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Showing 11-20 of 7,658 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 9,535 reviews
on December 5, 2013
I'd read the rest of the series and wanted to find out what happens next and anyone contemplating this book is likely in the same situation and willing to buy the book regardless of my review, especially now that it is being discounted heavily. But man does this book DRAG. It has been a 2-year gap since I read the book that comes before this one (remember that the last book parallels this book so we are going two books back to the prequel). The book dances between multiple character threads and locations, referencing plot developments that have faded in my memory. And it just goes on and on and on with angst-ridden wanderings and plots with little in the way of action. I'm writing this at about the 1/3 point in the book so maybe things will pick up. If you've read the rest of the series you're going to have to read this one but it isn't literature.

[Edit] I am editing this review after having just finished the book. The edit includes a downgrade from two stars to one and this additional material. This book is just horrible and I feel like I am being held hostage to whatever Martin wants to do because I'd invested my time in the previous volumes and the story lines. I wanted to find out what happens to characters with whom I've built relationships but still no joy and no resolutions. This book has no fewer than eight different plot lines going and each chapter jumps from one to another meaning that continuity within the book suffers. Further, many of the plot lines are left over from previous volumes and given the time gap between this one and the latest it was difficult for me to remember what was going on the last time we visited some of the characters. Further, the plot is dispersed so widely in both geography and characters that I am frankly having trouble keeping many of the minor players straight.

Martin has woven a world that I am sure he understands but if you are looking for something to read with an ending don't look to this series. Instead, this is more like a multi-year TV show where you have to just tune in week after week to see what happens. But instead of following a close cast of characters through ongoing adventures Martin has created his full employment program by just broadening his world. I'd have much rather he had created spin offs so I could at least have some resolution on part of the story.

I'll probably buy the next one, if it ever comes out. But I certainly won't pay full price for it. I'll wait again until it is deeply discounted for Kindle.

For what it is worth, this is the worst review I've ever left and am not someone who goes around looking for problems or complaining just to complain. But I resent having my investment in this story and characters hijacked into a vehicle to sell me this unsatisfying content.
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on April 1, 2013 the unfortunate question you'll be asking yourself by halfway through Martin's latest Song of Ice and Fire tome. Where as the first three book focused largely on the conflict between two families, the Lannisters and the Starks; and Feast for Crows was essentially the exhale from that bloody war, A Dance with Dragons really has no clue where it wants to go.

The primary settings for this edition are Meereen and The Wall (and to a lesser extent the Northern continent), neither of which offer much story progression. These are two polar opposite wastelands in more ways than one. One a dessert ridden with poverty, disease, and slavery. The other an icy lifeless tundra, inhabited by outlaws sentenced to a life of servitude, and Wildlings. One has dragons, the other an otherworldly creatures known simply as "The Others."

These supernatural creatures never show up, and despite their parallel qualities, these locations don't hold much relevance to one another. The result is zero story progression on both a micro and macro level. Both Daenarys and Stannis want to claim the throne, but neither of them make any physical or strategic progress towards acquiring it. Its location, King's Landing, is almost omitted from the entire plot.

Essentially the book gets taken over by side characters and sub plots. After reading it, its clear that Martin is having trouble seeing the forest for the trees. He's laid out a myriad of supernatural elements and intriguing story beats: Wights, Giants, Melisendre's dark magic, tribes of undead fire worshippers, Daenary's politically precarious position, the Dragons, Stannis' relentless pursuit of power, the uprising of the church in King's Landing, Arya's fantasy of getting bloody revenge---it is as unclear as ever as to how all these elements will convene into one story. Martin has called SoIaF unfilmable. He may have ended up with a story that's unwritable.
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on October 14, 2013
I am only 65% through the book. I've read all the previous books, so I'm taking my time with this one. The time line is supposed to be the same as the previous books but written from different characters' points of view - But I've just read chapters from Jaime Lannister and Arya Stark, so that time line is still being expanded. Some characters seem to die in one book, only to find out that they have managed to survive - which is fine by me, because I don't want all the not-so-terrible characters to die quiet yet!

