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George R.R. Martin's 'A Dance With Dragons' is finally here

Adancewithdragons Readers have been waiting -- and waiting, and waiting -- for George R.R. Martin's "A Dance With Dragons," the fifth installment in his epic Song of Ice and Fire series. The fantasy novles are the basis for the HBO television series "Game of Thrones," which is between its first and second seasons.

Writer Jeff Vandermeer has our review of Martin's "A Dance With Dragons."

In the four previous volumes of this sprawling fantasy epic, which was inspired by England's War of the Roses in the 1400s, Martin has captivated readers with complex story lines, fascinating characters, great dialogue, perfect pacing, and the willingness to kill off even his major characters. His readers now number in the millions and a recent HBO series — "Game of Thrones" — based on the first installment in the series faithfully showcases all of Martin's strengths.

Was "A Dance With Dragons" worth the six-year wait? Absolutely. Indeed, Martin's decision to release a sizable chunk of his story-in-progress as the fourth installment — the underrated "A Feast for Crows" (2005) — now seems wise and actually generous to readers. Originally intended for release as one novel, "Feast" and "Dance" overlap in terms of the time period covered, but they are vastly different. "Feast" chronicled aftermath, the dying fall after the great battle that ended the third book, "A Storm of Swords." But "A Dance With Dragons," which overtakes "Feast" chronologically after about 600 of its 1,000 pages, functions more as a novel about exploration and quests.

I don't think there are any spoilers in the above, but the rest of the review may have one or two hints about what happens in the book, so read at your own risk.

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-- Carolyn Kellogg

 
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