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A Dance with Dragons Audio Download – Unabridged

3.9 out of 5 stars 742 customer reviews

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Format: Hardcover
ADWD was a loooong time in the waiting, and since the previous book was a character-driven travelogue, it was generally believed that this would make up for it with plenty of action and plot resolution. Not so. This, like A Feast For Crows, is 1000 pages of scenic character study.

The characters travel about, and have immense conversations with other people. These conversations are fascinating, and you can see the characters develop (and not always for the best) as the book goes on. But action? Not that much. We have been invested with these amazing characters for 20 years now, so watching them develop is rewarding - but it seems to be at the expense of story momentum.

By the end, we're not much further along in plot than we were by the end of Book 3. But it's now starting to become apparent that GRRM's focus is on character first and foremost, and plot must fit in the small gaps whenever the character is allowed to plateau for awhile.

So the real standout storylines in this book are oddly, the ones with characters with the fewest chapters. Then, they have to be sharp, succinct, focused and dramatic. But the "Big Three" characters each get about a dozen chapters each, and as a result have bloated, fuzzy, rather impotent storylines, where they talk a lot and worry a good deal, and evolve or devolve as people, but don't get much further towards their respective goals.

A great many new characters are introduced, but oddly, are not detailed that well. An important new figure in Dany's storyline, Hizdahr, is sketched so vaguely that you never get a sense of him at all, and care even less. It seems GRRM is too fascinated by the Big Three to be much interested in the lesser roles.
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Format: Hardcover
I am, I admit, new to A Song of Ice and Fire. I watched the fantastic series made by HBO and, as soon as the pilot ended, I picked up the books and fell in love. The first three volumes of this series, as any reader will know, are a tour de force of fantasy. A wonderfully realised world populated by fantastic characters that are loved and loathed to a high degree. An entanglement of plots is lightly touched by an unnerving thread of dark magic that lingers in the background to remind us that 'winter is coming'. I read the series, including the slower, less satisfactory 'A Feast for Crows' three times whilst waiting those couple of months for 'Dance'. Then this doorstop was in my hands and I read it eagerly, expecting a return to 'A Storm of Swords' quality.

I, like so many others, was vastly disappointed. This novel sees the return of the 'protagonists' of the epic: Jon Snow (who still knows nothing), Daenerys Targaryen (who has looked back and is now facing the wrong direction) and everyone's favourite sarcastic dwarf Tyrion Lannister. However, these three fan favourites accomplish precisely one act of significance between them, and that is a vastly annoying cliffhanger-a now overused hallmark of Martin's writing.

Jon Snow, stuck on the wall, is struggling to hold several factions together in the face of the approaching war with the Others in the long winter (which is supposedly still on its way, despite no evidence of it in this book). There are interesting parallels with Daenerys, who is trying to rule a city of people and customs that are not her own and who would gladly see her dead. Both of these young leaders struggle in their tasks. Jon grows into his position as a leader with satisfying, if not entirely realistic, maturity.
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7 Comments 203 of 220 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
It's been quite the wait for the latest installment of G.R.R.Martin's (GRRM) A Song of Ice and fire series and during the wait there have been some very impressive new additions to the fantasy field (Abercrombie, Bakker, Lynch and Abraham). So I was interested to see whether the quality still holds up with the new competition. The first thing I have to say is that, yes it does. GRRM is still the master when it comes to his characterisation and world building and whenever he writes a key scene (and there are several) he will have you laughing, crying, dropping your jaw and cheering as it becomes etched in your memory.

So why is it missing a star? The book clocks in at almost 1000 pages and that's without taking into consideration that "A Feast for Crows" was the essentially the first "half" of this segment in the series. Despite all this room the book fails to reach any conclusions in practically every story strand. I wasn't expecting the whole series to wrap up but I do think the Meereen storyline at the very least should have reached some kind of conclusion. As it is the book ends leaving me with the feeling we still haven't had what feels like a story within a larger story. What makes this even more frustrating is that there are many chapters where not a lot really happens. I don't think so much time had to be spent on the fact Dany couldn't make a "good" decision and was obsessed with a new love interest. While Tyrion is always entertaining the majority of his chapters were like some hobbit version of the Odyssey. One character only ever got to travel throughout the whole book and Quentyn Martell could have appeared several chapters later without anything being lost. These things left me wondering why so much story was potentially wasted on them.
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3 Comments 151 of 165 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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