Maddi Hausmann's Reviews > A Dance with Dragons

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
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Jul 16, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy
Read from July 13 to 15, 2011

We've waited six years for this book, the fifth in a now-projected seven book series. I have to say, the wait is worth it, even though Martin has once more found ways to torture both his characters and his readers. The writing continues to amaze me, both in terms of the sheer audacity of the number of plots, their interactions, the incredible array of cultures, histories, legends, myths, rumors, intrigues, politics, and religions he has created for this world. Oh, and let's not forget the characters themselves.

There are new characters we get to know, there are old ones returning, there are old ones who return and we get some of their POV for the first time.

Look, this is book V of a series, you aren't going to start with this one. You're going to go back to Book I (A Game of Thrones) and read it and the next three and then read this one (unless, like me, you've been waiting six years for this one). And if you've been waiting, I'm happy to tell you that unlike that Book of Set-Up _A Feast for Crows_, _A Dance with Dragons_ has all those characters you've been missing: Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, and Daenerys Targaryen. Plus plenty more, I wouldn't even want to give away the pleasure you'll take in who else turns up.

A few themes keep recurring in this volume: the curse of kinslaying, the wrongness of cannibalism, and the return of the dead, in more ways than one. There's a few things going on that make this more than the historical re-enactment it often felt like back in Game of Thrones; here not only be dragons but a number of other fantasy elements are popping up as well. But Martin knows better than to fall into the cliche of high fantasy Tolkien pastiche, and if anything defies those conventions more than ever.

Remember the Stark words? They have never been more true than in this volume. Martin had originally planned on skipping over five years and both books IV and V are the period he had planned on leapfrogging. I'm so glad he didn't, and I can't wait to see how he brings things to a conclusion for the numerous characters whose situations are still unresolved. Real life is messy, and this book is just as messy. Without giving any spoilers, I promise you'll be socked in the gut again. You'll also laugh, cry, cheer, cringe, and go through the range of reactions that these books bring out in us.

I'm going to be re-reading this soon... as soon as I reread books I, II, III and IV. And I'll be commenting on it on the fan site Tower of the Hand, which I also recommend to you.
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