BOOK REVIEW A Dance With Dragons

The darker side of sword and sorcery…

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Release Date : OUT NOW!
1,016 pages | £25
Author : George RR Martin
Publisher : Voyager

He couldn’t have timed it better. The long-awaited, much-delayed fifth volume of George RR Martin’s mind-boggling epic fantasy may have taken six years to arrive, but it’s also turned up in the wake of HBO’s Game Of Thrones TV adaptation becoming both a critical and ratings hit. While Martin’s taken flak for the delay,
A Dance With Dragons makes it clear he hasn’t been resting on his laurels.

Instead, this fifth volume is crammed to bursting with violence, betrayals, sex and plot-twists by the bucketload. Showcasing ferocious levels of detail and powerhouse plotting, it’s a thousand pages of the kind of dark and complex fantasy that fans have come to expect.

Once again we’re in the aftermath of the wars that nearly tore the Seven Kingdoms apart, and for the first time since volume three we finally catch up with characters like bitter dwarf Tyrion Lannister and Night’s Watch commander Jon Snow. However, while various families fight for control of Westeros, Daenerys Targaryen still aims to return with her dragons and claim the throne – but her enemies are massing, and even the dragons can’t be trusted…

Martin’s complex, demanding style means this is in no way new-reader-friendly. It’s also still one of the most uncompromising and mature fantasies out there, giving us a brutal, frequently shocking and full-blooded portrayal of an unforgiving medieval world. Expertly crafted and thoroughly gripping, the only real downside with this doorstop-sized whopper is the painful wait we’re undoubtedly going to have before the series’ next volume, The Winds Of Winter , finally arrives…

Saxon Bullock

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