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

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

This is part two of this review. If you missed it, you can read part one here.

Earlier this month, I spoke of my rekindling love for G.R.R.M.’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. I know that many might or might not be like me, but A Dance With Dragons is what I would term as the renaissance of George Martin’s world.

The beauty of A Dance With Dragons is not that Mr. Martin has changed anything; it is that he has finally decided to carry out some kind of revolution with his story. It might not be a sprinting pace, but that is just George R. R. Martin’s style. He has a knack of letting you know that the world is moving and some of the things that have gone wrong or were simply ignored, were just all part of his plan to rile you up.

I mean how many of you were falling more in love with Dorne? Right from the moment that we met the Sand Viper, I was waiting to see Dorne take a bigger slice. We all know that the Wolf cannot be the only enemy to the Lion (no offence Lannister fans). I was really happy that Martin decided that the time had come for Dorne. The Viper’s daughters, the young daughter of the Prince are a class act and even Prince Oberyn with all his weaknesses is more than meets the eye. I cannot wait to see more of them, if we are lucky (you never know with G.R.R.M.), in The Winds of Winter.

Anyhow, another issue I had with the previous book was the constant and continued mention of the north remembering but not doing anything. What happens at White Harbor is one of the good things that I see in this book. It shows the realism that this series was so renowned for and had lost somewhere along the way. Seeing Davos Seaworth sent on a perilous task that has the potential to destroy everything House Bolton has done was brilliant.

That house is my new favorite villain in this series. They are traitors that used someone else to do their bidding. Ramsey and Roose Bolton are in a league of their own, but watching them prepare for war is out of this world. The coming battle between them and Stannis’ army is one of the things keeping me on my toes. Of course, the added fact that little Rickon is probably going to reappear is going to add even more tension. Wyman Manderly and Davos really do have something up their sleeves.

All the characters, or rather most of them, are brilliant in this book. I mean we get to see Cersei as weak and vulnerable, longing for Jamie; a knight that is on a mission to redeem his honor to the woman he betrayed, a woman who wants his blood and send the one person, I think (I repeat “I”) Jamie really respects and likes more than anyone else in the whole of Westeros.

There are many people in this book that you should look out for. Margery, the dragon prince, Aegon, Dany’s new husband, Hizdahr zo Loraq, Asha Greyjoy and even Reek. We all know this chap and I like how he grows and changes into a wonderful addition to ASoIaF. Believe me, you cannot help but start to love him.

However, there is one thing I find terribly off with A Dance With Dragons. Some might shout me down, kill me or even castigate me but it is a personal opinion. Whereas I like the magic that revolves round him, I find Bran Stark continuing to be more of the same. The narrative with him seems forced and aside from the one moment he speaks to Theon through the tree, he is, for lack of a better word, boring. But there are two books left so who knows? There might be something major planned for him.

The good points about this book are too many to list. The bad points are there because nothing can be perfect. One thousand pages worth of brilliance has tilted the balance from a series that turned boring and stifling, back into the great series it was in the first three books. And believe me, the most curious and interesting thing to do with this book is in its end…It will definitely leave you wanting more.

So, Mr. Martin, you had almost lost me (and countless others, I am sure), but now you have me back to where your very first book had me.



  1. Avatar James says:

    George has just put a new Winds of Winter extract on his website. It’s a while since I’ve read his stuff and:


    For anyone who has tried writing, Ice and Fire makes you gape in disbelief. Every word, every comma, is placed with absolute precision. Every sentence oozes mood and tone.

    I’m not an Ice and Fire junky and in fact I rarely read fantasy (more often SF and crime). Still, credit where it’s due:

    When it comes to precision (and detail and expansiveness and characters!) it’s probably impossible to find anything to compete with Ice and Fire*.

    (*Note: Fevre Dream had the characters and readability of Ice and Fire, but not the precision that makes the writing of the current books so very painstaking.)

  2. Avatar Khaldun says:

    @James. Agree completely. I believe GRRM is the best fantasy author to ever have written in terms of realism of character development and the ability to rouse real emotions in his readers.

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