If you like: stew * Tyrion * brazenness
A Dance with Dragons is the fifth book in the Song of Ice and Fire series. Fans of the series will find much of what they have enjoyed throughout the previous books. (Honestly, I think the title implies a little more dragon content than there is, but in this series nothing is ever as it seems.) As with its predecessors, there are so many double crosses, imposters, and murders that it is impossible to sum up without giving away too much.
Readers will enjoy A Dance with Dragons more than the slightly disappointing A Feast for Crows. Many of the favorites are revisited, and the lesser liked are mostly avoided. Tyrion continues to face dire situations and come out of them far better than he should. Many knights are prideful fools that bring about their own ends in the name of glory and their king. The story is not without its flaws. At times, readers might find themselves wondering if it is a chronology of gastronomy with the exhaustive descriptions of seemingly every meal. Additionally, Martin becomes increasingly creative with the names featured in the chapter titles, which is occasionally befuddling, but mostly innocuous.
The series continues to engage readers with tales of folly in the quest for power. The main thing it lacks if the feeling that persisted in A Game of Thrones: a sense that all the varied story lines would come together at the end. Though that is a clear end game for the series, each installment would benefit from a more cohesive narrative. The vast number of plots, subplots, and cover stories is commendable, but having a little more integration would help to remind the reader of the sense of dread that persisted A Game of Thrones. The addition of new heirs to the throne and other claimants serves the story well in its quest to show that the game of thrones will never end. This series is at its best when the characters’ motivations are most clear. As each makes his or her play for power the greed, bravado, and ignorance of the players provides endless entertainment.
If you believe you are deserving of a seat upon the Iron Throne, read A Dance with Dragons.
Martin, George R.R. A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Five. New York: Random House, Inc., 2011. Kindle Edition.