Book Review: ADWD

A Dance with Dragons is the fifth book in George R.R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire series.  The series chronicles the political upheaval in Westeros, a fantastical world filled with swords, magic, and dragons.

I won’t be reviewing all Martin’s books in this series, though I have read them, but will just jump into the series with this one because that’s the latest one I’ve read.  Lazy?  Yes, but that is what you get. 😉

A word of warning: we have dragons here and spoilers, too.

In the much awaited A Dance with Dragons, Mr. Martin’s dedicated fans are updated on the whereabouts of several characters that were conspicuously missing from the fourth book of the series: A Feast for Crows.  In seventy-one (yes, that’s 71) chapters, Martin uses his best prose to write about…nothing.

Wait, wait, wait.  That’s not fair in the least!  There’s an entire wiki that will sort out all the stuff that happened in this book.  Which, I am glad exists because if you’ve picked up any of these babies in this series, you’ll know you need it.  There are over sixteen (yes, 16) POV (point of view) characters in this book, and each one demands your attention, but can easily get lost in the shuffles as there are even more POV characters that Mr. Martin manages to make you care about.

So, what happens in this book?

There was a lot of eating going on.  Between Daenerys Targaryen and Tyrion Lannister, I wasn’t too sure which one of ’em would eat the oddest thing.  But then the army that is following Stannis Baratheon upped those two by eating their own.

There’s some sexual intercourse that goes on.  There is always sex in Martin’s books, and it would seem Daenerys is getting most of it.  Though Asha Greyjoy had a particularly wonderful session with her lover before he got summarily killed.

A few characters (Quentyn Martell and his posse) actually saw some battle, though not much.

And Mr. Martin didn’t disappoint, managing to kill off the one character I totally fell in love with when I first picked up A Game of Thrones (the first in the series): Jon Snow.  But as some of his readers have come to realize, just because you’re dead doesn’t mean you’ll stay dead.  I suspect Jon Snow will make an appearance in one of the next two books The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.

We also got a glimpse of Arya and Bran Stark, two of the youngest of the scattered Stark family that I foresee will play major parts in the books to come.

Though Mr. Martin can be  guilty of waffling with the action in this book, the writing is absolutely superb and does not fail to entertain.  I am disappointed that for a book with dance and dragons in the title, we got only a small taste of Daenerys riding one.  Mr. Martin wrote a great scene, but it was far too little.  I’m hoping this is rectified in the next two books.

With all that said, if you are reading the series, and haven’t picked up A Dance with Dragons yet, I would.  Mr. Martin is setting up characters and events that are ripe for exploding.  The next two books I’m sure will be stunning, and you don’t want to miss out.  Just take your time with ADWD, and you will be rewarded, grasshopper.

 Very much worth the read.  Recommended.
(I’ve written a little more about this book over on my other blog.)

2 thoughts on “Book Review: ADWD

  1. Sounds interesting. I’m quite fussy about which fantasy I read but I would like to read this series. Certainly seems a lot more adult themed than LOTR.

    1. Yes, definitely more adult themed than LOTR. GRRM’s Ice and Fire series is R-rated with a bit of X-rated thrown in for good measure. I’m normally into that sort of thing, but he doesn’t do it for the sake of titillation or shock (though I’m sure some of it is). His story is raw and real. I haven’t seen the HBO series based on the books, but I will as soon as they come out on Netflix, though I fear that they will be too graphic for me. It is one thing to read about someone’s head getting sawed off, quite another to see it. But the characters are superbly gray in a harsh world. You can’t help but love a few of ’em for trying to survive and maybe do a little good.

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