If A Feast for Crows had me worried, then A Dance with Dragons justifies those concerns. Quite simply, it is my belief that the last two books have been a classic example of the publisher asking Martin to drag out the story as much as possible, in the hope of financial gain. If, however, Martin intended to write seven books before the publishers got their greedy hands into the mix, then I feel embarrassed for him.
The reason being that this book requires an awful lot of effort to finish. Gone are the gripping action scenarios, devious plots that had you biting fingernails in anticipation, and most importantly, the lack of feeling for any of the characters.
I could count the fingers on one hand how many times swords were drawn, whether in single combat or in an actual battle scene. Even when something was about to happen, the chapter ended, and the next time you read about it, its told from the lips of a character following the event, which takes away all the gripping anticipation that made us so fond of Martin's earlier books.
Of the plots, there are few and far between. Of those few which held out some promise, Martin writes a chapter or two about it and then no more. Of the characters and plots he chose to concentrate on....well to put it simply, they're boring, pointless, and predictable. Some of my favourite characters got little to no mention whilst others have become remarkably silly and annoying overnight. Others are assigned tasks halfway through the book, only to be unheard of again.
All of which leads to my last point which is that there is no feeling for the characters anymore. How many of us rushed out to buy A Clash of Kings, thinking that surely Ned Stark couldn't be dead and it was all some act. Why did you do that? Because you actually cared about the character. When Robb gets killed at the Red Wedding, did you not hate the Freys? Why, because Martin is a great writer and has a way of making you love and hate characters. Does he achieve the same in this book - not really. Quite frankly, I no longer care who lives and who dies, simply because I'm sick of reading about the characters thoughts and frustrations, yet those same characters don't do anything about it.
To sum up, and this is coming from a huge fan (but one that doesnt think the sun shines out of certain parts of Martin), this book is the worst of the lot. It will leave you frustrated and annoyed, especially if you've waited years to get your hands on it. Martin is a great writer, but the last two books suggest he has lost his way, and he'll have to pull off something remarkable with the next one, if this isn't to go the same way as a certain Wheel of Time series.
35 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?