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Customer Review

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written tedium, 7 Oct. 2011
This review is from: A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5) (Hardcover)
Oh dear. Seven years for that?

This has become a very frustrating series. Having put into place a great plot, great setting, great characters you would have though the scene was set for Martin, undeniably a brilliant prose writer with a genius for twists, to really bring the bacon home. There were so many great plot arcs you could imagine coming up, Tyrion joining forces with Dany, dragons defending the Wall etc etc. None of these happen in this book and I don't think they ever will at the speed things are progressing. Not in our lifetimes anyway, and unless the Others send Martin back as a wight that means never.

OK, the good side:
The first couple of chapters are good. Building up to to the good stuff (you think). But then it keeps building up.. then drifting.. meandering.. snoring..
Its still very well written. One of the few authors who can make place description, characterization, dialogue and back story really come alive. But you still need a plot.
The Theon Greyjoy redemption. Probably the highlight of the book - which is also a reflection of its paucity frankly.
Thats it.

The bad stuff:

The title. You read that and thought "great, the dragons are coming to Westeros and they're going to fry Cersei's ass". Nope. Actual dragons barely figure in this book. Maybe he means Targaryens [sp?] ..

STOP KILLING YOUR BEST CHARACTERS, GEORGE! Ok, it was clever the first time back in GOT. Then a bit shocking that he did it again (Red Wedding etc). Now stop. Why waste hundreds of pages on building up a really good character than you know and root for and then just bump them off. Not even in some climactic showdown. The problem is you just stop caring about the characters after a while, because you know they're going to get it. I read that people liked Arya's story in this book (I don't by the way - kinda boring IMHO). Well don't get too excited. Cause come the next one, she's toast. Look at her surname. Remember the Stark Words: "We Are Toast".

The plot. Just like the last book, there isn't one really. Its just plate-spinning some of the characters plus a few new ones.
The biggest plot surprise is arrival of new Targaryens - I won't say how - and frankly its corny. Think Bobby Ewing in the shower.

If you go to writing school they teach you to plot out the book upfront, etc. I used to think it was cool that Martin clearly didn't do that. He was unpredictable but still turning out great stuff. Now I know why they teach that. Stuff needs to actually happen. You'd think in 1000 odd pages that something would. Call me old fashioned but at least some plot threads do actually need to be arcs not random meandering.

There are too many characters and odd bits of plot threads. That is partly why the book is so slow. Get rid of most - but NOT the good ones! Keep those and speed them up. So many characters are introduced and much time spent on them so that you think will become important to the plot. They almost never do. Brienne, Gendry, Ser Loras, The Hound, Quentyn Martell, Asha, Sam etc , its a very long list over the course of five large books. Quite a lot of them he doesn't even bother to bump off, they just disappear from the story.

Victarion Greyjoy. This typifies the book. He starts off in his boat. By the end he's still in his boat, maybe 30 miles further on. Exciting huh.

Tyrion. Where the book starts to go wrong is when Tyrion meets Jorah Mormont. The thrust of the book is just lost then.
Cue yet another pointless meandering journey, where just when you think they might get somewhere meaningful, your hopes are dashed again. We've seen it with Arya (three books and counting so far spent trying to get back to Winterfell), Brienne (two books and counting spent trying to find Arya), Bran (well at least he finally got somewhere, I though he was going to end up at the North Pole).

Jaime. Blink and you missed it.

Davos. As per Jaime, which is a shame cause it was looking quite interesting. See you in 2020, Davos!

Stannis. All I can say is I hope Ramsay Snow's letter was true.

Jon Snow. A note arrives "theres been a big battle and this is what happened". Aaargh! We plodded through all that and when we get to the big battle at the end we get a 2 line summary! Remember that epic battle at Kings Landing chapter. Not here. I think the publishers told Martin to "just get it out there".

Dany. Please, just leave Meereen.
But who cares anyway? she's probably toast. Literally if Drogon has anything to do with it.

Sadly, Martin needs to put this series out its misery. which is a shame because it was brilliant. I vote that everyone (inc. dragons, the Others, R'hllor, Rickon, Pretty Pig etc) converges on The Wall for a massive punch up, or at least a snowball fight.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Oct 2011 03:20:37 BDT
Shane Murphy says:
Good review.
I'm personally hoping that the Russians accidentily nuke Westeros.

Posted on 12 Oct 2011 15:28:59 BDT
Melia says:
Love your review and the sarcasm you threw in, especially the new Stark words *g* And you have it all nailed down. I still have 60 pages left but because I stumbled upon a spoiler very early, I know what's going to happen and I simply don't understand it - not that I'm a big fan of Jon, he's always been a little too whiny for my taste. But if what I read about the ending is true, it just doesn't make much sense - unless you count in the prologue, I think there might be a bigger purpose behind that one.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Nov 2011 11:53:05 GMT
Alan Diamond says:
** SPOILER ALERT ** Hi, sorry, am new to this reviewing, didn't think about people replying. I guess you've read the last 60 pages by now and got your breath back from the excitement ;-). I don't know if we're allowed spoilers now, given that this isn't a review anymore, but you're right, I think the future for Jon is maybe more interesting that I thought at the time, which was "Oh, for crying out loud.. [but ruder] .. he's gone and done it again!" We all continually make the mistake of thinking that George has actually planned some of this out, but there do seem to be two interesting possibilities apart from the obvious toast situation (or miraculous recovery, but I think we can rule that out). Either he could become a "good" wight - like Catyln Stark or the guy who was leading Bran - or he could join his spirit up with Ghost like the warg in the prologue, which is what you're implying, I presume. I think the latter would work better and is more likely to be what George goes for. However, sadly, I no longer believe that will lead on to anything meaningful, like going to help Bran or something. I suspect that Jon/Ghost will just be left meandering about in the woods of Westeros for next few thousand pages, probably with a vague intention of rounding up the remaining Stark direwolves into some kind of pack. Much like Catlyn Stark, actually, I think George will run out of ideas of what to do with him and he'll be quietly forgotten.
But, you know, I have a feeling that there won't be any more books after the (justfied) caning he's taken on this one. He will probably continue with the TV show for a bit until HBO get bored. Meanwhile, I'm thinking of writing a comedy review/post called "If GRRM had written The Hobbit" ..

Posted on 28 Jul 2012 18:13:41 BDT
hamza_tm says:
You mate, have it down to a tee :)

The amount of frustration this book caused me, just ploughing through and waiting for something to actually happen, and then nothing does. I eventually started hating some of the best characters, and holy bejeezus I can't BELIEVE Dany hasn't blinkin' moved or done ANYTHING after 1000 pages of drivel..

And I second that vote!!
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