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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2013
**Spoilers ahead**

My only consolation is that I started the series after this came out. I can't even imagine waiting 10 years for "A Feast For Crows" and "A Dance With Dragons".

A Dance With Dragons was a chore to read, even more so than Feast. By the last quarter, I found myself sighing, grunting, and skimming pages in frustration. It is beautifully written, but gets a 1 star because of the following:

GRRM is a brilliant man. He knows what he is doing, which either makes the last 2 books in this series a work of incredibly isolated ambition, or a flagrant show of dishonesty. Creating such fantastic cliffhangers, then barely addressing them over the course of the following 10 years/2 books/2000 pages/$30-$50 is an intentional move, no matter which way you slice it. It's not something "we don't get" or "different than we expected". It's manipulative, not unlike reality TV. Whatever the motives (getting us to buy the next volume, stalling for time), it's a little stinky. Plus, the author's apparent refusal to take this criticism seriously doesn't bode well for the rest of the series.

Onto the actual book : There is an incredible amount of filler, and too many concurrent storylines that go nowhere. The overlapping Feast For Crows timeline stunt was cheap, but cheaper still was not to use the rest of that timeline to tie up loose ends. We keep reading, hoping for a closure that never comes. He has completely shied away from what made the first 3 books so great. Gripping characters and fast moving action, all set inside a fascinating, lively, ruthless world. I thought A Feast For Crows was just him taking a breather, but turns out he's lost it for good. What a monumental fall from grace.

With that said, my main gripe with the series as a whole is this :

GRRM has a way of introducing fantastic characters and, if not killing them off altogether, assassinating the particular attachment we have to them, while not giving us anything in return. He just suddenly amputates whatever excitement we have for their stories. Every arc is always somehow..stunted. Why do this? It's unrewarding and exhausting. Jaime Lannister, touted as one of the most dangerous men ever with a sword, gets his sword hand chopped off. now what? Bran, the ultimate climber with the ultimate secret, has his legs broken, and loses his memory. what? Khal Drogo, strong, leader of the Dothraki, UNDEFEATED SINCE FOREVER!! dies, his army scattered...ok. Robb Stark, king of the north, symbol of love and justice!! murdered, his army scattered...King Stannis, harsh, but fair, leading an army with the amazing powers of the FIRE GOD...freezes to death, his army scattered. ok. Brienne, devotes her life to Catelyn Stark, dies at the hands of Catelyn Stark...ok. Dany, waker of dragons, conqueror of the eastern lands to make her way into Westeros, is now afraid of dragons, and refuses to go to Westeros....ok..? Cersei, insidious, proud, beautiful, now foolish, childish, humiliated, weak and ugly...her relationship with Jaime, once a pivotal characteristic of the Lannisters' strength and moral bankruptcy, is now in shambles...ok, but where to now? Littlefinger, the most scheming of them all, and arguably the most efficient player in this game of thrones....was sent to rule the only neutral Kingdom in the realm. ok then. And Jon Snow...I don't even want to try to understand this one.

The list goes on and on...He pushes us away from every character that matters, but never calls us back. We keep finding our footing only to hit a brick wall. That + all those new characters and twice as many cliffhangers...It's just not fun anymore :( It's an abusive test of a reader's patience, excitement and goodwill.

Let's just pray Tyrion won't have his tongue torn out in the next book, shall we?
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Quick Review (TL;DR)
These books are great. Expansive well described settings and extremely complex and detailed characters. You'll find yourself loving character you hated in a previous books and feeling compassion for psychopathic torturers.
Nothing happens the way you think it'll happen and no one you want to live lives. Everyone dies except for the ones you expect to.
I would highly recommend reading this series as long as you don't mind waiting 1-2 decades as the following books are released.

Full-er Review:

--If you want to support a story you enjoy and get the entire series at the same time you should buy this. --

All my life I've been waiting for something like this story. Every time I watched a movie where the good guy had some kind of distress or trouble and the bad guy seemed ahead, I still always knew who would win. As I am sure you all did. (granted this applies more to shows/movies than to books)

Every time a fairy tale ending occurred with the action hero walking into the sunset with his girl, I got tired. Every. Single. Time.

