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A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and…

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5) (original 2011; edition 2011)

by George R.R. Martin

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8,352304371 (4.04)2 / 386
Title:A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5)
Authors:George R.R. Martin
Info:Bantam (2011), Hardcover, 1040 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Tags:read, fiction, borrowed, john

Work details

A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin (Author) (2011)

  1. 181
    Dune by Frank Herbert (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: Similarly concerned with the politics of power and survival.
  2. 171
    A Game Of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: It's the first in the series and all should be read.

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Showing 1-5 of 289 (next | show all)
As you can see from the "reading" time, this is a book I read and put down and picked up again, several times. I had to book it out of the library (as an ebook) 3 times!. Some parts I loved, some parts I felt, were just filling in time? Can't really put a finger on why I felt that but I am afraid that the tv series has dragged me away from the books as they have diverged so far. When I was keeping up the reading to where the tv series was it was fine and I wasn't so torn between the two types of media. But now.. they are like two different worlds and instead of complimenting each other they are clashing... badly. And now GRRM has announced his next book will be after the tc series has passed what we readers know.. I think I will stop reading.. Maybe at some later date I will come back and start from the beginning again AFTER they have stopped making the tv series :) In the meantime they will sit on my bookshelf smirking at me. I hate to be beaten! As that food guy says, in this case, "the BOOKS won" :) ( )
  Mecaza | Feb 10, 2016 |
I pre-ordered A Dance With Dragons and read all 957 pages (from prologue to epilogue, hardcover) in a week. Now I have mixed feelings. Some of the story was very satisfying, especially in regards to Tyrion and Bran. Some of it progressed slowly or stalled. Theon got served a heaping pile of justice, but it went on for too many chapters. Half of this novel follows minor characters through machinations that are only tangential to the overall plot, which made for a frustrating experience, despite the high quality of the writing. I was tempted to flip through pages to get back to a favorite character. My tolerance for over-description is very high, so my impatience worries me. If I was tempted to skip parts, I imagine that some readers will drop the series after this book.

The fourth and fifth books are actually one volume, a fact which in and of itself signals a slower pace. The new plot developments are interesting and well worth reading, but they're interspersed between myriad rich descriptions of palaces, dungeons, exotic feasts, and outlandish warriors. Otherworldly descriptions are part of the appeal of fantastic fiction, of course, yet they lose a bit of magic when they fail to propel the plot forward. Without story tension, the outlandish details become merely a list of curiosities.

The first three books in this series seem fast-paced because each chapter had a situational change, or value change. Each chapter ended with a new plot development. By contrast, A Dance With Dragons contains many chapters which only deliver new environmental details without new plot developments. These areas could have been reduced. Several chapters contained a single new character insight or plot development, which could have been boiled down to a paragraph of exposition or dialogue. This is especially true for the scenes taking place in the land of Dorne, and to a lesser extent, the Greyjoy fleet, the city of Meereen, and the Dreadfort/Winterfell. I don't think it was necessary to go into the point of view of Areo Hotah or Arys Oakheart at all.

The names of minor characters are overwhelming in some places, particularly in the Daenerys chapters. While the complexity of her political situation is admirably realistic, the names are tedious and hard to remember. Instead of listing every noble family in Meereen, only the most important one should have been mentioned, with the rest summed up as "noble families." The same would be true for various sell-sword companies. Most readers will have enough trouble distinguishing between the Second Sons, the Brazen Beasts, and the Golden Company, let alone remembering the names of multiple officers in each one.

I get the uncomfortable sense that George R.R. Martin is losing focus on his epic, shying away from the meat of the overarching story, either out of fear that he won't be able to give it a satisfying wrap-up, or because he's reveling in the rich environment and losing his path in his own creativity. If the plot spins out of control, buried beneath the weight of subplots, some readers might shrug and say "it's impossible to control an epic." Other blockbuster and best-selling epics have ended in disappointment. The Star Wars movie franchise took a nosedive, and many readers would agree that the same tragedy befell the Wheel of Time series and the Dark Tower series.

I think it's possible for the next Song of Ice and Fire book to match the stride of the first three. As a writer of an epic series (five books completed so far), I understand the temptation to discover and explore new details within my created universe. Creation is fun. It's addictive. Self-editing, on the other hand, is a painful and difficult chore. Creators want to share every detail of their invention, and set out to impress their audience ... but sometimes readers are bored by a scene that the author found absolutely riveting. This is when objective criticism becomes essential. Right now, I feel fortunate to have two "neo-pro" advantages. One is that I can get objective criticism. The other is that I don't have to rush through edits due to deadline pressures from a publishing house. I keep wondering what obstacles George R.R. Martin is facing, in regards to critiques and deadline expectations.

Anyway, I'm hooked on this series, and rooting for the sympathetic characters who've managed to survive so many battles and treacheries. In a dark world where the strong rule and the meek get slaughtered, one can't help but admire Tyrion the dwarf, Bran the cripple, Sam the coward, and ugly Brienne. Then there's Daenerys, whose brother sold her into slavery, and Arya, who believes herself an orphan among foreigners, and Jon Snow, who believes himself unwanted by the family who raised him. These characters are far more complex and compelling than the typical heroes of epic fantasy. George R.R. Martin has a formidable talent for creating unique characters, and a knack for setting up dire situations and then twisting the plot in surprising, unpredictable ways.

