If there's a chance in hell that I ever pick up another George R R Martin book it will be in another 10 years to see if anything has happened.
After waiting for so long to get the next installment in this series I was disappointed to read reviews on Amazon that said this part of the series was a standing still waste of a volume. And I saw a lot of reviews that said that. I'm a huge fan of this series so I got it anyway because I figured GRRM has basically done so well to this point that if this volume dropped in quality it was still probably going to be light years ahead of nearly all other fiction being written these days.
Boy was I wrong and those reviewers right. With the exception of Cercei not much progresses in this volume. Daenerys has become perhaps the weakest character of all in this volume. She has so many opportunities to make her move and regain her throne and whether or not she is successful doesn't matter to me anymore. In fact, I'm beginning to believe that Martin will never have her actually make her move. She is panning out to be a whining child that has no clue that she is nothing more than a weak pawn in foreign politics. Sad because she had become a really interesting character in the way she was able to be basically a cast off widow that by all measures should have been killed that forces her way to the top and become a legitimate force in the world. Now she's reduced to just a sniveling girl that for no reason what so ever doesn't want to go take back her throne. I know, I know, she's worried about all the people she has saved on this side of the world who will be victimized if she leaves, but then that too basically indicates that Martin was a false and unreliable narrator when he made her seem she has the kind of influence and power to leave her conquered cities and take her throne without needing to worry if the freed people could take care of themselves. In earlier volumes Martin would have in fact written that kind of character. Now I'm afraid he doesn't even know what he wants to do with the characters and the story.
Plus, this has become a story that has nothing but completely reprehensible characters. There are so few characters that are remotely likeable anymore that I really had to struggle to get through this. Just because you take a likeable character and brutally kill him or her does not mean that drama and tension is ramping up. It just means you're giving me less and less to like about the story. Especially when all the twisted and evil characters get right to the brink when they should be getting some punishment and then Martin always saves them and pulls them back so they can continue to romp through the story. This is not satisfactory. I've dropped other series because they've gone this same course and I really got close with this volume.
Also, there are so many characters being introduced that the whole story and what is happening is becoming completely muddled. This isn't a story about a civil war and an exiled queen trying to take back her throne. This has become an over indulgent exploration of a bunch of created cultures and their varying politics. I would honestly say that if 50% of the pages in this volume were missing the actual number of pages which advanced the story(ies) was over written by a factor of three.
I'm also different from other reviewers in that the narrator for Feast of Crows was bad. It was a bit of a system shock to hear a different voice but the story was still good enough that it didn't matter. However, when Dotrice started doing this weird, Scottish, Old Lady Troll voice for Dany I really wished the last narrator was back. It was especially odd because Dotrice didn't have her voice that way in the other volumes he read.
In the end this became very difficult to endure. I'll give the next one a go but if I don't see significant progression in the actual story rather than a bunch of (arguably) character development/exploration I will likely turn it off and never come back. That's how far down the quality of this volume came.
If John is truly dead (and I suspect so because there is no way he could have survived) I'm going to be convinced that Martin is really not that great a dramatist. Like I said earlier, if he thinks he's ramping up the drama by having the bad/evil characters constantly killing the good/likeable characters he's way off. All he's doing is making me not care at all about any of the characters. John was my last hope.
So now that I read back through this whole thing I realize I pretty much have no reason to check out the next volume. Not that it matters. It is getting so long between installments Martin will probably die before the next one comes out.
Roy Dotrice does only three voices in this series.
1) Old Irish Male (All Male voices)
2) Old Irish Female (All Female voices)
3) Leprechaun (Children)
The Narration is extremely frustrating and ruins the experience for me. One character to the next sounds as if they are 100 years old with strep throat. HBO did a fantastic job and this is such a departure. Don't waste your credits and buy the book instead.
I'm forcing myself to keep listening to a Dance With Dragons because I addicted to the series. Dotrice has destroyed my enjoyment by making all the women sound like old hags! Even when describing Dany as a beautiful, young girl....he manages to make her sound like a horrid old crone.
