Let me begin by saying I was as big a fan off this series as you could find. I considered it and the lord of the rings as the absolute best of fantasy. That is no longer the case. The 1st 3 books were incredible. I gave Martin a pass on book 4, but after reading a Dance I have little confidence in Martin being able to finish the series on a high note.
Technically the writing is great and on par with the other books. The dialogue is fantastic and the strength of the book. The problem is the plot. While it is extremely well written, It doesn't move the story along that far. It seems that Martin is trying to slow the story down rather than speed it up. As the story billed to its climax, Martin drops the ball. "Hey George, you already made your point. We know your not afraid to kill off major characters. In fact we now expect it."
As a fan of the series, I root for certain characters. If my favorite characters are killed off do I really care if some characters introduced in book 5 who I couldn't care less about are meant to be the heros?
Does every character who displays the slightest bit of honor need to die?
The Daenerys storyline is a mess. All of the sudden Martin has her making stupid decisions and of course all she can no longer control her pets. Because if she could, God forbid, she might get to Westeros before book 6.
Meanwhile, all the "Really Bad Guys" are doing well. Life's a beach for them. Drinking, hunting, whoring, and taking long walks through the city.
And How, after waiting 6 years do you leave the book with a cliffhanger ending? Do I really have to wait another 6 years to find out what happens in the Jon and Stanos storylines? "Even as disappointed as I am, George, I'm still going to buy book 6." Throw us a damn bone and give us a complete book.
I can only hope that Martin bring the "dead character" back in a similar way as Mrs. Stark. I'll keep my fingers crossed for, lets say 6 years.
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