Sunday, April 29, 2012

Review of George R.R. Martin's A Dance with Dragons

Mr. Martin once again demonstrates his brilliance in A Dance with Dragons, the latest installment of his A Song of Ice and Fire series and the sequel to A Feast for Crows.  At about 1,000 pages in length, the hardcover version is a weighty tome--literally and figuratively--it is simultaneously hard to put down and hard to hold up.
Mr. Martin continues his literary device of having each chapter be told from the point of view of a single character.  In Feast, Martin did not have room to continue the stories of several of the characters from his previous books; in Dance, he remedies this situation by going back in the timeline to tell their stories.  About half way through, he brings all the stories to the “present day.”

The genius of Mr. Martin’s writing lies in his ability to make the point of view of the character in question so compelling that the reader cannot help but root for that character as he reads--even for the loathsome ones.  Heroes become villains, and villains become sympathetic characters.  And, as usual, no good deed a character does seems to go unpunished--nothing is sacred, and no one is safe.

My only criticism:  I had to wait too long for Dance, and it ended too soon for me despite its length.  But, if there is one personal lesson that I have learned from creating the Songs of Eretz, it is this:  carefully crafted writing and fantasy world building take time--but are worth the wait.       

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