Dubbed the American Tolkien by Time magazine, George R. R. Martin has earned international acclaim for his monumental cycle of epic fantasy. Now the number-one New York Times best-selling 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.
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 3,000 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 Nights 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.
Enchanted? Check out the rest of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series.
©2011 George R.R. Martin (P)2011 Random House
"Martin has produced--is producing, since the series isn't over--the great fantasy epic of our era. ... his skill as a crafter of narrative exceeds that of almost any literary novelist writing today." (Lev Grossman, Time)
"Martin's love for sophisticated, deeply strange fantasy permeates Dance like a phantasmagorical fever dream…Martin seems poised in the last two books to bring home one of the best series in the history of fantasy." (Jeff Vandermeer, Los Angeles Times)
"Fans of A Song of Ice and Fire will surely think the wait was worth it. ... The great attraction of the story must lie in its panorama of a medieval kingdom: knights in armor, mercenary ‘sellswords,' tavern wenches, struggling and surviving inhabitants in all forms, from low to high." (Tom Shippey, Wall Street Journal)
I have loved this series from the beginning. Was so excited to listen until I heard Roy's performance, was very sad what they did to this book.
I think the narrator aged to much to do the female voices. Everyone sounded like an old man with the same tone of voice. I never knew who was talking in conversations, and rarely did you understand the end of sentences. Run-ons and same voices, very disappointed in the performance.
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.
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.
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.
all the fluff
to much drama
After audio reading all 5 books went back and reread the first 3 books a 2nd time.
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.
Nothing happens!! Forty some-odd hours of no real story progression. Its clear now that Martin is just dragging the story out to sell more books. I have listened to all of 'the song of ice and fire' series and i keep waiting for the epic war with the Others to happen and i never does. Really any battle or action would be great but this book is just people sitting around agonizing about what they should or shouldn't do. Then he'll just kill off a main character! Why have that story line span five books only to kill that person off in a meaningless manner?? It's official I will never read or listen to another book by Martin. Not that it will matter he wont have a book out for another ten years.
The Narration is horrid. Roy turns every female voice into a raspy old woman. It is borderline unbearable to listen to. Do your self a favor and just read the book if your really wanting to continue with the series. Save your credit for something that doesn't make you want to quit listing to audio books.
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.
Books are like air: I need them to live.
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.
First I would like to comment on the narrator. I didn't think John Lee was bad in the fourth book, as I have liked his reading from other books very much. That said, I did miss Roy Dotrice's very recognizable characters from the first three books. It is not in error that Roy Dotrice was recognized with a Guiness Record for his work on The Game of Thrones. I was at first very happy that he would be returning for the fifth book. I would like to point out that I started listening to these books just a few months ago and listened to all in quick succession. Therefore I am can very well say that the quality of the last books narration was underpar for Mr.Dotrice. Very familiar character voices were not familiar, male or female. Although Daenarys' voice for example is an oft remarked example of a voice that suffered.
Now for the story itself. I guess it was ok, but not on its own merits. It carries forward mainly because of the weight of all the previous books, especially, the first trilogy of books, so masterfully written. And although Martin's prose is unmatched, it just seemed like he got lost in this book, or maybe there was a lack of editorial control. No one would say Martin is shy to kill off his characters, but maybe he was when it would be time to kill off a few chapters in this book. In summary, the book is ok, but only because we want so badly to see what happens to the characters we connected to in the first books.
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