So, now that I have finished A Dance With Dragons I am up to date on the Song of Ice and Fire. It's been a summer-long project that has stretched into Fall--guess I'm not a fast reader. My perspective is a little different in that I have swallowed the whole thing in one sitting, as opposed to reading the series over 15 years as some have done.
I confess to being slightly relieved at having finished the series to this point. Not that it wasn't entertaining, it certainly was. The craftsmanship in this work is excellent, second to none. It's a comfortable read, knowing that the author is keeping careful track of 1000 plus characters and taking the time (five years, in this case) to sort out the plot.
What may be tiring me a bit is that it is very much beginning to feel like a soap opera. Soap operas can be very entertaining in their subplots. Will Tyrion ever find happiness, or at least Tysha? Are the Starks truly crushed now that Jon Snow is slain and the children have gone to ground? Will Daenarys Targaryen get her act together, or will her brother take the lead, or what? Would we actually want any of these families to prevail?
But fantasies aren't soap operas, at least not the ones I like. They build toward something. Rather the opposite of The Wheel of Time, where one knows exactly where the whole thing is headed. Maybe too much the opposite, but the Lord of the Rings wasn't. Nor was Harry Potter. This series aims for comparison to the above, at least in popularity, so the comparison is fair. The Hundred Years' War was actually 127 years long, all told, and this series takes a lot from it. It's Westeros Lives of the Rich and Famous, and like life it goes on.
We do get some hints in this volume about the price of progress--perhaps Valyria was too advanced, and discovered something that brought about the Doom. That's very Fantasy. They seem to have invented Cyvasse, or chess, in this book. It's a good read, but I'm not as anxious as some for the next one. I can wait.
I took advantage of an e-reader glitch to read this as an e-book from my local library. Simply loaded it to my old Kindle and turned off the wireless, and had as much time as I needed to complete it. Since I could not renew this was the only way a library loan was practical. We'll see if they ever close that.
Give this one three stars, like the rest.