Monday, January 20, 2014

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

Title: A Dance with Dragons
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire Book 5
Author: George R.R. Martin
Published: Bantam, 2012

Now that's more like it! The feels in this book were so incredibly overwhelming that I almost turned into the Incredible Hulk and ripped the book into pieces but I was ejoying it too much to sacrifice it to my feels. 

A Dance with Dragons is the fifth and most recent book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R Martin. You may know it better by the name of the HBO series Game of Thrones that is based on these books. If you haven't read by reviews of Book 3 and Book 4 check  them out first. Now, on with the show...

First things first, I was incredibly pleased by the fact that everything lacking in A Feast for Crows was back in A Dance with Dragons, and I don't just mean the characters. But yes, some of my favorite characters were back in A Dance with Dragons. Tyrion is back and being sarcastic and witty, Daenerys is back with her dragons trying to be a queen, Jon Snow is back and trying to be a leader, and Bran is back searching for the magic beyond the wall. At the beginning of this book it was like catching up with old friends. I'd say that the first few chapters were GRRM's way of apologizing for making us go that long without some of our favorite characters but he doesn't care that much about our feelings. 

But what I had missed more than the characters in A Feast for Crows was the magic. In this book it is back and taken to a whole new level. The dragons are almost full grown and wreaking havoc, Bran is learning from and about some of the mythical elements of Westeros which makes his chapters incredibly compelling, and the red priestess Melisandre is back and using her fires to predict the future of this land and this series. We even get a Melisandre chapter that made my head spin with excitement and theories about how the series will end. This book is full of mystery and so many questions that every chapter made me think and feel something different. And unlike A Feast for Crows, none of the best elements of the story were missing. We had the magic back but we also have the action and political intrigue. There were enough battles, death, and destruction in this book to satisfy my urge for violence and there was also enough sex and tawdry moments to satisfy that aspect of the series.

But the best part for me is the political intrigue. We of course get a few new and interesting characters who are playing the game including Quentyn Martell (you know I love the Martells) who is trying to marry Dany to help her take back her kingdom and a character whose story added an incredible wrinkle and twist in the plot.Then there are our old favorites, many of whom are playing the "game of thrones" and were plotting how they or the person they support could take control of Westeros. But a lot of this book was these characters trying to prove that they deserve their power. Daenerys is struggling to learn how tobe a  queen and is honestly not very good at it. Jon is learning to be a leader and is developing into this strong and swoonworthy character that I am loving more and more as time goes on. He and many of the other characters continue their interesting and redemptive character arcs and things are really progressing in this book both with character development and plot development. This book is similar to A Feast for Crows where it seems like things are leading towards that thrilling conclusion of this epic series.

A Dance with Dragons is part 2 of what was supposed to be one book and this fact lead to a few problems with the pacing. It's not a perfect timeline and in this book we actually have to rehash some events and experiences that happened in A Feast for Crows but from different characters perspectives. It was very odd. The other problem that persisted from the previous books is that some of the storylines take a little too long to get interesting and these are the ones that we get tons of chapters from. I could have used a lot less of Tyrion who spent most of his time on a boat traveling around the free cities. I also could have done with a lot less Daenerys whose inability to rule was incredibly frustrating, but her story got interesting towards the end. I would have liked more Bran who has my favorite character development and storyline but only had three chapters. 

But the great thing about A Dance with Dragons is that we also were able to catch back up with some of our favorite characters. About two-thirds of the way through the book it arrives to a place in the timeline where we get a few chapters and get to learn what's happening to some favorite storylines including Jamie, Cersei, and Arya. I was so glad I didnt have to go a whole book without knowing what happened to them but it only delayed the inevitable and left me yearning for more of them. 

But this book was full of yearning. And by that I mean yearning for The Winds of Winter or book 6 on the series. There was so many twists and cliffhangers and so much excitement that I need the next book so bad and I need it ASAP! I need to know what happens to these characters and I need to know how this series will end because it is so good! 

I give A Dance with Dragons a 9 out 10 

If you've read this series let me know your thoughts. No seriously! I desperately want to talk to someone about their thoughts on this book and this series. Find me on twitter, send me an email, leave me a comment. Whatever it takes I really want to talk to someone about this series, share my theories, and hear yours! If you're looking for an epic fantast series check a Song of Ice and Fire out! Happy Reading!


  1. I am glad to hear that you liked this book! I am on one of the early chapters in which Tyrion is on a boat, and I keep getting distracted by other books. I will push ahead to better chapters! :)

    1. The Tyrion stuff is really boring in this book. It gets a little more interesting towards the middle and then boring again at the end. His chapters are only redeemed by his snarky comments.

      As usual things start to pick up a lot by the last third of the book. And there are tons of shocking "game-changing" moments that happen in this book so, yes, keep going!