The first three books had me on the edge of my seat, turning pages. These latest two books are a comfortable return to the world where wights walk and familial schisms lead to global warfare, and they might be connective tissue to an awe-inspiring grand finale. The first book has practically become a modern classic and inspired a popular HBO miniseries. If this series ends as strongly as it began, it will earn a place among classics, worthy of study and influential on western culture.

This review was originally published on my blog, with in-depth analysis and copious spoilers. ( )
  Abby_Goldsmith | Feb 10, 2016 |
Better - glad to get my favourite characters back, though quite why he thought the geographical divide was a good idea is beyond me. It would have been far better to split them chronologically. And again, no major event. ( )
  ellohull | Feb 10, 2016 |
I'd give an extra star if I could!
I felt that the last book was a little meandering, but with this one Martin is back on track and heading toward the finish line!
Absorbing, engrossing, and makes-you-miss-your-bus-stop-'cause-people-are-getting-executed good!
I just hope it's not another 7 years 'til the next one, 'cause I'm gonna be suffering until then. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
love love love this series and can't wait for book 6 ( )
  Claudia.Anderson | Feb 7, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 289 (next | show all)
It's terrible. Martin has taken the concept of the pot-boiler to an extreme — it's a novel where nothing happens other than continual seething, roiling turmoil. He whipsaws the reader through a dozen different, complex story lines where characters struggle to survive in a world wrecked by civil war — one other problem is that I'd hit a chapter about some minor character from the previous four books, and struggled to remember who the heck this person is, and why I'm supposed to care — and again, nothing is resolved. Well, not quite: major characters are brutally killed, if they're male, and graphically and degradingly humiliated into irrelevance if they're female. I guess that's a resolution, all right — perhaps the last book will be a lovingly detailed description of a graveyard, draped with naked women mourning?
added by jimroberts | editPharyngula, PZ Myers (Jul 28, 2011)
Martin remains boundlessly creative, sketching out intricately realized new civilizations, societies, religions, and factions on one continent while continuing to complicate the established political agendas on another. No part of his world ever feels like an afterthought or an easy fantasy cliché.
Even so, “A Dance With Dragons,” for its bounty of adventure, is more about Mr. Martin marshaling his forces in anticipation of the cycle’s final two books.
Was "A Dance With Dragons" worth the six-year wait? Absolutely.

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Martin, George R. R.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Norey, VirginiaHeraldic Crestssecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dotrice, RoyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rostant, LarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, Jeffery L.Endpaper and interior maps bysecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Ce volume est pour mes fans

pour Lodey, Trebla, Stego, Pod,
Caress, Yags, X-Ray et Mr. X,
Kate, Chataya, Mormont, Mich,
Jamie, Vanessa, Ro,
pour Stubby, Louise, Agravaine,
Wert, Malt, Jo,
Mouse, Telisiane, Blackfyre,
Bronn Stone, Coyote's Daughter
et le reste des cinglés et des folles furieuses de
la Confrérie sans Bannières

pour les sorciers de mon site web
Elio et Linda, seigneurs de Westeros,
Winter et Fabio de WIC,
et Gibbs de Dragonstone, à l'origine de tout

pour les hommes et les femmes d'Asshai en Espagne
qui nous ont chanté un ours et une gente damoiselle
et les fabuleux fans d'Italie
qui m'ont tant donné de vin

pour mes lecteurs de Finlande, Allemagne,
Brésil, Portugal, France et Pays-Bas
et tous les autres pays lointains
où vous attendiez cette danse

et pour tous les amis et les fans
qu'il me reste encore à rencontrer

Merci de votre patience
First words
The night was rank with the smell of man.
"Soon comes the pale mare, and after her the others. Kraken and dark flame, lion and griffin, the sun's son and the mummer's dragon. Trust none of them. Remember the Undying. Beware the perfumed seneschal."
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies .... The man who never reads lives only one."
Women do not forget. Women do not forgive.
Give me priests who are fat and corrupt and cynical ... the sort who like to sit on soft satin cushions, nibble sweetmeats, and diddle little boys. It's the ones who believe in gods who make the trouble.
There are ghosts in Winterfell. And I am one of them.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Information from the Catalan Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Little plot progress
Dragons? Dany? Others? Imp?
Do nothing at all

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553801473, Hardcover)

In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance once again--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 three times three thousand enemies, and many have set out to find her. Yet, as they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

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 yet. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

And from all corners, bitter conflicts soon 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. . . .

Dubbed “the American Tolkien” by Time magazine, George R. R. Martin has earned international acclaim for his monumental cycle of epic fantasy. Now the #1 New York Times bestselling author delivers the fifth book in his spellbinding landmark series--as both familiar faces and surprising new forces vie for a foothold in a fragmented empire.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:15 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

New threats emerge to endanger the future of the Seven Kingdoms, as Daenerys Targaryen, ruling in the East, fights off a multitude of enemies, while Jon Snow, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, faces his foes both in the Watch and beyond the great Wallof ice and stone.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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