Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review: A Dance with Dragons

Title: A Dance with Dragons
Author: George R. R. Martin
Date Published: July 12th, 2011
Page Count: 959, if you don't include the 100 pages of appendices.
Summary: BASICALLY, all your favorite characters who were not in AFfC are back! Dany, Tyrion, Jon, Bran, Arya (barely), Davos, along with some new and newly-not-dead ones! Dany putzes around in Mereen, trying to bring peace. Tyrion, who recently murdered his father and ex-whore-lover, travels around Essos, sometimes a slave, sometimes a mummer, always a dwarf, asking, "Where do the whores go?" incessantly. Jon is actually a good leader and saves tons of wildlings and is basically awesome, until the end, when the Night's Watch ruin everything. Bran travels way up into the North with Coldhands. Arya learns more about becoming a Faceless Man and is all-around awesome. Davos continues to be honorable. Theon somehow manages to make you like him. Jaime shows up once, with a really annoying cliffhanger ending to a chapter. Asha gets kidnapped. Victarion is a dick to everyone who ever lived and laughs at pain whilst traveling towards Dany.

Just read it. It's hard to summarize.

Review: WARNING, this review will be semi-spoiler-y! I know most of you probably don't read ASOIAF and that's fine, but I don't want to spoil any future readers! So if you haven't gotten to ADwD yet or you plain haven't read any of the books, that's fine. Just don't continue to read this review. You have been duly warned.

Anywho, first reaction: WHY THE HELL WAS THIS BOOK SO LONG? 

I had the feeling that this one would be packed with action, unlike its predecessor, the rambling and boring A Feast for Crows. It came on the heels of A Storm of Swords, easily my favorite book in the series, but I was not prepared for its length, where absolutely nothing happens. I expected more from ADwD, especially since it took so long to write. But nope. In the vein of AFfC, it was all set-up. Which is fine, but someone needs to get GRRM a better editor, because we do not need nearly 2,000 pages of set-up. I understand it's an epic story. But really, GRRM, you're just drowning yourself and your readers.

Second of all, I have a problem with all of the cliffhangers. I feel like cliffhangers that resolve NOTHING are super cheap to the reader, because we have to wait such a long time to find out what happens. It's like in TV shows where the MC dies at the end of the season and you have to wait months to find out, oh, they weren't really dead. It's cheap. A good cliffhanger should resolve most of the plot while still leaving some juicy threads. GRRM's cliffhangers are all threads. Nothing was resolved. Dany continued to be annoying in Mereen, where she hooked up with Daario only AFTER getting engaged. Jon became a good leader but then was 'killed' at the end. (Quotations because I know he is not dead. I hate that GRRM brings so many people back from the dead. I thought that, after Ned and Robb, we knew people could die. But now they either don't die or are resurrected. It's annoying.) Tyrion's chapters at least contained some character development. There were only two Arya chapters, only ONE Jaime chapter in which he was kidnapped by an obviously-alive Brienne, and a small number of Bran chapters. For so many pages, we could've gotten more of their stories and he could've cut out some of the food description.

The only thing that I really loved about this book was Theon's character arc. I HATED Theon in ACoK, but I felt so bad for him as Reek and I was immensely satisfied at his final words in ADwD. Say what I will about GRRM, but he is awesome at characterization. He made me love Jaime and he made me love Theon.

If only because this is an ASOIAF book, I'll give it:

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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