Review: A Dance with Dragons

Hello World!

The fifth volume in the greatest epic work of the modern age. 

The future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance.

In the east, Daenerys, last scion of House Targaryen, her dragons grown to terrifying maturity, rules as queen of a city built on dust and death, beset by enemies.

Now that her whereabouts are known many are seeking Daenerys and her dragons.  Among them the dwarf, Tyrion Lannister, who has escaped King’s Landing with a price on his head, wrongfully condemned to death for the murder of his nephew, King Joffery.  But not before killing his hated father, Lord Tywin.

To the north lies the great Wall of ice and stone – a structure only as strong as those guarding it.  Eddard Stark’s bastard son Jon Snow has been elected the 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, but he has enemies both in the Watch and beyond the Wall, where the wildling armies are massing for an assault.

On all sides bitter conflicts are reigniting, played out by a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves.  The tides of destiny will inevitably lead to the greatest dance of all… “

Review: A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

I don’t really know what to say about ‘A Dance with Dragons’ other than that it was an amazing read.  As a newish fan, I had only been anticipating the book for a year, but still the wait was worth it.  For those that don’t know ‘A Dance with Dragons’ is the fifth book in the fantasy series ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’.  It centres around a lot of characters, spread out across the fictional world of the books, but focused mainly on a place called Westeros.  The fifth book continues the stories of the characters of the north – such as Jon Snow as he comes to terms with leading the Night’s Watch – and across the sea – such as Daenerys as she debates her honor as the Queen of Meereen.   It also follows the larger story of Westeros – the continuing war for power that involves almost everybody on some level.

 Oh, and ‘Winter is Coming’ has taken on a literal meaning, which leads to some of the most beautiful and engrossing description I have read in fantasy.   For instance ‘Under the snow lay grey ash and cinders, and here and there a blackened beam or a pile of bones adorned with scraps of skin and hair.  Icicles long as lances hung from the battlements and fringed the towers like an old man’s stiff white whiskers.  But inside the godswood, the ground remained unfrozen, and steam rose off the hot pools, as warm as baby’s breath’. (The Prince of Winterfell, p 486) Another line I loved, and noticed throughout the book was ‘The Night is dark and full of terrors’.   For me the book was very easy to read and really pulled me in from the beginning.   The quailty of the writing and development of the characters was something that I expected from the previous books, but I think it is fair to say that ‘A Dance with Dragons’ raised the standard yet again. Additionally, I enjoyed how the book changed my perception of certain characters such as Reek/Theon. I hated him before this book, but found myself skiping forward to read his chapters, and hoping against hope that somehow he would escape and survive.

In conclusion, I would say that anyone who is interested in fantasy should defo read ‘A Song of Ice of Fire’.  ‘A Dance with Dragons’ is a great read, though very long – it is 959 pages in hardback.  The only criticism that I can make is that certain POVs popped up too much with very little action happening to justify them.  However, I can see why in cases such as Daenerys, that this was neccessory for her development.   It is certainly worth the price of hardback books as it is extremely enjoyable – and as a fan of the series it offers some really big reveals that I don’t think should be missed.  Also, it sheds more light on past events, while creating more mysteries and and questions for the reader. 

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2 thoughts on “Review: A Dance with Dragons”

  1. I really do need to get back to this series. I left off with vol 3. One of the things that has drawn me to these books are the descriptions. He seems particularly good at describing winter scenes (I always get cold!) and creating tension.

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