BOOK REVIEW: A Dance With Dragons – by George R.R. Martin

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Title: A Dance With Dragons
(A Song Of Ice And Fire #5)
Author: George R.R. Martin
Genre: Fantasy
First published: July 12th 2011
Publisher: Bantam
Finished reading: August 30th 2016
Pages: 1.154
Rating 5qqq

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”

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I can’t believe I have finally finished this monster! It has been over two years since I finished book number four and I had my doubts whether to continue the series especially since I found the fourth book so disappointing. I now know what was the problem: all my favorite characters were missing. Because I think I have never finished a A Song Of Ice And Fire book as fast as I managed to read A Dance With Dragons. Blame it on my love for Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, Arya, Daenerys and her dragons, but I’m pretty sure this has to be my new favorite ASOIAF book. I admit I don’t exactly remember my feelings for the first few books, mostly because it’s been quite some time since I’ve finished them. But as always the book is so much more intriguing than the TV series, and I’m glad I decided to read it before watching the latest season. And that ending! Now the long wait for the sixth book begins….

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the previous books of this series yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

After a huge battle, Daenerys Targaryen rules with her three dragons as the queen of a city full of death and betrayal. She has thousands of enemies and many are determined to find and destroy her. And after what he did, Tyrion Lannister is also making his way east; fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head. He has new allies that might come in handy along the way… And in the frozen north, Jon Snow has to confront  both creatures from beyond the Wall and the powerful enemies within the Night’s Watch as well. Winter is coming, and people are getting more restless by the day. The dance for power begins…

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I have to be honest and say I didn’t even remember I disliked the fourth book that much, that’s how long it has been since I finished it. A Dance With Dragons has to be my new favorite of the series and I managed to finish it in record time. It definitely had all my favorite characters in them as well… The ending was shocking even though I kind of already knew what was going to happen. But then again George R.R. Martin does love to kill off his characters in general.

BOOK REVIEW: A Feast For Crows – by George R.R. Martin

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Title: A Feast For Crows
(A Song Of Ice And Fire Series #4)
Author: George R.R. Martin
Genre: Fantasy, Epic
First published: October 17th 2005
Finished reading: April 12th 2014
Pages: 978
Rating 2,5

“A man does not need to be a wizard to know truth from falsehood, not if he has eyes. You need only learn to read a face. Look at the eyes. The mouth. The muscles here, at the corners of the jaw, and here, where the neck joins the shoulders.” He touched her lightly with two fingers. “Some liars blink. Some stare. Some look away. Some lick their lips. Many coer their mouths just before they tell a lie, as if to hide their deceit. Other signs may be more subtle, but they are always there. A false smile and a true one may look alike, but they are as different as dusk from dawn.”

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Here I am staring at the last page of this fourth book in the A Song Of Ice And Fire series. Before I started reading, I had promised myself this would be the last one of the series, since I find them increasingly less interesting and confusing, partly because of the amount of characters George R.R. Martin introduces in the series. The fact that he cut the story in half made me wonder if I should read the fifth book after all. In a A Feast For Crows, Martin only tells the story from the point of view of a select group of characters, leaving out important names as Tyrion, Jon Snow, Daenerys and Stannis. The only way to know the whole story is read the fifth one too, unless I want to wait for the tv series reach this part of the story… For now, I would say no to book number five, but I’m sure somewhere in the future my curiosity will win. Until then, I will content myself watching the fourth season of the tv series.

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It is hard to summarize a book with so many different storylines, but in short you can conclude the war between the multiple kings is taking its toll. Many people died or are dying, including some of our main characters. The threat of the Others and Daenerys and her dragons are being pushed to the background. Instead, we follow mainly the women of Westeros: Queen Cersei, the princess of Dorn, Sansa or Alyssa, Arya or Cat, Brienne… Book number four is mostly focused on the adventures and effects of the war on their lives. Parts of the story are missing, and others are touching the border of too much repetition. Seriously, how many times we have to read Brienne is looking for a highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair?

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I feel I’m slowly distancing myself from this series. Although I now know this is only the first part of what he ment as one book, I’m not sure if I can bring it up to read the second half. I don’t mind the amount of pages, but I’m not up for another week and something of almost forced reading in order to finish it. For now, I won’t be touching another Martin, but who knows, maybe in a few months…

A Storm Of Swords – by George R.R. Martin

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Title: A Storm Of Swords
(A Song Of Ice And Fire Series #3)
Author: George R.R. Martin
First published: 2000
Finished reading: December 17th 2013
Pages: 1128

The Seven Kingdoms are still in war, and the five pretending to be kings are dropping dead one by one. Meanwhile, a different war is about to start beyond the Wall… Joffrey still sits on the Iron Throne for most of the book, but he gets what he deserves in the end. His most dangerous rival is Lord Stannis, with Melisandre at his side. Using black magic in name of the Lord of Light, they try to win the Iron Throne for the brother of the previous king Robert.  The young King Of The North Robb still holds the North, untill a Red Wedding makes an end to that. Balon Greyjoy is king of his Iron Islands, but not much more. And don’t forget about Daenerys, the Mother Of Dragons, making her way back to the Seven Kingdoms with her three dragons to claim back the Iron Throne…

A lot of fighting, a lot of death… It’s best not to become fond of a certain character, because nobody is safe. Valar Morghulis… All men must die. Splendid third book of the A Song Of Ice And Fire series, would recommend it within a blink of an eye. Read it and find out for yourself who lives and who dies, and what becomes of the war beyond the Wall. Watch out, because winter is coming… And so do the Others.

A Clash Of Kings – by George R.R. Martin

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Title: A Clash Of Kings
(A Song Of Ice And Fire Series #2)
Author: George R.R. Martin
First published: November 16th 1998
Finished reading: December 4th 2013
Pages: 761

Winter is coming, and the seven kingdoms are in war. The old king Robert Baratheon is dead, and suddenly there are four men claiming to be king. The old kings (bastard) son Joffrey reins Kings Landing, but Robb Stark claims to be the new King of the North. Also both Roberts brothers have their own claims to be the true king. And not to forget the Mother of Dragons, claiming the Iron throne from far away…

Clash Of Kings is a story of war, revenge and chaos, the second book of the ‘A Song Of Ice And Fire’ series. The kings and their followers are ready to claim the throne, and old friends become new enemies through betrayal. The world is becoming more dangerous… The wildlings are marching south, and the Others are rising. Great follow-up of A Game Of Thrones.