I’ve finally managed to finish reading the 5th book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, this being the lengthier by far. Fortunately, having started reading the series late, I was not placed in the same agonizing position as those Martin fans who had to wait around some 6 years for the next installment after A Feast for Crows.
Initially I found the read a bit disconcerting because you might remember that A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons was originally planned as one book, which Martin decided to split in two, which resulted in events in the latter segment occurring on the same timeline as events in the former, but as seen through the eyes of different characters. However, after this initial bit of unsettlement, the story comes nicely together again.
Briefly, A Dance with Dragons features episodes around the lives of John Snow of the Night’s Watch who is in the North at the Wall, Tyrion Lannister who after killing his father Tywin, escapes to the Free Cities, Daenerys Targaryen in the East and her travails in Meereen, Arya Stark who shows up in Braavos at a temple of the Faceless Men for some sort of training in the occult arts and assassination, Victarion Greyjoy’s journey to Slaver’s Bay en route to find Daenerys, Stannis Baratheon and Melisandre who pitch camp at the Wall, Cersei Lannister the bitch psuedo-queen in the South and Jaime Lannister who after returning to Kings landing, marches with an army back into the Riverlands, Theon Greyjoy who makes an appearance as “Reek”, having been thought dead after the third book, and a host of others besides.
And lots of people die…
As usual, A Dance with Dragons ends with a cliffhanger, but if you have the Kindle version, there is a fairly lengthy pre-taste of what Book 6 The Winds of Winter, promises.
I still found the sub-plot around Bran Starks journey beyond the Wall, annoying and a little pointless. However I may be proved wrong, as this journey may yet prove significant in the planned final two books yet to be published. You never quite know what Martin has up his sleeve.
Overall, another breath-taking read and I’m eagerly anticipating Book 6, due some time in 2014. Let’s hope George Martin does not keep us waiting any longer than that.