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A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin – Review Part One

A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin – Review Part One
Book Name: A Dance with Dragons
Author: George R. R. Martin
Publisher(s): Bantam Spectra (US) Voyager Books (UK)
Formatt: Hardcover / Paperback / Audiobook / eBook
Genre(s): Epic Fantasy
Release Date: 2011

After years of making us wait, 2011 rolled into town and so did Mr. Martin’s long awaited book, number five in a planned seven book series. It is safe to say that many of you were patiently waiting with dread as to whether it would be more of the same crawling to useless strings in A Feast of Crows or just simply having that reader’s urge to get the book read and move on without any like for it; it had already threatened to become one of those series that drag on and lost a lot of people that originally loved it. I fell into the latter of those categories but now I fall into neither of them.

I was pleasantly surprised when it picked up the pace that its predecessor had dropped. Because of A Dance With Dragons, I find myself back on forums looking for any news as to when Winds of Winter is coming out. I have become that guy who read A Game of Thrones and just had to have the box set of all the books. It is safe to say George R. R. Martin saved his better works for this book and hopefully those that will follow it.

A Game of Thrones was amazing. After reading it the first time I started following everything about A Song of Ice and Fire. But then I read A Feast of Crows and my interest waned somewhat (I am not alone here; we are so many.) I found that George R. R. Martin was dillydallying. He was not getting to the point anymore. Then 2011…transformed everything for me. A Dance With Dragons is one of the books in the series that I will gladly read a fourth time.

This book is not for the faint of heart. At a staggering 1000 and something pages, you must have discipline that will keep you reading. But the plot and pacing was so good that I just sat down and could not help turning page after page with a growing smile on my face for the third time since I got the hardcover.

Having already killed off many of my favorite characters (shed a tear for Ned Stark and people I believe needed more time like Tywin and Robb); G.R.R.M. reminded me of why I actually love this series. He promoted characters I initially liked and characters I love with a fire as wild as the Red Woman’s god’s fires.

Tyrion Lannister and his clever dexterity of handling things is by far my favorite character in this entire book. The conversation he has with people opens your mind up to the possibility of a future alliance between Tyrion and my second favorite character in the book, Daeynerys.

Daeynerys not only manages to frustrate you, she goes ahead and annoys you to the point of wishing you could enter the wonderfully woven land of Martin (that is if you survive more than a few hours) and throttle her into remembering who she is. But then as you are starting to hate her, you also start to pity her; forced into marriage, forced to lock up your kids and having a fool attempt to woo you. Towards the end of this tome you finally see that the great heir of the dragons is finally awakening, making you giddy for the next book.

There are a number of characters in this book that you will hate to love and the Boltons take that trophy to me.


The joy of a potential of Stark vengeance will make many proud. The Stark survivors seem to be mustering (Beautiful Sansa in hiding, intelligent assassin trained Arya is hiding in the Free City of Braavos, Rickon is being sought out by Stannis’ Hand and Jon is being Jon) and the beauty is you cannot help but hope it is the time for their retribution on Bolton, Lannister and to an extent Baratheon.

End Spoilers

A Dance with Dragons goes on to show that Martin heard the voice of reason in many of his fans’ hearts. He seems to pick up the pace and at last you can finally see some of the answers to questions you may have been asking yourself for over a decade. His world seems to be returning to the glorious throne that it had once sat upon.

There are plenty of things to love about this book and there are plenty of things to hate too. But you will find that that is the beauty of George R. R. Martin’s writing. That is what makes this book seem more like the revival of an empire that had shown great cracks in the previous books. I can go on and on about this book without end but like I said it is over 1000 pages so I will cut my review short and finish it next time…

Part Two of this review will be posted here on March 30th, 2014.



  1. Avatar JARH says:

    I was suspecting that you would say that A Dance with Dragons was better than FEAST but still going nowhere, like I found, but OK, I can understand why some people think it is still good.

  2. Avatar Phil Norris says:

    Personally I felt more let down by ADwD than I did by AFfC. I did not have the long wait others did, I got into the books because of the HBO show and read all of them before ADwD came out, so for me the wait was only a few months. I think the hype killed it, I reviewed the book on my blog and likened it to the hype before the big United/City match where all the commentators predict a bloodbath and the best game you’ve ever seen. Only for it to be a 0-0 draw.

    It was a travelogue with Tyrion visiting interesting places drinking the wine and eating the food. But it was also a teen romance with Dany spending 95% of her time mooning over Daario instead of acting like a ruler.

    I did enjoy it as a whole, but Martin had painted himself into such a corner there was no way this book was going to be anything other than a bit of a mess.

  3. Avatar AngeloB says:

    I’m still 1/3 into de book but I can already say that I’m enjoying it very much. But I’m part of the group of people who enjoyed A Feast for Crows. I understand that some people are more goal oriented, so they can’t just enjoy the voyage. Probable the same people who annoy others asking “are we there yet?”. 🙂

  4. Avatar Samuel S. B. says:

    I agree with all of you, but at least the man picked up the snail’s pace at last.

  5. Avatar HJP says:

    A Dance with Dragons continues to garner a curious number of rave reviews. I don’t get it. I found it as dissapointing as A Feast for Crows (albeit still much better than most of what’s out there).

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