One of my goals for 2015 is to get back to my roots and read more books. As the great Frederick Douglass said, ‘Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.’ Books are a passion – nay, an obsession of mine and always have been. I grew up in the library and my parents fostered my love of reading and learning. With books I have lived a thousand lives, found myself absorbed in different worlds, and learned immensely more than I could have otherwise. So put up your feet, grab a good paperback and let’s get reading!
In ‘A Dance with Dragons’ by George R.R. Martin the characters appear to have mostly lost what illusions they may have had when the epic series ‘A Song of Fire and Ice’ began. Outbreaks of violence are common, the illusions of security are shattered for many, and factionalism in the Night’s Watch leaves the whole world under threat.
What Dragons has going for it is something sorely missing from Feast: Tyrion Lannister. The noble-born Tyrion is a sarcastic dwarf whose quick wits, sharp tongue, and tragic sensibility make him the closest thing the series has to a soul. In Dragons, Tyrion is stuck maneuvering to stay alive on a continent far from Westeros where a parallel drama has been developing. Daenerys Targaryen has risen from being the teen bride of a desert lord in the first book to a victorious queen intent on reconquering Westeros, with an army of fearless eunuchs and three dragons (a species long thought long extinct) at her back.
The novel as a whole suffers from a lack of cohesion—a likely result of the fact that it was meant to be the second half of one overly long novel (Martin hacked off the first part to make ‘A Feast for Crows’). Each book is less a stand-alone volume than it is one section in a continuous novel that seems to have the ability to keep spinning itself into multi-strand plotlets forever. Each of the plots that Martin has set on course in his earlier books keeps humming along without a hitch. It’s a fantastic read that sometimes frustrates and deviates, (focus, George, focus!) but more often than not enthralls as the greatest epic adventure fiction should.
Click here to see my goals for 2015