and already thousands of reviews are clogging the internet highways--like refugees on The Kingsroad. (Google lists 16,500,000 results for the search: a dance with dragons review. The search undoubtedly includes everything Martin and reviews having no relation to the writer.) This is not a bad thing. A heavily reviewed book by professionals and hobbyists alike is a recommendation in and of itself. The problem with reviewing any of Martin’s book is answering the all important question of: “Will the review include exploration into the events, or limit it to style?” Discussions on plot and theme tend toward spoilers, so that option is out. Fortunately, the question has already been answered for me. My wife, who will be the first person to read the review, is nearing the conclusion of ‘A Storm of Swords.’ I value my life and want to see our children grow up, so I won’t make mention of the crossbow marriage of Jon Snow and Queen Cersei Lannister--Jon really should have kept his hands off her skirts. (Don’t worry, that doesn’t happen . . . or does it?)
As fans of Martin’s world know, ‘A Feast for Crows’ and ‘A Dance With Dragons’ were intended to be under the same cover. Fortunately, that did not come to pass. Otherwise, we’d be faced with a volume so large it’d require four maesters to hold the book and turn the pages for you. Not to mention, Martin would have taken eleven years to complete book four if a chunk had not been sliced off to create ‘Crows.' The events contained within these books share the same timeline while focusing on separate sets of characters. To my knowledge, ‘Dragons’ is the first instance where book five in the series picks up after book three rather than four. (Still with me?) Frustrating at first, but it all works out in the end.
What can you expect from ‘Dragons’? Death, destruction, and descriptions of feasts that will make your mouth water--even if you’ve already gorged yourself on steak and potatoes. Martin remains at the top of his game. The book is a wonderful ride that will keep you turning the pages unless you strive to ration yourself. (Forced myself to take nearly a month rather than consuming the book in the typical three day reading fest.) The safest statement about ‘Dragons’ is a reiteration of the presenter for July 29th, 2011 Seattle book signing: “Someone will die!” (After reading The Red Wedding, my wife has dubbed Martin as, “George Really Rude Martin.”)
I envy those who learned of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ through the HBO miniseries. I’ve followed the book series since 1998, and many who read this review may have been following Martin since 1996 when ‘A Game of Throne’ was first published. So I envy people like my wife who are just now starting out, and will enjoy five books before running dry.
Once again, the long wait begins.