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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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    24,955
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    7,104
  • 3 Stars
    2,169
  • 2 Stars
    527
  • 1 Stars
    362

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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    20,583
  • 4 Stars
    6,330
  • 3 Stars
    2,858
  • 2 Stars
    849
  • 1 Stars
    621

Story

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    23,019
  • 4 Stars
    5,589
  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
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  • 1 Stars
    255
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  • Gloria
  • Crown Point, IN, United States
  • 05-19-12

Why, Roy? Why?

What did you like best about A Dance with Dragons? What did you like least?

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. <br/>And way, way too many new characters introduced. And none that I can find an affinity for.

If you’ve listened to books by George R. R. Martin before, how does this one compare?

The other books and readings were wonderful but this one is just inexcusable.

Would you be willing to try another one of Roy Dotrice’s performances?

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • qwavemi
  • LEAGUE CITY, TX, United States
  • 10-15-11

What was he doing for five years

A total disappointment. Verbose, boring, lacks direction, a poor excuse to take my money. I want a refund. Compared to the other three books this is a disaster of literary proportions.

27 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • jessica
  • Omaha, NE, United States
  • 07-14-11

Man of few voices

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.

112 of 129 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Written for a movie or TV

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

all the fluff

How did the narrator detract from the book?

to much drama

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

disappointment

Any additional comments?

After audio reading all 5 books went back and reread the first 3 books a 2nd time.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Reece
  • United States
  • 05-01-12

First three books put R.R. on the map...but...

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.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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SAVE YOUR CREDIT!

What disappointed you about A Dance with Dragons?

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.

How could the performance have been better?

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.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • William
  • Carlinville, IL, United States
  • 10-31-11

Was expecting more, a lot more...

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Julio
  • Boston, MA
  • 09-19-11

Too much setup, too much waiting.

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.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Sorry I started listening to this series

I enjoyed the first 2 books. Engaging characters, well written, great reader, fascinating world. But by this book I feel like I am walking the Bataan death march. All the characters I found engaging are dropping like flies. So many new characters and houses I have battle fatigue. On and on it goes and when will it end...and who will be left standing? I think the author is riding a money train to nowhere and I want to get off.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

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Horrible narration

This may actually be a good story, however the whining, mewling voices that the narrator has chosen for almost every character makes it impossible to listen to. I muscled through the first few books, but these voice choices have gotten more and more annoying, and in this book became rapidly intolerable: I could not even finish section one. My 3 year old whines less annoyingly than any of the characters in this narration: extremely painful to try to listen to.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful