Book Review: A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

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General Fiction > Fantasy

(A Song of Ice and Fire #5)

n the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance — beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House 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. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys’s claim to Westeros forever.

Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone — a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.

Literary Awards: Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel (2001), Nebula Award Nominee (2002), Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel (2001), Geffen Award for Best Translated Fantasy Book (2002), Ignotus (2006)

Book 1: A Game of Thrones review

Book 2: A Clash of Kings review

Book 3: A Storm of Swords review

Book 4: A Feast for Crows review

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I might be one of the minority who thinks that A Feast for Crows is better than A Dance with Dragons.

Jon Snow started strong in this installment. A show of strength and terror from the bastard to his fellow Brothers was remarkable.

Reek, Reek. My name is Reek, it rhymes with sneak.

My most favorite character! Oh, how tables have turned. And how cruelly fitting for a traitor like him.

Davos Seaworth‘s POV is like a seesaw, but always interesting. Either his actions are totally helping Stannis‘ cause, or ruining it. The way George R.R. Martin takes this secondary character to new heights, making Davos’ importance in line with those of the main, was awesome.

And what to make of Tyrion? A tiresome adventure for the Imp, but overall rewarding to fans like me. How far will his wits keep him alive? It is his chapters that made me nervous!

Jaime‘s chapter gave me hope. Seeing the character I came to love in A Feast for Crows was quite a relief. 🙂

Arya‘s chapters were not enough. It left me craving, craving for more. Her loneliness and despair is starting to get to me. Sigh.

Jon Snow‘s last chapter was the bomb. This is the reason why I cannot sit still for The Winds of Winter. I need to know where Jon Snow’s story will lead. The heartbreak is killing me. 😦

Daenerys? I hate her. What has become of the queen of dragons?!!! I am so indignant with the way she’s acted here. *exhales deeply*

A Dance with Dragons gave more frustration than satisfaction. And so the wait for The Winds of Winter begins. :))

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A DANCE WITH DRAGONS by George R.R. Martin

Paperback, Part 1: 690 pages | Part 2: 560 pages

Published March 15th 2012 by Harper Voyager
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4/5 stars

Challenge: 2014 Off-the-Shelf Challenge

I PLEDGE TO READ THE PRINTED WORD.

offtheshelf2014

MAKING A DENT: Choose 30 books to read

Forgive me if I will utter just a few words in this post. As OC as I am, I just need to see where I’m at with this challenge to push me into completing it.

(Aside from writing reviews, looks to me I am still in a blogging slump.)

*sigh*

HERE WE GO!

  1. A Feast for CrowsGeorge R.R. Martin [4/5]
  2. Red DragonThomas Harris [3/5]
  3. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman [5/5]
  4. The Gray Wolf ThroneCinda Williams Chima [4/5]
  5. Lover AvengedJ.R. Ward [3/5]
  6. Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn [4/5]
  7. Evil at Heart, Chelsea Cain [3/5]
  8. A Dance with Dragons: Dreams and Dust, George R.R. Martin [4/5]
  9. A Dance with Dragons: After the Feast, George R.R. Martin [4/5]
  10. The Stranger, Albert Camus [2/5]
  11. Lover Mine, J.R. Ward [3/5]
  12. The 5th Wave, Rick Yancey [5/5]

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I am currently reading my copies of Lover Unleashed and The Night Season. So including those two, I am almost halfway through this challenge. *fist pump*

I still have a book shelf full of TBR books, but at least, I am no longer hoarding. It’s been 2 months since I last bought a book. See, progress!

maria

Book Review: A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

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General Fiction > Fantasy

(A Song of Ice and Fire #4)

Crows will fight over a dead man’s flesh, and kill each other for his eyes.

Bloodthirsty, treacherous and cunning, the Lannisters are in power on the Iron Throne in the name of the boy-king Tommen. The war in the Seven Kingdoms has burned itself out, but in its bitter aftermath new conflicts spark to life.

The Martells of Dorne and the Starks of Winterfell seek vengeance for their dead. Euron Crow’s Eye, as black a pirate as ever raised a sail, returns from the smoking ruins of Valyria to claim the Iron Isles. From the icy north, where Others threaten the Wall, apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly brings a mysterious babe in arms to the Citadel.

Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory will go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel and the coldest hearts.

Literary Awards: Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel (2006)

Book 1: A Game of Thrones review       Book 2: A Clash of Kings review       Book 3: A Storm of Swords review

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POVs of Cersei and Brienne are favorites. I want more, George R.R. Martin!

As much as I love Tyrion’s and Dany’s chapters (they are absent here), a Feast for Crows served me enough to fulfill my Westeros appetite. And to know what Cersei’s thinking was a big plus!

This installment was focused on King’s Landing, and the characters based there and/or travelling within the lands that Lannisters have either won or under their siege. No matter the absence of Dany’s dragons, or of the Wall’s magic, I plowed through the pages, with Cersei’s and Brienne’s incredible POVs to entertain me. Woot!

Cersei can intrigue her way to the throne, but she cannot hold the power that she sought for so long. Ha! Here’s to your upcoming suffering, whore. 😀

Jaime‘s finally gaing his wits. His paternal role and feelings are starting to surface. (I am really starting to love Kingslayer.)

Brienne‘s adventures took her to everywhere but the place she wanted to be: where Sansa Stark is, so she can finally redeem herself. Her battle scene against the sellswords was fantastic. But that ending of her last chapter… what irony!

Samwell is way over his head. But his journey (I think) leads to Dany’s story so it’s pretty interesting to read.

Cat of the Canals, you are awesome. I worship you!

Secondary characters are solid and fun to see, it’s as if they have POVs in the series all along. And those Dornish people are dangerous, so better watch out for them.

A Feast of Crows is not a favorite among my GR friends, but given what I just read, it was better than I expected. (Well, except for Littlefingers. You pervert!)

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A FEAST FOR CROWS by George R.R. Martin

Paperback, 854 pages

Published November 6th 2006 by Voyager
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4/5 stars

Book Review: A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

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General Fiction > Fantasy

(A Song of Ice and Fire #3)

The Seven Kingdoms are divided by revolt and blood feud, and winter approaches like an angry beast. Beyond the Northern borders, wildlings leave their villages to gather in the ice and stone wasteland of the Frostfangs. From there, the renegade Brother Mance Rayder will lead them South towards the Wall.

Robb Stark wears his new-forged crown in the Kingdom of the North, but his defences are ranged against attack from the South, the land of House Stark’s enemies the Lannisters. His sisters are trapped there, dead or likely yet to die, at the whim of the Lannister boy-king Joffrey or his depraved mother Cersei, regent of the Iron Throne.

And Daenerys Stormborn will return to the land of her birth to avenge the murder of her father, the last Dragon King on the Iron Throne.

Literary Awards: Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel (2001), Nebula Award Nominee (2002), Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel (2001), Geffen Award for Best Translated Fantasy Book (2002), Ignotus (2006)

Book 1: A Game of Thrones review       Book 2: A Clash of Kings review

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I should’ve learned my lesson from A Game of Thrones, that anything and everything will never be what it seems.

A Storm of Swords left me open-mouthed (literally), especially when the Red Wedding took place. There I was, reading leisurely on a Sunday afternoon, when I got the shock of my ASoIaF reading life. So cruel! And yet so grudgingly cunning.

New POVs are introduced: Jaime Lannister and Samwell Tarly. I actually enjoyed Jaime’s, I mean, who wouldn’t want to know what’s join on inside the Kingslayer’s head? Whatever befell Jaime in ASoS made him change his mind on what the Lannisters are all about. He was running blind, taking orders from who and for what, without asking. But now, ah, Jaime’s not as compliant as before, not anymore. Cersei and Tywin were aghast about that.

Jon’s journey is equally absorbing. The war between the kings seems child’s play with what Jon and the brothers of the Night Watch have to face. And those bleak scenes at the Wall, those hopeless actions against the Others and the Wildlings — a terrific treat to my fantasy appetite.

Catelyn‘s POV are heartbreaking. Such defiance, and ominous pride for a Stark! Arya‘s plight is getting worse after every chapter. I cannot believe the strength in this skinny girl. Unbelievably daunting.

Tyrion. Oh, Tyrion! Dare I say you have the biggest balls amongst the players in the game of thrones? The many, many pages of A Storm of Swords were deduced to nothing, nothing(!) because of the spectacular ending you gave me. *fist pump*

Best installment so far. 😀 Vengeance will soon be ours.

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A STORM OF SWORDS by George R.R. Martin

Paperback, Part 1: 623 pages | Part 2: 554 pages

Published April | September 2001 by Voyager
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5/5 stars

Book Review: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

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General Fiction > Fantasy

Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over and age of enforced peace are dead…victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.

As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky—a comet the color of blood and flame—six factions struggle for control of a divided land. Eddard’s son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming courtiers who teem over King’s Landing. Robert’s two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers.

A Clash of Kings transports us into a magnificent, forgotten land of revelry and revenge, wizardry and wartime. It is a tale in which maidens cavort with madmen, brother plots against brother, and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside.

Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory may be measured in blood. And the spoils of victory may just go to the  men and women possessed of the coldest steel…and the coldest hearts. For when rulers clash, all of the land feels the tremors.

Literary Awards: Nebula Award Nominee for Best Novel (2000), Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel (1999), Ignotus for Novela extranjera (2004)

Book 1: A Game of Thrones review

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A Clash of Kings renewed my interest to George R.R. Martin and his ASoIaF series. This sequel is fantastic to the core, living up to it’s epic popularity among fantasy lovers like me. Let me air this out, though: Tyrion FTW!

900+ pages is no joke to plow through, but the war, politics and never-ending game of thrones were more than enough to push, push me to finish this chunkster. And what an awesome experience it was to finally get to the end!

Daenerys. The exiled queen is getting stronger in character. So much love for this Targaryen. 🙂
Theon Greyjoy. A joy to read from his POV at the start, but when he begins his betrayal, I want him to not die, but suffer from torture for a very, very long time.
Arya. I admire this willful child. I will watch out for her POVs in the upcoming books.
Catelyn. I’m beginning to fall in love with Cat’s chapters. Who wouldn’t? A mom like me will truly understand what Cat’s going through. Oh, the hurt and despair!
Tyrion. He is from House Lannister, but it was impossible to not applaud him for his cunning and bravery. Such big guns from a freaky dwarf, eh? 😉

The ending left me mad.. for more.

A Clash of Kings is one of the best fantasy sequels out there. It’s a definite must read for anyone who read A Game of Thrones and thought it was just so-so.

Vengeance. I want it from the next books.

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A CLASH FO KINGS by George R.R. Martin

Paperback, 913 pages

Published 2003 by Voyager
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5/5 stars

Book Review: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

RATING: StarStarStar

(A Song of Ice and Fire #1)

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

Literary Awards: 1998 Nebula Award Nominee; 1997 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel

*****

Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’
‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.

DISHEARTENING.

A Game of Thrones just got personal. I was warned that GRRM has a habit of killing off characters, may they be decent or not. But oh, was I enraged when he did kill one of the main leads and another one worth pitting with the lords and knights fighting for power. It doesn’t make any freakin’ sense to me for an author to build characters so strong, solid and has potential to emerge victorious and then cut off their roles JUST. LIKE. THAT. I did not even get to see how they are in action/battle to justify their stature made by Martin. Ugh.

Tyrion is my favorite character, no doubt about that. Followed by Dany, Arya and Jon. I have a love/hate relationship with Catelyn but I hate her mad sister Lissa more. How I wish Sansa was beheaded then put on an iron spike. Ned… oh, he’s such a disappointing character. Martin constantly wrote about the hardness and of Winterfell Lords, but Ned just fell short for me. Khal Drogo grew on me and I find myself really liking him. Cersei deserves to be queen – cunning, cruel, and cold. If she were on the good side, I could’ve loved her more, but I think she’s more fitting to be a villain so that’s fine with me. Robb gets very interesting, I would’ve like to read his POV. I don’t know where I stand with Varys – he’s complex. Can someone strangle Littlefingers for me? Or cut off his tongue and feed it to the ravens. Joffrey will get his due, I bet on that. I’m so itching to put his head on the spike as well. Bronn, he leapt out of the pages and made a fan out of me!

The story is incredible. There’s a new twist for each chapter end. I was endlessly shocked and left to brood on what will happen next. Martin’s writing is consistent considering the alternating POVs from an adult (ex. Ned) to a child (ex. Bran) for the book chapters. After nursing my bruises over the dead Martin left me with, I was amused and maybe sporting a little smile on how the book ended. Oh yeah, Dany is one bad-ass dragon heir!

A Game of Thrones is truly a great read. I still recommend it to fantasy readers out there, but writing off strong characters the way Martin did left me with a very, very bitter taste on my mouth. Until I’ve coped with my grief over ___ and _____, I won’t read A Clash of Kings. I may opt to just wait for it on HBO and watch it instead. That’s how pissed I was.

The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.

#12 Off-the-Shelf Reading Challenge 2011

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”