Author: George R.R. Martin
I really liked it. This was my commute read, and I think that aided in my enjoyment. A lot goes on, and if I ever did have a moment where I’d read as long as I’d like, I would get tired after a while. My commute kept me to a chapter, or a good chunk of story. I’d stop at a good resting point, or a natural cliff-hanger. Even though it would be nice if the majority of the story stayed on the Westeros continent, I actually really enjoyed the expansion of Braavos, the Free Cities, and the old Ghiscari cities. They are what happens when an empire falls, and they are what Westeros will become. Maybe, but in social science theory, most likely. I’m satisfied with where we left Daenerys. It was frustrating to watch her get politically played, and seeing her now in a position to potentially kick ass makes me happy.
The only thing that I didn’t like [spoiler] is that Asha Greyjoy didn’t die. One of strengths of the series is the tact of using third-person POV of key players in the greater story. As things evolve, some characters no longer get a POV, and minor players who become major players can get a POV. In fact, it’s a good way to introduce a new part of the greater world by giving us a new character to care about. And this is a reflection of real life. Minor players become major players. Also, a minor character with a POV can be used to give the reader insight into the workings of the world Martin has created. However, just because a minor character is colorful, doesn’t necessarily mean they deserve a POV status. When I thought Asha died, I was happy. It was a dramatic death, her death would have been impactful to the greater story, and it meant one less character to worry about. Asha started as a minor player on her way to being a major player, but she never got there. And I don’t think she ever will be a major player in the greater story. So, it was a bit of a relief to see her go. And then she turned up alive and I was kinda annoyed.
I reread the first four books before reading A Dance with Dragons, and I can see myself doing that again for the sixth book. With such an expansive story, reading things straight through keeps me in the world. I’m not sure A Dance with Dragons is worth a reread on its own merits, but as an act in the larger series it’s enjoyable. And I’ll look forward to reading it again.