HBO’s hit series A GAME OF THRONES is based on George R. R. Martin’s internationally bestselling series A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age. A DANCE WITH DRAGONS is the fifth volume in the series.
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…
'In the grand epic fantasy tradition, Martin is by far the best … tense, surging, insomnia-inflicting'
‘An absorbing, exciting read … Martin’s style is so vivid that you will be hooked within a few pages’ The Times
‘The sheer mind-boggling scope of this epic has sent other fantasy writers away shaking their heads … Its ambition: to construct the Twelve Caesars of fantasy fiction, with characters so venomous they could eat the Borgias’
‘Colossal, staggering … Martin captures all the intoxicating complexity of the Wars of the Roses or Imperial Rome in his imaginary world … The writing is always powerful …' SFX
About the author
George R. R. Martin is the author of fourteen novels, including five volumes of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, several collections of short stories and numerous screen plays for television drama and feature films. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
A few images recur in the enormously complex fifth installment of Martin's massively multicharacter epic: the chess-like game cyvasse, small rivers flowing into larger ones, ships and armies battered by terrible storms. These themes suggest that readers should think strategically, be patient as the story grows, and brace for a beating. Martin's fans, however, are hungry for more action and purpose, their appetites whetted by a six-year wait and the recent HBO adaptation of A Game of Thrones. Dance was originally the second half of 2005's A Feast for Crows, sometimes criticized for shifting from battles and intrigue to slow trudges through war-torn, corpse-littered Westeros. The new volume has a similar feel to Feast and takes place over a similar time frame; Martin keeps it fresh by focusing on popular characters Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, and Jon Snow, all notably absent from the previous book. These three are generally thought the most plausible riders of the titular dragons, but plots within plots abound, and two strong new candidates for those scaly saddles emerge as a powerful enemy threatens Daenerys's captured city of Meereen, Tyrion is kidnapped by slavers, and treachery undermines Jon's command of the undead-battling Night's Watch. More characters are revived than killed off and more peace accords signed than wars declared, but the heart-hammering conclusion hints that the next installment will see a return to the fiery battles and icy terror that earned the series its fanatic following. Even ostensibly disillusioned fans will be caught up in the interweaving stories, especially when Martin drops little hints around long-debated questions such as Jon's parentage. Author tour.
Good, but not as Good
I've read all of A Song of Ice and Fire, and enjoyed each book, and will continue to read them for as long as Martin intends to write them, but there seems to be a lacking of conclusions. There seems to never be any climax to the books, but there still are surprises along the way. There's a new book out called The Word of the Gods - The Spirit of War, which is just as long but has more zest and action, and it includes a rather chaotic and exciting ending that will want you reading more, much like these books will. I would recommend it to anyone, but especially to those that are enthralled in epic fantasy like these ground-breaking books. Check it out, I'm glad I did!
Hoped for better
The pace and plotting that made A Game of Thrones so good has been abandoned and replaced a slow and repetitive structure. Some of the novel is a rehash of A Feast For Crows: one chapter was nearly the same word for word as a chapter from that previous book. Throughout the series many characters go on slow, ponderous journeys and never reach their destination, and that exactly what reading A Dance With Dragons feels like. All the most interesting characters have already been killed off and the series has lost it's way and is becoming a struggle to get through.
Also the formatting of the ebook is very poor. In sections of dialogue it is sometimes difficult to tell who is speaking, because a new paragraph is not started on change of speaker.
A Damp Squib
A cynic would say that this series has been padded out with unnecessary characters and pointless gory diversions to extend it from a passably good trilogy into an almost unbearably boring unending story. This series cannot by the wildest stretches of the imagination be compared to Tolkien whose exquisitely-crafted Lord of the Rings gave us morality with closure. A Game of Thrones was a good start but A Dance with Dragons is a drawn-out damp squib of a final book, final for me because I won't be reading another. All the most interesting characters are gone or warped - I simply don't care enough about the others to waste my time.