Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Dance with Dragons

So it's almost here.

I read George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones in 2000, and was immediately hooked on the series. A vivid complex world, flawed and compelling characters, witty dialogue and plot twists that were both unpredictable and inevitable - it was the perfect fantasy novel for me. The next book in the series, A Clash of Kings, was even better. I bought A Storm of Swords just before I left the States for the Middle East, and the book was as wrenching as the departure.

A friend in the States sent me a copy of A Feast for Crows in December 2005, my last Christmas in Dubai. I dived into it, but this book is the sophomore slump of the series. A breathing space - or more likely, a convalescent period - would have been fine after the Red Wedding and Tyrion's trial. But AFFC introduced five new viewpoint characters and a host of minor ones (most of whom have the usual exotic monikers, though thankfully not their own catchphrases).

Meanwhile, the characters I'd come to care about in previous books were either absent or hopelessly wandering the land. If we know in advance that Brienne isn't going to find either of the Stark girls, it's difficult to take much interest in her search no matter who she encounters along the way. Cersei's descent into self-destruction was great (although the prophecy about her future came across as a new idea, rather than something Martin had in mind from the start) and I hope to see more of Doran Martell's plots in the future, but nothing about the book really stood out as amazing. Plus, I missed Dany, Bran and Tyrion.

But now A Dance with Dragons is going to be released. I pre-ordered it, and am hoping that this book will pack the punch its predecessor didn't. Just the fact that so many people (Tyrion, Victarion, Quentyn Martell) are traveling to find Dany makes me want to read it.

Anyone else planning to read ADWD as soon as it comes out?


DLDzioba said...

I'm actually trying to catch up. Reading your blog made me pick up the books. I'm currently reading A Storm of Swords. I have pre-ordered the next one though.

Lee Lawrence said...

I've preordered ADWD and will devour it upon arrival. I liked AFFC, I even liked Brienne and her POV chapters.

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gypsyscarlett said...

I have waited years for Dance of Dragons! I won't be able to open its pages quickly enough. :)

In the meantime, I am rereading Game of Thrones.

Anonymous said...

I'm reading A Game of Thrones on my Kobo. So far so good!


Marian Perera said...

DLDzioba : I'm relieved I didn't include too many spoilers about ASoS! That's the best one in the series, IMO - hope you're enjoying it.

Lee - I have to hand it to Martin, he created a tough female swordswoman who wasn't attractive and who was treated very realistically by her society. For me, the difference between ASoS and AFfC is that Brienne and Jaime were great foils for each other in the former, but in the latter all she had were various minor characters.

Still, it's too bad we'll have to wait another five years to find out what happens to her.

Marian Perera said...

Beckah - Thanks very much for the award! :)

Tasha - I found a collection of Martin's novellas and short stories, called Dreamsongs, at the used bookstore where I work on Saturdays and browsed it to see if I could get a Westeros fix. But it felt strange, to read a science fiction story he'd written years ago with characters called Robb and Lyanna.

ralfast _ The best (or worst) is yet to come!

DLDzioba said...

I really am enjoying it. Arya just got taken by the Hound.

DLDzioba said...

OKay, I just hit the Red Wedding. Is it bad form for me to plan GRRM's murder.

DLDzioba said...

OKay, I just hit the Red Wedding. Is it bad form for me to plan GRRM's murder.

Marian Perera said...

I always feared he would die before the series was complete.