Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Dance with Dragons - A Song of Ice and Fire #5 - George R.R. Martin

Release Date: July 12th 2011
Publisher: Bantam
Age Group: Adult

Pages: 1045
Format: Hardback 

Source: Bought
The future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance.

In the east, Daenerys, last scion of House Targaryen, her dragons grown to terrifying maturity, rules as queen of a city built on dust and death, beset by enemies.

Now that her whereabouts are known many are seeking Daenerys and her dragons. Among them the dwarf, Tyrion Lannister, who has escaped King’s Landing with a price on his head, wrongfully condemned to death for the murder of his nephew, King Joffrey. But not before killing his hated father, Lord Tywin.

To the north lies the great Wall of ice and stone – a structure only as strong as those guarding it. Eddard Stark's bastard son Jon Snow has been elected the 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, but he has enemies both in the Watch and beyond the Wall, where the wildling armies are massing for an assault.

On all sides bitter conflicts are reigniting, played out by a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves. The tides of destiny will inevitably lead to the greatest dance of all…

Although I have read many negative reviews about "A Dance with Dragons", I was more than satisfied with the fifth book in this spectacular series! But I understand the frustrations that many have, since most of the real fans had to wait seven years for the fifth book to be published. Fortunately I began this series later than most, so I bought the fifth book almost immediately after finishing the fourth book. Now I’m of course anxiously awaiting the next volume of A Song of Ice and Fire, for how long will it take for the sixth book "The Winds of Winter" to be released? And then I’m not even talking about the seventh book "A Dream of Spring".

In all the ways the fourth book disappointed me, "A Dance with Dragons" made up for it. The fourth book was tedious, without the fantastic plot twists. Everyone kept trading in the same spot, there was no forward movement. This book contains so much more action! I had to stop myself from screaming “WHHHAAAT?” a couple of times at the unveiling of some plot twists. (P.239, I was speechless!) I must admit, I was particularly pleased with the fate of Cersei throughout the book. Finally someone who ensured that she got what she deserved. And the response from Jamie was hilarious, fantastic!

So many things are changing in 'the Realm', unbelievable. There were also many new mysteries who made their way to the surface. Typical: questions have been answered, but there are 3 new questions taking its place. The fate of many (beloved) characters is a big question mark, so readers can longingly look forward to the next book. Although there are many changes, it is not chaotic. A big compliment to George R.R. Martin for writing such an amazing story, with so many aspects and such width but still managing to make it all clear and relatively easy to follow! Although all the names can be a bit complicated sometimes, it remains very clear who is where and what is exactly going on.

The major improvement in comparison to book four is very clear: each character has a goal and is working hard to achieve that goal. Some arrive at their destination, others are still underway, but this time it does not seem tedious. There are plenty of other things happening to hold your attention.

All in all I dare not say too much about the content and the plot. Everyone must have the opportunity to read the story in his own pace. So just an overall conclusion to finish: much better than book four, worth the wait, tension, mystery, secrets, revelations, strong pace!