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)
G.R.R.M. continues to weave a tale that rivals The Silmarillion in complexity. As good as it gets for fantasy. Roy Dotrice is one of the best narrators I've heard also. It's a real shame that he probably won't live to see the end of the series.
This audiobook is entertaining in every aspect. The story, teamed with Roy's entertaining narrative,sweeps the listener away to George R.R. Martin's fantastical lands of A Song of Ice and Fire in a way that only an amazing story teller can. Pure entertainment!!!
First and foremost.... I am writing to Random House and getting them to seriously rethink the direction of the audio of book 6 when it comes out. Roy Dotrice....what in the 7 hells happened?? I just...can't believe my ears..the changing voices and the MUCH over used Irish/Scottish accent on almost every character really lives me cringing... Books 1-3 were masterpieces....It's such a shame and a baffling mystery how that could turn to the horrible job done in books 4 and 5... They all sound like leprechauns of various ages...I just had ignore it..but it was very distracting...I just hope that Random House Audio actually reviews the voices done for books 1-3 and has Roy re-enact those...
My take away from this book is 'characters that never meet their goals' Seriously, does anyone in Games of thrones actually succeed in their goals? While it's a very cynical but realistic writing style, it gets a bit frustrating. It becomes predictable at times, in that you know that 9/10 times if a character has a goal or idea in mind, it's going to go awry.
Also the sheer amount of character points of view in this book is staggering. While it features a lot of interesting scenarios it's often weighted down by just the fact of the amount of different takes. This I still feel is series' greatest strength and greatest weakness. Having such a wide and broad array of points of view means that we don't get much in the way of deep story progression. In fact a few story lines and characters are introduced, but they get lost in the shuffle 'playlist' of chapters. Like the Prince Aegon storyline I caught myself having to go back to re-read the first chapter where it is introduced, because it just is lost amid other, no offense, more interesting story lines. There is a lot of setting up in this book. As stated characters are introduced and given roles, and it's sure that these events will build up to something bigger later on. This is different that Book Four, where not a lot happened either, but it seemed more character building.
A Dance with Dragons is entertaining, I'll say that. I enjoyed the pacing, and story lines much more than Book Four. What I've found is that I enjoy the supporting characters actually more than the main ones. Theon's situation as reek is a surprising turn of events. A more interesting option than just killing him off which is Martin's forte. Seeing him in such a situation seemed like justice for his earlier crimes. But Martin really has a way of turning your initial emotions for a character. Vile disgust of Theon turned to pity of course. He pulled the same stunt for Jamie. We all start off hating Jamie and then by Book 4, Martin wants you to feel bad for him.
As stated before, the story doesn't really progress *too* far. Just keep in mind that this book takes place concurrently with Book 4. Martin seems to be placing his characters in key positions and setting the stage for the next book. Many characters are moved around, and the political climate of many area's changes. From the Wall, to Meeren, there is change in the political borders. And this is good. No enemies and allies will be stagnant.
One of my complaints about the book is the chapter naming scheme. This bothered me in the previous book as well. The chapters now have names such as "The Windblown", or "The queensguard"...I'm not a fan of this as it doesn't tell me who's narrating. In the first three books I could always look at the chapter list and know who the point of view character is. Instead, for nearly half of the chapters you have to actually go in and surmise who the P.O.V is.
I'm also really happy with Arya's storyline so far... Out of all the characters, she's the most "useless" so to speak, as of now she doesn't have much impact on the greater storyline, but she's my favorite character so I enjoy seeing all of her personalities... This continues in book 5. While her story doesn't have much impact on the grand scheme of things, it gives you a bit of a break, even though she only has like 2 chapters. ( Another thing that irks me...)
Lastly Daenerys....She was never one of my favorite characters...so now that she has book 5 almost dedicated to her, her story is really shoved in your face...Yes I get it...dragons...power... much fear. But book 5 should really be called A Dance with Daenerys. Her and her naivie self, create a somewhat annoying character to follow around. And her story quickly dissolves into what feels like a fantasy soap opera. While I don't mind her love triangle thing going, it feels like taking up nearly half the book to discuss who Daenerys is more in love with seems a bit much. Though of course this could be my male perspective. I enjoy the political chess game that is going on on the Lannister home-front.
On a positive note, we got some good backstory for likable characters, case in point Ser Barriston Selmy. He always stood out as one of my favored characters. One of the more chivalrous men in the Lannisters service. Martin has a way of playing into stereotypes a bit too much, so it's good to see his characters break the mold and throw you for a twist. Selmy is one of that characters. Good natured, and mild mannered. (means he's going to die xD)
This book also seemed to be a bit of 'payback' to the 'bad guys'. A lot of the people we came to hate or disapprove of from the first few books have the tables flipped in this book. Cersai's current story also is one such example. While I'm certain Martin will bring these characters back up on this dramatic roller coaster, it's good to see the 'bad guys' with their own set of problems. This is a fun book to read, that seems to be the set up of a bigger showdown. Certain house alliances are showing strain and other alliances are starting to form. There seems to be something coming ahead...
Especially at the Wall.... I did not see that ending coming....
They really rushed to get this book out, both the paper copy and audiobook. The narration was not rehearsed enough. Characters voices vary based on the chapter. And editing was non existant. Many words that would have never been used in previous books were used here. It's like modern dialect slipped in there instead of westerosi type of dialect. The only reason I finished it was because I had a hard drive time finishing the paper copy.
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