Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Nearly six years after A Feast for Crows was released, Martin's long-awaited installment in his epic fantasy series will satiate his huge and hungry audience, as it picks up the action with favorite characters missing from the previous book. (LJ Xpress Reviews, 7/15/11) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
A few images recur in the enormously complex fifth installment of Martin's massively multicharacter epic: the chess-like game cyvasse, small rivers flowing into larger ones, ships and armies battered by terrible storms. These themes suggest that readers should think strategically, be patient as the story grows, and brace for a beating. Martin's fans, however, are hungry for more action and purpose, their appetites whetted by a six-year wait and the recent HBO adaptation of A Game of Thrones. Dance was originally the second half of 2005's A Feast for Crows, sometimes criticized for shifting from battles and intrigue to slow trudges through war-torn, corpse-littered Westeros. The new volume has a similar feel to Feast and takes place over a similar time frame; Martin keeps it fresh by focusing on popular characters Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, and Jon Snow, all notably absent from the previous book. These three are generally thought the most plausible riders of the titular dragons, but plots within plots abound, and two strong new candidates for those scaly saddles emerge as a powerful enemy threatens Daenerys's captured city of Meereen, Tyrion is kidnapped by slavers, and treachery undermines Jon's command of the undead-battling Night's Watch. More characters are revived than killed off and more peace accords signed than wars declared, but the heart-hammering conclusion hints that the next installment will see a return to the fiery battles and icy terror that earned the series its fanatic following. Even ostensibly disillusioned fans will be caught up in the interweaving stories, especially when Martin drops little hints around long-debated questions such as Jon's parentage. Author tour. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
This fifth book in Martin's acclaimed fantasy saga is the much-anticipated companion to the 2005 A Feast for Crows, covering different characters and locations within the same time frame. Tyrion Lannister, the fugitive kinslayer, travels from Pentos to Meereen on the fringes of others' quests to rule Westeros, his astonishing adaptability evident as he goes from captive to conspirator to slave to mercenary without losing his tactical influence. Jon Snow, commander of the Night's Watch, courts betrayal in his attempts to balance his duties to the Wall, to Stannis Baratheon, and to the wildlings. Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons, is faced with a difficult quandary: return to Westeros to pursue her claim to the throne or stabilize conquered Meereen before it buckles under insurrection. Integral appearances by Bran Stark, Theon Greyjoy, Quentyn Martell, and numerous others show Martin gathering and tightening the myriad threads connecting his characters. This volume doesn't tie up many loose ends, but it delivers the tension, political intrigue, emotional impact, and moral ambiguousness that fans expect, and the sinister conclusion foretells a bloody return.--Hutley, Krist. Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
A Game of Thrones, 1996, etc.) Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series. Fans of the author's work will likely be satisfied with this volume ipso facto, for it's vintage Martin: It's a little cynical, plenty dark, with not many laughs and, truth be told, not much action. There's the usual blend of exposition, sometimes seemingly endless, and the usual swords-and-sorcery dialogue: "The plunder from Astapor was much less than you were promised in Volantis, and I took the lion's share of it." "Two kings to wake the dragon. The father first and then the son, so both die kings." "False friends, treacherous servants, men who had professed undying love, even her own bloodall of them had deserted her in her hour of need." Martin has been likened to J.R.R. Tolkien, but Tolkien was never quite so ponderous, and certainly not so obsessed with bodily functions of various sorts: "The Grand Maester befouled himself in dying, and the stink was so abominable that I thought I might choke." "When you bugger a man you expect a squeal or two." Indeed. Apart from all that, this volume furthers Martin's long tale of a vast world war of the kind that sweeps through Middle Earth in LOTR, though some of the characters seem to have lost their taste for it; the once-scary Tyrion Lannister mostly mopes around, alternately insomniacal and prurient, while out on The Wall the stalwart Jon Snow comes over all Hamlety, wondering what to do, soliciting input and then keeping his own counsel. A few hundred pages of this, and one longs in vain for piles of headless corpses and flesh singed with the fire of dragon breath--something, anything, to induce a squeal. Is Ice and Fire drawing to a close? There's plenty of wiggle room for more volumes in the series, but on the evidence, one wonders if Martin isn't getting a little tired of it.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.