2012 Challenges, Books

Book 98: A Dance with Dragons – George R. R. Martin

Well I finally got bored with the series, but I’m glad I read them (and will finish the series as they are released). The action within the novel was fascinating and the stories only added to the complexity of the overall world, but I wasn’t wowed or taken by surprise this time and that’s how it has been for the past three novels (last two more so).

The boredom wasn’t from the book being any less interesting or its length, but more the fact that I’m no really surprised. The first two novels had entire sections which left me breathless and the last three have had moments where I approached breathlessness only to be left wanting, such as what happens to Lord Snow, the discovery of what happened to the Maid of Tarth, and Daenerys’ dragon escapade. But even these incidents came across as trite, or even repetitive, in comparison to the shocking and sometimes disheartening actions of A Game of Thrones.

However, I definitely don’t want to discount the story. Martin has created a world like none-other and has populated it with history, legends and beliefs. The characters and places come to life through his writing and you definitely experience emotions as you read the novels. In general the story is captivating and there are instances throughout the series which really require a stretch of the imagination to see them in your mind’s eye (like the sheer size of the Wall or the beauty of the ruined cities). I was glad to catch up with Tyrion and I thought the introduction of Griff was great (if some what of a blase way of creating more drama) and I was definitely glad to see what was happening at the Wall even if I wasn’t happy with what happened.

As mentioned in my post about A Feast of Crows I believe Martin made a mistake splitting the two novels geographically rather than sequentially. I hoped this novel would prove that wrong, but it didn’t. I spent the first 3/4 of the novel wondering when I would find out what happened in A Feast of Crows and the last quarter thinking well that was a long wait for very little revelation.

Perhaps I should have waited on reading this last novel but I HAD to know what happened and not finding out was definitely a disappointment. This book counts for the Tea and Books Reading Challenge and I am counting it for the Mount TBR Challenge as well.

Recommendation: Overall it was a good book – could’ve been shorter and definitely should not have been split, but if you’ve read the series keep chugging through. Hopefully he’ll return to the awesomeness of the first few and if not hopefully he can wrap up the series in an interesting way.

Opening Line: “The night was rank with the smell of man. The warg stopped beneath a tree and sniffed, his grey-brown fur dappled by shadow.”

Closing Line: “They were all around him, half a dozen of them, white-faced children with dark eyes, boys and girls together. And in their hands, the daggers.” (Whited out.)

Additional Quotes from A Dance with Dragons
“‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies,’ said Jojen. ‘The man who never reads lives only one.'” (452)

“Men live their lives trapped in an eternal present, between the mists of memory and the sea of shadow that is all we know of the days to come.” (458)

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12 thoughts on “Book 98: A Dance with Dragons – George R. R. Martin”

  1. if you ever get a chance read the dunk and egg stories/review the major characters on the fan wiki (http://awoiaf.westeros.org/) then give the whole series a second read through…this may sound absurd after just finishing aDwD but the plot is so much more enjoyable and easy to follow the second time around. you will be shocked/delighted at how much you missed during the first read…learning the characters names is difficult enough without trying to pick up on the finer plot points.. (my fav being the subtle mystery that is jon snows parents.)

    hope alls well geoff

    p.s. http://www.georgerrmartin.com/if-sample.html (a theon chapter from winds of winter)

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    1. Thanks Chris! I will definitely check out Dunk and Egg, I saw there were a few short stories but wasn’t sure which anthologies they were in. I’m definitely planning on re-reading them once the entire series is complete!

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    1. I hope so! I mean it was still a great addition, but I was just exhausted by the end and not because of the great story or the brilliant characters. I’m definitely planning on re-reading them after I read a series of short stories someone suggested. But that’ll be in a year or so.

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  2. I’ve readied myself for a bit of a slog on this one. I’m guessing (hoping) that he’s seen the errors in his ways and the series will return to its former epicness. Even when I’m reading about a new character that I’m not completely interested in, something about his writing still manages to draw me in, so I think it’ll still turn out to be a fun read for me. The year between reading the books will probably help that.

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    1. I definitely think the year will help out. It’s such a long and intense series that if you do what I did you really risk burning out and I think I did. His writing is definitely a high point and I think we all agree that hopefully he does return to the original formatting for the last few novels.

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  3. Have you ever considered reading the two books combined? Or suggesting newcomers to read the two books combined/interspersed?

    While trying to reread the series so far, I decided to try to find a way to combine the two books into one in a way that still kept the suspense and reveals intact and also made for a pleasent reading experience.

    That’s when I ran into this site: http://ballofbeasts.weebly.com

    They have a chapter lists that has been very compelling so far (and also offer a download of the combined ebook if you already own the two books).

    I’d definitely recommend a read.

    (I left the same post of your feast article too…)

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