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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin

A Dance with Dragons is George R. R. Martin's fifth volume in his A Song of Ice and Fire series.

It has been several years since Martin published the last volume: A Feast for Crows.   For me, the time between books made the beginning of this book a little difficult.  Martin's style of writing, jumping from character to character, made it hard to keep track of the characters.  It was easier to remember the major characters: Tyrion, Jon, Bran, and Daenerys.  But keeping track of the many minor character was difficult.  And Martin uses a large cast of characters.

In the first four books, Martin titled each chapter with the name of the main character of that chapter.  In this installment, Martin titled some chapters with phrases descriptive of the chapter's main character.  This literary device challenges the reader to discern who Martin is writing about.  Yet, it can be somewhat confusing when the reader is dealing with a large group of characters.

In his introduction, A Cavil on Chronology, Martin explains that the first part of this book parallels A Feast for Crows.  Then, halfway through the book, the timelines come together and we read about some long forgotten main characters such as Cersei and Jaime.

So, what are the main characters up to?  Jon Snow is learning how to be the leader of the Night Watch at the wall.  His half-brother, Bran Stark, is north of the wall being called by some mysterious force.  Arya Stark is in Braavos, across the narrow sea serving as a novice in a temple.  Tyrion Lannister is across the narrow sea trying to get to Daenerys Targaryen.  Daenerys is learning the difference between a conquering queen and a ruling queen.  She has not yet learned how to use and control her dragons.  Cersei Lannister is in prison, accused of treason and fornication.  And Jaime Lannister is riding around Westeros settling disputes between local lords. 

There are many others: Reek, Lady Melisandre, Quentyn Martel, and Asha Greyjoy, to name a few.  And don't forget all the dead white walkers north of the wall.

I enjoyed this book.  Once I got a handle on the characters the book was a joy to read. However, I still have absolutely no idea who will be left alive at the end.

Spoiler alert: Martin has absolutely no problem killing off a character.  Be prepared.

This was the first book I read on my Kindle.  Flipping to the back of the book to make use of the appendices, and  using the maps at  the front would be much easier in a regular book. On the whole, however, I felt more motivated to read on the Kindle.

A Dance with Dragons

If you'd like to read my blog posts from last year check out my Kindle ebook.

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