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)