135 of 148 people found the following review helpful
winter is coming at a glacial pace,
This review is from: A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5) (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. In contrast characters like Bran, Davos, Cersei and Arya have very few chapters but they all contain moments of great importance for the characters and the overall plot. Basically I would have preferred that all the characters had been treated with a sharper editing knife as this may have made it possible to give the book a more satifying end.
Not to sound too negative though there are some brilliant moments in the book. The developments in the North and the story arc of "Reek" are the most complete in the book. "Reek's" chapters are particularly clever as there is a nice psychological arc in which even the chapter's titles play a part. Reek's chapters also highlight some of GRRM's strongest writing skills, which is writing about really horrible yet three dimensional antagonists. Jon's chapters are also very strong and his reaction to a similar scenario that Dany is facing makes for an interesting comparison. Bran's chapters introduce a whole new aspect to the story and gives GRRM a nifty new writing device that he uses in intersting ways in this book and I'm sure will develop further for the remainder of the series.
In conclusion, GRRM is still writing the premier fantasy series of the last couple of decades but ever since "A storm of swords", it feels like he has abandoned the idea of releasing books. This means that when/if the series ever concludes I'm sure I'll rate the whole thing highly. The problem is that it now feels like I'm receiving chunks of story every 5-10 years making it hard to give the latest book a perfect score. I'm also incredibly skeptical of the series wrapping up by book seven unless the remaing books become far more efficient, something which hasn't been witnessed in the last two books.
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Initial post: 15 Sep 2011 13:11:48 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Sep 2011 13:12:43 BDT
Gazza Esq says:
Very useful review - thanks. I have just purchased ADWD after finishing A Feast for Crows. I get the impression tha GRRM is "doing a Jordan" spinning the story into double digit volumes. A shame as he remains one of the best in the genre, but AFFC seemed to slow the pace and ignore some of the key characters from earlier books. Here's hoping that the series picks up speed otherwise I will have to start reading Book 1 again to refresh my memory !!
In reply to an earlier post on 10 Nov 2011 21:38:23 GMT
George M. Brittain says:
At the end of AFFC /martin states that he would have rather written a book with half the characters in but their full story for that part of the series. That all the characters with half of their story. Hence 2 parts and each part focuses on a selection of the characters. AFFC centred around kings landing and said characters, ADWD around the north. So he didn't really ignore the characters.
Posted on 26 Jan 2012 07:52:24 GMT
Helen Lamberton says:
BOOK SEVEN! Do I have to wait another 10 years before the story is finished!
They'll be popping the last book in my coffin.
Thank you for your review. It was ALL informative.
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