In the aftermath of a colossal battle, Daenerys Targaryen rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way east—with new allies who may not be the ragtag band they seem. And in the frozen north, Jon Snow confronts creatures from beyond the Wall of ice and stone, and powerful foes from within the Night’s Watch. In a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics lead a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, to the greatest dance of all.
Review 4 of 5 Stars
With regard to writing ability alone, Mr. Martin weaves a good tale. However, as much as I was hoping for (and let’s not lie, kind of expecting) some plot resolution, it just didn’t happen. I’m invested in the series and if Book 6 ever comes out I’m sure I’ll read it. For the time being though I’m fairly frustrated. There is nothing wrong with writing a 1,000 page book if you have plenty to say, but a lot of this book really drug along. I don’t need to know the history of each shield on the wall, I don’t need to know the background of each person that has been knighted, etc. unless you plan on a battle at the end where all of the knights use the shields on the wall to somehow save us all from the Others.
I enjoy Mr. Martin’s characterizations and there were some parts of this book that I was really interested in. Dany seems to be floundering across the Narrow Sea, Tyrion is wandering around with another possible Targaryen heir (who would have thought so many had escaped), new and old characters seem to be taking three steps forward and two back. Some of the characters may die of old age before their stories are resolved.
On the other hand, I really enjoyed the bits about Arya’s continuing training at the House of Black and White. At least there is a little resolution there. I also really enjoyed what happened to Cersei, even though it wasn’t quite enough in my opinion – guess that makes me cold. It was also nice to see what was happening in Dorne as well since Myrcella was sent there quite some time ago and I was beginning to wonder what had happened to her. Hopefully there will be more to that plot line in Book 6. Books 4 and 5 are basically the same book split in such a way as to make the storylines seem completely disjointed from one another, but I did manage to glean some satisfaction from small advances in certain plot lines. At the same time, other lines seem to be floundering.
This is as close as I’ll get to spoilers, but I am going to talk about some of the plot lines here. So avoid this section if you haven’t yet read the book. I’ll try to keep it mostly as a summary in case you feel obligated to forge ahead. Most of my favorites are still running around. Arya is growing up to be a most formidable young woman and I can’t wait to see where that leads her. As always, I find Tyrion incredibly interesting even when he is just off wandering around aimlessly with possible heirs to the throne. He’s just a witty, smart aleck and I love him as a character. Jaime Lannister seems to have had a bit of a change of heart with regard to some of his family, but was mostly off taking care of the Lannister family business of manipulating the other houses to do as his family thinks best, though after that he kind of disappears with a not so dead friend from the previous book. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Jon Snow. I’ve heard rumors and it seems a weird time to be done with that line so I’m hoping that we’ll see him again in the next book. Daenerys’ plot line seemed to kind of flounder in this book. I’d really like to see if it moves forward and it would be fantastic if she quit telling people she was just a young girl with no idea about whatever topic they happen to be on. Those words don’t match her actions most of the time and though they may have originally been used to throw off her enemies, it now sounds pretty contrived as she stole 8,000 Unsullied warriors from Astapor previously and surely her enemies are starting to catch on.
Okay, so with the parts I do like and the parts that I was somewhat disappointed in, this book still comes in at 4 out of 5 stars. Martin is an excellent writer and even when he’s meandering around something interesting usually happens somewhere along the line. I now join the thousands of others that are waiting impatiently for Book 6. I can’t wait to see how this series is resolved, if it ever is. Fingers crossed 🙂