August 12, 2012
A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
Oh! I've had the ups and downs with this series. The first book, while interesting, drew me in enough that I had to continue but did not excite me wholly. That was the job of the second book, and the third. But now, with the fourth and fifth books, I find myself underwhelmed by the series and where it is going. I should caution, if you haven't read the first book (and all the others after it) this review is not going to be helpful to you at the least. It is best to start at the beginning.
There are many many plots and stories in this series. So much that it is hard to describe them with the detail that they deserve. But there are some large ones. Like the plight of Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons, who only wants to reclaim the kingdom for herself. Tyrion Lannister, who has been outlawed and must use his cleverness for not only saving his skin but furthering his agendas. King Stannis, also trying for a throne that he thinks is rightfully his, and the burning god that he claims to follow. And several others, which, like in all the books, only want to play the game of thrones and win.
Don't get attached to the characters. That is the most important lesson that Martin gives us. You never know just how long they'll be with us and it does no good to retain a favorite, although sometimes it can't be helped. I find the dwarf, Tyrion Lannister, most intriguing and I know that I'm not alone in that sentiment. He is so complex and (I believe) a good character that I find myself rooting for him quite often, even when he does something that I don't agree with. Arya Stark is a character that I didn't like in the beginning, but her role in the books has become so intriguing that I look forward to her stories and what she goes through. For a little girl, she is quite brave and devious. And my undisputed favorite would be Daenerys. She acts the true queen but still has enough innocence that she is quite likable. And she's the character I identify with most (although I am very much aware that I don't possess dragons nor am I a queen). She is just that inspiring for a book character.
As said before the plot is very twisted and there are many many characters. As such, it can get very hard to follow and there are some chapters that I find myself drifting away from the book and not really caring about the characters featured. Not to mention that while this book had most of my favorite character's stories, it didn't have them all. It also went back in the timeline to the previous book and that was a tad confusing as well. I prefer it when things happen in a continuous timeline rather than bouncing back and forth. While there are some interesting aspects to this book, most of it is a lot of talking and planning and quite frankly, boring. I like intrigue well enough, but when that's all there is it sometimes makes you wish the book would just hurry up and get somewhere.
I still like the series even if I think it's gotten weaker in the past two books. There's so much detail here that rereading the series over and over I'm sure there would be something new found every time. I look forward to when the next book comes out.
A Dance with Dragons