And way, way too many new characters introduced. And none that I can find an affinity for.
The other books and readings were wonderful but this one is just inexcusable.
Before I purchase another Dotrice Dragon book I'll wait to read reviews about the narration of book five....if there is a book five.
all the fluff
to much drama
After audio reading all 5 books went back and reread the first 3 books a 2nd time.
I love books!
Don't get me wrong, I'm an avid ASOIF fan and have read/listened to the series several times thus far. But this book 5 A Dance with Dragons was a bit boring, the characters disappointing, and nothing really getting resolved or moving along. If I would guess I would think that George was not quite sure where this series is going. Maybe his a bit preoccupied with graphic novels, short stories, TV show, etc. This book is just OK but when compared to the previous books in the series I was left wanting and empty. It is however a must read if you love the series but I would have felt equally filled with an abridged version of this one.
If the first three books were written in the same slogging drawn out style that books 4 and 5 have been written, this series would have flopped hard. I've read dozens of series that started getting poor reviews half way through and I really couldn't understand why. This is the first series (fantasy or otherwise) that I can honestly say has frustrated me to the point of quitting on it.
My opinion is that R.R. was more interested in his story and characters in 1-3. No character was safe from being neutralized or eliminated in this "game of thrones" being played but he did it with care and for the plots best interest. In 4-5 he seemed to go away from good plot and good writing to settle for the shocking, the crude, the gruesome, the sexually explicit, and random violence. Does he think that is why his books sold? How many times must I read the line "beads of water trickled down her breasts" for example? (Boring after the 5th time in a few hours of reading.) Yes all of that was in 1-3 but it was used as spice in a good plot, not the plot itself.
Yes R.R., I'm sure it is a lot of work and toil to create and continue this complex of a story. I'm sure you want to maximize your dollar out of this creation of yours and so have extended it out and watered it down with weak side stories. There has been little to no advance in the plot since the end of book 3. I think it is due to lack of effort, not the lack of places the story can move.
Finally, it is your story to do with what you will, but we the fans have invested time, money, and emotion into this series. It has promised quality in the first 3 books and you have taken advantage of our loyalty and commitment to finish this series by giving us 4-5 (which are clearly 'make-money' books). I'm sure life is real busy with offshoot endeavors that need not be mentioned here, but please return to what made you a loved and successful writer - care for your story as a whole and your readers.
I love this series of books, until now. Splitting the story into multiple books that are occurring on concurrent timelines is OK if the books are released at the same time. Waiting years to find out what is happening to the other characters sours the experience.
No, I would not recommend this book until at least the next book comes out. I think there must be at least 2 more books coming. One that is supposed to be concurrent with this one, and hopefully, one that ties the 2 books together. Reading this now is probably a waste of time.
I normally love having the same narrator for a series of books, but this narrator has arbitrarily changed the voices for the characters from earlier in the series. I hate his choices for this book. The continuity of voice and characterization are ruined.
No. This is a partial story, and I'd wait for the full story. I hope that's only a couple of years off, but I'm afraid that the HBO series is the focus, and it's years behind this book.
This has been a great series until falling into the muddle that is this production. This audio book should be redone to restore continuity with the previous books, but I doubt that will ever happen. The paperback version is a better choice.
This series just never ends. There's never a real closing to the books. They just lead to the next book. Characters die and new characters are introduced. And it just keeps going.
It seems as though Mr. Martin doesn't know how to write and ending so he just keeps writing. Will there ever be an ending? There was for me. If he decides to write a Book 6, I won't be reading/listening to it.
The narrative reading was excellent. The voices and dialog, not so much. I know it has to be difficult with all the different characters. And by the time he got to this book, who knows which character is which anymore?
His choice of voices for many characters was bizarre. He uses this old crone for the beautiful Dragon Queen and other inappropriate voices for many others that are all similar. I would rather he not try to do the odd impersonations and just change his infliction where needed. Extremely annoying to listen to him.
This series has jumped the shark. I think Martin never really had a solid structure for it and is just writing a soap opera now.