The fifth (or second half of the fourth) book in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy saga, A Dance With Dragons is told from the viewpoint of 18 different characters, some of whom we have been introduced to before and some of whom are new. Various cliffhangers from previous novels are resolved or quite firmly unresolved or set aside for the following books, while characters we have not heard of and in several cases were quite dead emerge to play their part in the vast over-riding plot which quite possibly still could be control over Westeros and an epic battle between ice zombies and dragons.

Uh, let's try that again.

Before publishing the fourth book, A Feast For Crows in 2005, Martin announced that it and A Dance With Dragons would be a pair, one tracking certain characters, many of whom we've not had the pleasure of knowing about before, and the other still more characters as the fourth was 'too long'. Six years later, after several backtracks, semi-guarded promises and recalcitrant pronouncements, A Dance With Dragons was published with a print page count of over 1000 and quickly surged to various best-seller lists. The main reason for this had a bit to do with the broadcast of the TV series 'Game of Thrones' on HBO, which adapted the first book of the cycle. The first two-thirds of the book is meant to be following a narrative set in the same time-frame of AFFC, and a bit more following that after that, although by about half-way through this rule is thrown out the window and the narrative and timeline jumps forward, back a little, then further on. It can't really be pinned down as although there are a hundred or so pages of maps and 'House-Trees' there isn't a timeline appendix.

Damnit, this doesn't work either.

Ok, A Dance With Dragons is the fifth book of the currently proposed 7 book epic A Song of Ice and Fire, written by Gory Rape aRse Master and published in the summer of 2011, just a few months after the HBO adaptation of the first book of the series premiered to much attention and acclaim. Fans and readers were not to be disappointed by the inclusion of: assault, betrayal, vast world building, cliffhangers, and stock phrases like 'You know nothing, Jon Snow' and 'A Lannister pays his debts'. New elements include: more than one epic scene involving the dragons, with many people burnt to a crisp; the introduction of not one but two trios of adventurers of which one of their party is a Prince; much of the book taking place off Westeros, either on the sea where much raping and pillaging are had, in siege camps where plague and/or backstabbing runs rife, or various cities where everyone looks at each other suspiciously and has suspicious thoughts; a delightful come-uppance to a certain prideful character who gets shaved all over and paraded through a city; and last but not least a dwarf who jousts on a pig.

Aw, fuck it.

A Dance with Dragons. Yet another tome that I only read because I'd just read all the others in the series. A chapter at a time I went through it on my Kindle before falling asleep, which this turned out very useful in encouraging. The main downside to reading this on an 'Electronic Paper' device was that the 'percentage read' seemed to hardly increase. However, I saved wrist strain as well was prevented from throwing a heavy book across the room and breaking things. Whereas A Feast of Crows had interminable scenes of people being sick on boats or wandering flooded forests or standing at seashores hoping to drown people or pining after their sister while wheedling out truces, it at least had... shit, I don't remember any more. Oh, right, hardly any rape and bleeding out. This volume has: raping and bleeding out on the sea, raping and the memory of bleeding out in castles, the hope of raping as well as some bleeding out in snow, the threat of rape as well as bleeding out in the city, frostbite and more threat of rape in snow, and bleeding and burning and trampling in other cities. And I didn't give a flying penis-skin about any of the people being bled, stabbed, tortured, raped, betrayed, spit on, plague-ridden, or dragon-roasted. Not a single iota of concern, empathy or even admiration for the plot-twists-out-of-nowhere-that-I-should-have-expected-as-it-hadn't-happened-for-a-few-chapters. In the entire book there are two chapters that progress the over-all story and delve into the supposed over-arching mythos. Well, maybe just one, and this takes place near the beginning. The other involves dragon rampage and actually might just be there for something visual to relate to. The rest of the book is a Shaggy Dire-wolf story, with the same punchline as the previous books: when you get stuck writing, just end the chapter (if near the end of the book, kill or 'maybe-kill' the person in focus that chapter) and start the next with someone at the opposite end of the world (for added fun, make it be someone who was maybe-killed, or someone new with no personality or suggestion they existed beforehand).

A 'Haiku' review:

A Dance with Dragons: wait for tv adaption, they'll cut out the rot.

Bonus copy-and-pasted ASCII art of dragon with fire, with apologies to blind readers:

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