After a long wait of nearly six years since the publication of A Feast for Crows
, the fifth book in George R.R. Martin's award-winning, best-selling A Song of Ice and Fire
series, A Dance with Dragons
was released in July 2011.
The entire A Song of Ice and Fire series has had a higher profile lately, especially since HBO started airing a mini-series called Game of Thrones
based on the first book, A Game of Thrones
. Their intention is to shoot each season of the series roughly based on each book in the series. Peter Dinklage
won a very important Emmy award (Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series) for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister, one of the fan's favorite characters.
A Dance with Dragons
was reviewed by all the major papers of record (Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Time
) as well as the usual suspects of media outlets online, generally positively. Among fans, however, the reviews are somewhat mixed, with the feeling that the latest book is closer to A Feast for Crows
A Storm of Swords.
To me, that's to be expected because the timeline of events that occurred in A Feast for Crows
occupy about half of the book in A Dance with Dragons
, happily told from the perspective of the fan's favorite characters. The problem with this is that not much progress was made on the huge, series-spanning plots like: Daenerys' march to Westeros from Essos, John Snow's attempts to maintain the Wall against the invasion of Creatures of the Frozen North, Bran Stark's destiny to actualize his magical talents and whether the Iron Throne will be controlled by someone who actually deserves the power and cherishes the people they rule, just to name a few. (By some counts, there were around 11 central plots covered in just this book).
On extended reflection, I think my overall evaluation of the book is closer to the official reviewer' than the fans'. I've only read A Dance with Dragons
once, but I would still rank it as the second best book of the series, behind the impressive A Storm of Swords
which is still the best of the bunch with A Dance with Dragons
close behind, followed by A Clash of Kings
and A Game of Thrones
(the less said about A Feast for Crows
, the better).
I had the good fortune of only starting to read the series in 2011, so I have not had to experience the half-decade long wait for the next installment in the series. Sadly, now that I have caught up with Martin's production schedule, I will have to comfort myself during the long wait for Book 6 (widely reported to be titled The Winds of Winter
) by re-reading the first five books and watching the excellent HBO television adaptations of the earlier books
(apparently each season of the series will be an adaptation of the corresponding book). Hopefully the next book will be out before the television series catches up with Martin!
Title: A Dance with Dragons.
George R.R. Martin.
July 12, 2011.
OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.917/4.0).