A Dance With Dragons is the fifth and penultimate book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. It is a 1000+ page monster and took me about a month to read (especially because I took a long break from it to read three other books).
I have often struggled with Martin as an author. When the television series was first coming out I was working at Chapters who classifies this series as fantasy. At the time I was 18 and I was told several things about the series from customers and one of my coworkers: that I was to young to read it and that it’s a series that could be skipped because the writing is only so/so and there are better fantasy novels, respectively. I was a bit surprised by both these assertions and have come to the conclusion that one was correct, I could have skipped it. That being said I did really enjoy the first two novels, A Game of Thrones and A Clash of King’s, and read quickly in quick succession. The third book, A Storm of Swords, fell into that common hole that all third books struggle in (unless it’s a trilogy). The fourth, A Feast of Crows, because of it’s different narration, was lovely. The fifth, however, is another story.
I don’t know if it was because the fourth and fifth instalments were supposed to be only one book or not but the whole novel felt stale. There were several scenes that we had seen before and the new perceptive didn’t help them. Characters that I had before loved became laborious and boring.
All of the narrators were lonely and angsty. Most of them only had short appearences which didn’t give you enough information about them so you’re just left with questions. The whole novel is so discombobulated.
I feel like Martin made a big mistake when he split the fourth and fifth book the way he did. This would have worked SO much better if it had all just gone in chronological order because with the way it is we’re left with one book that was a lot of fun to read and felt like it was going places and another that just makes you wonder why he even bothered taking 10 years to write it.
I didn’t really like this book. It made me mark this series as a pass. Will I read The Winds of Winter when it comes out? Probably. Will it ever be published? I’m starting to doubt it.
I rated this book a 5 out of 10. It’s nothing special and it’s really long for the amount that happens. It was all a bit of a disappointment. If you haven’t read this novel yet but liked the others in the series I don’t think what I’ve said will stop you, but if you’re thinking of picking the series up just put it back because it’s definitely worth it to skip the books and just go with the show.