Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Dance with Dragons Book Review + Thoughts for Thursday--18

Book Review: A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

This is part of the Read and Review Hop, hosted by Anya of On Starships and Dragonwings!
So I finally got through this book! I've been reading it forever! And by that I don't mean to say that I didn't like it or that it was hard to get through, because it wasn't. Or at least, not any harder than any other of Martin's books. It's just a situation where I wasn't in a hurry because this was book 5 and book 6 isn't expected out for a long time (2015 according to So I would read a few chapters, then not pick it up for a few weeks. I read several other books, finishing them first while ADWD was on the back burner. It came and went, but I decided that I finally needed to finish it.

As for the book, I won't talk much about the plot because, as I said before, this is book 5 and I don't want to do too many spoilers for earlier books. If I do any I'll warn you first.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I LOVE this story! The characters and settings and conflicts are masterfully done and once you get into the story, you just can't put it down. That said, Martin's writing style can be a big difficult to get into. You have to get used to the way he writes. His style isn't bad or amateur. It's just kind of heavy.  Then again, if you make it all the way to book 5, I suppose you would've made your peace with the writing hundreds of pages ago.

While book 4 focused a lot on the less mainstream story lines, Book 5 goes back to the more central conflicts and characters we've come to love. Many people have criticized this book for it's meandering and...I can kind of see their point. I do wish Martin would move the story along a bit more quickly rather than going into detail about characters, cities, and cultures that have nothing to do with the main characters. Yet, being a writer, by the time I got to the end, I could see how he was shaping the story and where he was going all along. He just could have gotten there sooner.

I've also heard criticism about the title because this sounds like it will feature a lot of dragon action, but, according to others, they barely spread their wings. I don't agree with this criticism. Though it's true that the dragons aren't the central element in the plot, I do think they were what this installment was always working up to. Near the end Barriston Selmy gives the title it's meaning. He says, Not all men are meant to dance with dragons.  Notice that the "dance" of the title is singular, not plural. *minor spoiler* The character that does the "dance" dies in the process. I promise this is not a major spoiler because it was not a major character, but still, when you think of it that way, the Dance with Dragons in this book ended in death. So the point of the title is that the story points toward the cliff hanger end, which is full of death and ruin.

One could argue that there are other dragon dances of course, literal in the case of Daenarys and the death pits and figurative for Jon Snow. All threads end in disaster (fitting for a novel which isn't the final one) and while the novel stalled a bit in the middle, the end left me desperately wanting book 6.

There was also a very touching chapter near the end with Daenarys looking back over her recent choices and conversing with an imagined someone that she regrets having sent away. I found it very touching as it strayed into literary fiction and had a sweet, melancholy feel. Possibly my favorite part of this book.

Overall, if you're into Martin's series, this is simply a continuation of the story. It may not be the most exciting installment (nothing has equaled Book 3 yet) but it's important to read this to get to the next part. Martin has set up some exciting things for book 6 and--like all the other epic fantasy suckers--I will be pre-ordering it when it becomes available.

Thoughts for Thursday--18

Thoughts for Thursday is a new meme hosted by Musings on Fantasia and LKHill.  In this meme, we share thoughts or quotes that we know or have recently come across. Each week there is a specific subject or theme. These can be quotes from books, quotes by famous people, (quotes by YOU, perhaps ;D). Anything from anywhere is game, though we do ask that you keep your quote to a few sentences at most. Don't quote, for example, entire passages of a book or essay. These can be funny quips, cool sayings, hair-raising antidotes, movie lines, any kind of quote you can think of!

Readers may respond by either commenting on the quotes I put forward or contributing a quote of their own. Leave it in the comments or a link to your quote in the linky. Whoever comes up with the best one will get some swag and be entered to win a bigger prize later on!

Just have fun, collect awesome sayings by awesome people, and try to be inspired!

This week's theme is Goals!!! (I thought it'd be appropriate what with most of us making New Year's Resolutions in the past week or two. :D)

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal--Henry Ford

Goals are dreams with deadlines.--Diana Scharf Hunt

People with goals succeed because they know where they're going.--Earl Nightingale

The goal you set for yourself must be challenging. At the same time, it should be realistic and attainable, not impossible to reach. It should be challenging enough to make you stretch, but not so far that break.--Rick Hansen

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.--Tony Robbins

Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.--Sylvia Plath

What do you think? What is your favorite quote? Do you have one to contribute?


  1. Gah, I can't believe I'm still only on book 2 of this series!! *fail fantasy fan fail* but I do love them! Especially the whole Daenarys being an epic chick with dragons thing *dances around* Thanks for joining in the hop this week :D

  2. I'm glad you loved this book! I SERIOUSLY need to get started on this series but those books are so big haha!

  3. Glad to hear you liked it! I love the book series but I have yet to pic this one up because his books are longggg and I need more time to read them!

  4. Though I'm not necessarily a big 'epic fantasy' fan, I have enjoyed this series. Bummed that it will be so long before the next one. I admit to not liking number 4 very much. Come on George, did you really need to describe every blasted blade of grass.

  5. Great review!! I love both the book series and the show!so loved the thoughts on book five! :D

  6. My man and I finally started this series late last year and really enjoyed Book 1. We're borrowing the audiobooks from the library and there is a waiting list! So, hopefully next month we will get to listen to Book 2. I guess since Book 6 isn't due out until 2015, I don't need to hurry.