A Dance with Dragons by GRR Martin: Review

A Dance with Dragons by GRR Martin
Title: A Dance with Dragons
Author: GRR Martin
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: July 2011
Length: 1125  pages
Series: A Song of Ice & Fire (#5)
Audio or Book: Book
Reason for Discovery: Sword & Laser book club & HBO's A Game of Thrones

From GoodReads:
In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance — beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys's claim to Westeros forever.

Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone — a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.

A Dance with Dragons takes place during and soon after A Feast for Crows. A Dance with Dragons focuses predominately on Tyrion, Theon, Daenerys, Jon Snow, and a few other characters who are not main protagonists in A Feast for Crows. Most of the major characters are seen in A Dance with Dragons; however, not all of the characters are in this book.

Thank goodness that I finished this book. It is such a relief. I know some people who loved this book, but for me, I felt that it dragged a lot. Several of the characters spent their time either walking or hemming and hawing about their next step. I realize that in the real world these sorts of things happen (people need time to travel and people have a hard time making difficult decisions); however, it was pretty boring to read at times. Also, this book had a lot of sexual and physical violence. I dreaded turning the page and seeing a Theon chapter gracing the page. I found most of his chapters upsetting, and I didn't want to enter into his mind/world.

I must admit that I wished that Martin had shown us more of Arya who we know was going on awesome adventures instead of reading another chapter of Tyrion eating or Theon being threatened by the Boltons. Now that I am up-to-date with the main books (I am not reading the short stories or novellas for this series), I am even more secure in my belief that Martin has written himself into a corner and doesn't know how to get all of his characters to their end games. I am hoping that I am wrong though. I would like to see this series end in my lifetime. 

Wow, this review is a bit of a Debbie Downer. Although I had to slog my way through most of this book, the last few chapters were pretty cool. Martin knows how to end a book and leave his audience wanting more. I need to know what is happening with Arya, Dany, and Jon (and Jaime and Sansa, and Little Finger and...). Martin has been putting out sections of the next book online, so I am hoping that means that he is close to getting the next book out soon (or at least announcing the publication date).  

Overall, I enjoyed this book okay. I wish that I had the time to listen to the audio book for long periods of time (e.g., commuting and mindless work), because I think I would have enjoyed it more. I kept picking the book up for only a chapter or less at a time, and I think it ruined the pacing of the book. 

I give this book a 3 out of 5.

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