Good guy wins, bad guy loses/gets away and everyone is happily ever after. Sure there are some exceptions, but not really. Either everyone dies at the end or some other trope occurs. But the bad guy never wins over. Not at the end. Like some horribly boring, predictable formula.

This is the show I've been waiting for. Everything you think will happen doesn't happen. Or it does and then does a complete 180. No predictability at all. I absolutely love it.
You hate the character who paralyzes kids and then you grow to like them and empathize with their flaws as they grow into their character.

Your [favourite] characters die and others live, but you never know which or how they'll do it. Your most hated character become your most loved characters and then they also die. Or maybe not. Maybe they become hated again.


This is the story after the happily ever after. The story of the brave warrior who becomes king but is unable to rule, he doesn't know how. Of course he doesn't, he's a boy who knows how to fight, why would he be equipped to rule a kingdom?
This is the story after the king marries a famous beauty.
They're not happy 20 years later, they resent each other and each grows to hate the other more and more. The king drinks and has his way with whore while the queen does the same with her brother.

They are human. They do not live happily ever after. The nice honourable man dies, children die, the scheming betrayer lives. In fact he thrives.
This is the story for those who want to know what happens after the "... and they lived happily ever after". Love, loss, anger, hatred, life and death. No linear storyline with predictable outcomes. No more of that.

If any of that sounds appealing to you then read the books, watch the show, immerse yourself in this world and watch what happens when people have to go through life with real problems and real consequences.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2011
6 years for a book that does nothing but advance the plot far enough to add cliff hangers for the next book, which probably won't be released until 2018. Enough talk about what they eat, what the fashion choice of the local nobles is and for love of all that's good I don't care where whores go!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2012
I really enjoyed the first two books in the series. After that I thought the story line became too complicated and lost direction. I had hoped that A Dance with Dragons would tie everything together - but no , it wandered on like a soap opera and ended up with "cliff hangers" and unanswered questions. JRRT brought his epic to a conclusion , which was appreciated by readers everywhere . Nevertheless I shall probably read the next episode - if I live long enough.
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on July 24, 2013
George Martin is undoubtedly a genius; but I have no idea what he has in mind for the series. Pivotal characters are either maimed or killed off or face bleak futures. I skipped several pages while reading and it felt like a chore. I was frustrated once I finished reading and the way the book ended infuriated me. I knew it might turn out this way, but i felt compelled to buy and read it.
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on June 13, 2014
I enjoyed the story telling and the action in the novel. I enjoy Tyrion's character, very, very funny and Jon. I hope he is okay in the next book. What I disliked was that it took so long to go from from character to the next as there were so many different sub plots. Some characters also just seemed to go by the wayside and it was not explained what happened to them.
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on May 14, 2013
Again a really good book from George R.R. Martin in this excellent sequel despite the story is really slow in this one (again).
I am starting to believe the sequel will never end as the story diverges more and more without never converging towards an end.
Or Martin is really skilled hiding his clues.... or the last two books will be huge volumes!!!
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on March 3, 2014
Haven't read this 5th book yet but I'm sure it will be hard to put down once I get to it!
Just want to note to others that this is not the same size as the mass market paperback ones... this one is much larger and doesn't match my box set :( Minor detail though it also means that it's much more annoying to read this book on the go.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2012
Going to make this Short....

I was totally disappointed in this latest book of the series. Too slow, long "nothing happening" periods throughout, not sure if the author can salvage the story. I'd rate the previous books a 4.5 and with this one I'm being generous with a 2.

It was an interesting twist to see some key characters killed off in previous books, but you don't have to do it over and over. Eventually you're going to kill off all the characters that are interesting.
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on June 15, 2014
Mr. Martin is a story teller and can create strong characters, but overall this book felt like he was stretching out the story with lots of filler, without bring the reader any closer to resolution with the many plots that were left in the area. I was quite disappointed after having really enjoyed the first three books.
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