitants *Cliffhanger chapter endings and another sucker punch finale
*Dare I say, none?
“The gods are blind. And men see only what they wish.” Where the fires of war had once raged across the fictional world of Westeros, a bitter chill creeps through the seven kingdoms. Even this icy reminder of the dark season to come is not enough to draw highborn lords, tradesmen, wandering children, and the protectors of the realm from the trials that present themselves. There are still plenty of players in the game of thrones, and each competitor strives for power. But with the scent of death still thick in the air, winning a throne means more than just dominance; it means survival.
From start to finish, fans of Martin’s thrilling A Song of Ice and Fire series can expect the type of storytelling that made us fall in love with Westeros from the beginning in A Dance With Dragons. Nearly all the major characters have returned (as I had fervently hoped) and they each have an unusually unique path for the reader to follow. In every corner of Westeros, there is a character hard-pressed to see out their journey. With so many characters in so many different parts of the realm, Martin succeeds in giving the reader a sense of completeness that was severely lacking in the last book. I didn’t feel as if I was chained to one part of the kingdom, straining to catch a glimpse of what was happening to the other characters of Westeros and the story I wanted to read.
As far as negatives go, I couldn’t think of any true problems with the book. I could have complained about the hefty weight of this book, which made traveling with it a work out. Or how difficult it was to face another 900 page book after powering through the whole series this summer. But those struggles were nothing compared to the solid plot and the shocking close that readers know Martin is capable of from the first three books. And anything less than 500 pages would have undoubtedly been a disappointment after many fans had waited almost five years for the latest installment. So without trying to gush about this book and after much thought, I found no true problem with this book.
I was fully satisfied with this new addition to the series and at the end the only thing that I desired was the next book. This series hijacked my summer reading plans and just like that, it has come to an end. After each book was finished I had another to turn to, but I have finally caught up with the series. I waited for this book with a mixture of fear and excitement. On the one hand, it was all that I had hoped for in a sequel but on the other, I realize that I will now be in a perpetual state of pause. This book was fantastic but I don’t need to look into the flames of R’hllor to know that there are many days of dizzying anticipation ahead until the next book is released. A Dance with Dragons is, as the powerful sea lord Victarion would say, “a poisoned gift.”
*TV Adaptation: (Game of Thrones Season 5 HBO 2015)