Since this is such a long book (over 1,000 pages?) I bought a Kindle edition, when I purchased it the Amazon message said something about being able to download it to more than one device. I did not do it at that moment and when I tried to figure out how that could be done - I wasn't able to find it. I would have liked to put a copy on my desk-top at work, as well as on my Kindle.
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on April 11, 2015
This book follows the much anticipated story lines of Daenerys, the Starks, and all of the characters not covered in the previous GoT novel. If you found yourself getting bored in the previous novel (I sort of was, I prefer the Stark and Targaryen story lines), then you will find this book to be a great redemption for the series. I guess there was just too much story to fit in one book, so the author broke the characters up and placed their story lines into two, meaning this book essentially takes place at the same time as a Feast for Crows, so I guess you could sort of read them out of order and not be too terribly lost. Filled with action and drama, it's a great continuation of the series. Can't wait to see how the TV series adapts it.
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on September 10, 2012

If you run out of ideas, please don't just rehash some of your prior "Kings" drafts and call it a new book. Same old same old here. What were you thinking? Did your publisher dump a truck load of money on your driveway and asked for SOMETHING, ANYTHING. And you pulled out some of your notes and gave us the previous book rewritten. This is terrible stuff for a good writer. I think I've just lost interest, so somewhere in the next five or eight years when the next one comes out, I think I just don't care anymore. I'll have forgotten it all anyway.

I feel like I was had.
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on August 10, 2016
I really enjoyed ASOIF the first time I read it, but I have enjoyed them even more on the 2nd and 3rd rereads. Once I knew the characters and what was going to happen, I could really focus on the story. There is, of course, the matter of the cliffhanger ending and no new book in sight. Winter is coming. Winds of Winter not so much.

I do not recommend this series if you just had a new baby. I read it while I was on maternity leave with my first kid. There is a lot of baby smashing and murdering toddlers.

I also don't recommend it as a way to cheer yourself up. I had just read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books and wanted some lighthearted fantasy to cheer me up. Yeah, no (Don't judge me. The show wasn't out yet, and my nerd friends didn't warn me).

I did NOT receive this product free or at a discount in exchange for a review. This is the reason there may be a "Verified Purchase" label on this review. I have no obligation to leave a positive review and do my best to give feedback that will be valuable to anyone considering purchasing this product. I was neither paid nor sponsored for my opinions and all thoughts reflected in this review are solely my own. I personally rely heavily on product reviews to determine which products I buy. Because I know the importance of honest reviews, I give my opinion based solely on my personal experiences with the product. My aim is to highlight features and drawbacks that I would want to know about as a buyer, not hype the product for the manufacturer. If you found any part of my review helpful, please make sure to vote "YES" in response to whether my review was helpful.
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on May 31, 2013
There are so many amazing and well thought out reviews of this book, so I will be brief. I am an avid reader, have read all of the books in the series multiple times (I reread them all whenever a new one comes out), and think that the first 3 books in the series are the absolute best fantasy novels ever written. Then Martin stopped caring. Lots of people are saying it and it's so obviously true. He doesn't care about this world any more. If he did, he certainly wouldn't be working on other unrelated novels, running around on over-extended book tours, and basically ignoring this world that has made him a rich man and should surely be his passion. I'm a hobbyist-writer (I write for my own enjoyment), and when I write, I am immersed completely in the worlds I create. I can't wait to get back to my computer and see what my characters are doing, where they're going, and what's going to happen when they get there. And the story isn't over until it's OVER. The Song of Ice and Fire isn't over. Martin got us half way there with the first three books. The last 2 books have gotten us nowhere and introduced new characters that diminish the ones we love and muddy the waters of what was such a clear, beautiful stream - even if we couldn't see the sharp stones lurking at the bottom. He's lost his way. I honestly don't believe he'll find it again. I think we're doomed.

Something else that has occurred to me is the meaning of his powerful (and of course justified) enthusiasm for the HBO series. He loves taking about it, working on, espousing it's verifiable greatness. I believe that the reason he's so enamored with the HBO show is because it's a return to the first three books. To a time when he cared, when he had a purpose, when his story had a purpose. That purpose is gone. Tyrion rides pigs. Jon Snow's resurrection is a foregone conclusion and so suddenly death means nothing, and a boring, useless punk jackass Targaryen who doesn't show up until book FIVE gets to Westeros before Daenerys. Because she - Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, of the blood of Old Valyeria, who is the dragon's daughter, and would swear to you that those who would harm you will die screaming - is off in the east busy fretting about boys.

It's a terrible truth, but the journey is over. Thanks George.

