Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin

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 Joffrey. 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…(from GoodReads)

I feel so accomplished that I am all caught up with this series! Five books and close to five thousand pages later, now I just have to wait a decade or so for the last two books (For those who don't know, Martin is notorious for taking a very long time to write).  So I have a few thoughts on A Dance With Dragons and I'd like to share them.

It's taken me awhile, but I think I'm finally immersed in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire. It helps a lot that I've started watching the tv show (which I love!) and I recognize the complexity and creativity of the world Martin has created. I do so like spending time in Westeros and the Free Cities and North of the Wall. This series is rich in characters, details, history and storylines.

My only problem is that I'm not the biggest fan of the writing. I've said this every time, but the books are too long. This is again an issue with A Dance With Dragons. It would be one thing if the 900+ pages were warranted due to the plot. But plot-wise, very little happens in this book. Many of the characters are stuck in their respective places (Jon at the Wall, Daenerys in Mereen, etc) and little is resolved. Every chapter shows each character going over the motions of their lives, without anything actually happening or changing. A Dance With Dragons is definitely a filler book.

Also, Martin has a lot of unnecessary description and narration. Sometimes I wished I had a red editing pen to cross things out that were not needed. Instead, I just skimmed those paragraphs and I didn't miss out on anything. With a finely edited book, that should not happen.

While I'm starting to love this world (and it really is magnificent), Martin needs a really good editor and then this book and future books could be great. I do want to know what happens so I'm looking forward to the next installment. Hopefully we won't have to wait six years.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from my brother.

 2011/Bantam/1017 pages

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