Update: 8/15/2016. Now George is distancing himself from the HBO show and seems to be unhappy with it. Why? Because he's human, and he sees that the show is surpassing him and it makes him sad, or angry, or petulant (I've seen his interviews - I vote petulant). You should have paid more attention to your baby, George. At least for sake the loyal horde of readers you hooked with the first three books it's been adopted by parents who actually care.
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I am a huge George R.R. Martin fan - How big a fan you ask? I have watched every interview he ever did - most twice and I even paid to sit next to him at a banquet dinner and listen to his readings - I Love GRRM and I love the story of A Song of Ice and Fire. I'm not one of those hard-core fans that read the books when they first came out. I WISH! But I wasn't into much reading back when I was at my stupid corporate job. Now I have a life so I read. I love GRRM's story-telling, the characters, and the vivid insanely vivid imagination.

So here goes: A Dance with Dragons didn't make me lose sleep. I can't say that I "couldn't put it down" (as was the case with Stephen King's Misery!) but I can say that I enjoyed every chapter, every character - even the despicable ones which are so necessary to the story - every plot point, and I'm not one of those readers that judges how this story should go. GRRM is the master story teller here and it's his world. I am here to listen, to read, to devour A Song of Ice and Fire so bring it on, George.

A few more thoughts: While I LOVED this book and A Dance with Dragons did move the story forward, it also expanded it in ways I wonder about, it also gave POV to characters that I don't consider so "major" - Asha Greyjoy? Really?? - and it also spent way too much time over in Mereen and over with the crazy wacky pervert Bolton bastard. I suppose i just worry that there is no way in seven hells GRRM can wrap up every story line and every loose end in just 2 more books. Here's to hoping and to the agonizing waiting .... Hope you enjoyed my review :)
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on December 14, 2016
This is regarding the first 5 books. I loved the series on HBO first and wanted to enrich the experience by reading. Some of the storyline differs. In the books I met Balons brothers Aaeron and Victarion, Lady Stoneheart and saw some characters and scenes play out differently. The story is wonderful both ways. Both are rich and intriguing in their own right! If you've only seen the show, read! Mr. Martin is masterful at plot, geography and character development!
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on February 20, 2013
Fantasy has always been defined by the quality of "epicness" which turns off most mainstream audiences, but inspires fanatical obsession with a dedicated minority. The first 2-3 books of the GOT series were rightfully heralded as genuine crossovers because they managed to strike the right balance between the mainstream and the dedicated minority. However, the last two efforts by Martin have seen the epic universe increasingly used as a crutch to mask what has become a pretty tedious and muddled plot line centered around, well, plotting and the now way overdone theme of moral grey areas.

Of course, the various plots, sub plots, and sub sub plots of families vying for power and the moral ambiguity it creates is the stuff that made GOT what it is. However, what made it most interesting was the underlying sense of tension that we weren't just watching plotting for the sake of plotting. Instead, we were getting to know characters and the very rich backdrop of the world they were living in for the purposes of making it that much better when it actually...went somewhere.

Instead, A Dance With Dragons, much like a Feast For Crows before it, continues plodding along with the theme of a party of characters on one long, harrowing[epic] journey after another stumbling upon a new castle/ruin/city where a series of plots, conspiracies, and sex ensues. Rinse and repeat. Except, yes, for this go-round we are reunited with some beloved characters absent in FFF. Unfortunately, it's hard to care about them once you catch up, as they too fall into this same pattern.

The interest in the last 2 books really is being able to open up a new part of the map, so to speak. You will, of course, get to spend a lot of time in unexplored parts of the GOT universe in DWD. There are new/under-explored families, histories, etc. abound. But, the appeal for this is limited for most. That said, as a fan of the series and being a bit of a completionist, I read it, albeit struggling at times.

On the plus side, there's some potential for interesting story-lines later, for me at least. You get the sense that eventually, Arya's story could really go somewhere cool, if Martin doesn't get too caught up in the whole "tragic/dark twist" trope and say chops off her leg, thus not allowing her to be a heroine "V" that she so desperately needs to be. And, oh yeah, the whites and winter are supposedly coming, but you sort of forget that by now. Another plus is that the TV series will have to be more plot-focused, making me look forward to the series that much more. This is one TV series where I'm actually looking forward to what they cut from some of the books.
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