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Review of A Dance With Dragons from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

Exciting

I enjoyed reading A Feast For Crows and the long wait since Feast was published left me hungry for more of A Song of Ice and Fire; A Dance With Dragons. I bought Dance the day it came out.

To start with I was thinking of giving up when the first half is about three characters who I thought of as boring and tedious but I persevered and finished the book in six weeks. In the second half of the novel the action picks up and I found it to be gripping in parts as new characters are introduced and the plot develops.

The authentic style used to create the story is sometimes difficult to palate with Martin’s brand of story-telling involving devices using repetitions of certain phrases and retellings of certain events to flesh out the imaginary fantasy world all creating friction with the reader.

I like how the author explores virgin territory in the imagination of the Fantasy Establishment in how the characters conduct themselves in the world he creates in A Song of Ice and Fire. I don't think they are going to collapse rather the vicarious character’s descriptions are the most original aspect of this series. Dance is written with the spirit of discovery in mind as more of the author’s fantasy world is revealed to the reader and this charmingly creates the sense of a fantasy adventure.

I noticed 5-6 typographical errors and also 2-3 grammatical errors in total which are a reasonably standard rate, given the length of about one thousand pages of the volume, in literature concerning oceanography and oil exploration. Even so I am keen to read the next instalment, ‘The Winds of Winter’, but I fear the author's organisation and discipline were slipping in a similar manner to the Wildling Hosts detailed in Dance.

George R. R. Martin’s descriptions of dragons were authoritatively excellent and I highly recommend this title as a starting point for the aspiring dragon lore enthusiast. Surely the author draws on reality to help him to write this fantastic series as this volume left me thinking about how some of the scenes portrayed relate to my own life and experience. Generally the book is inane.

What this book says to me is that you must take everyone seriously because they may turn out to just be bastards. A Dance With Dragons is reminiscent of the discussions about spontaneous self combustion in the nineties. That kind of talk definitely influenced the content along with Mulder and Scully in the X-Files.

Appendix:


My idea for a computer game based off the back of this series, set in Westeros, a Turn-Based Role Playing Game (Heroes of Might and Magic style) in which one develops a character or a group of characters (a faction) and interacts with the world and has to face different tasks at different levels or stages. Some challenges would be turn based/real time strategy development simulation (Heroes of Might and Magic/Red Alert 2/SimHospital), diplomacy simulations stages (develop personalities for subsidiary characters, based on online poker), trading stage simulation (Sid Meier's Pirates!, Dopewars), some would be first person action real time tasks (espionage like behind enemy lines or Morrowind), some would be developing troop equipment and training ability stages/Knightly tournament (training like Zelda), some would be real time tactical battle simulation (Dawn of War, Shogun). I think the game could be built up by the user to the level they want and could be easily just in the turn based RPG mode with the world hardly being affected. The single player campaign could be structured in levels to build up the player to play random scenarios. Once a profile is developed up to a certain stage (survive winter) the player could qualify to add the account to a server which is run 24 hours a day and played real time (Utopia/WoW) to see who can take over the world with their developed profile which would be autonomous when the user is not taking direct control. The whole game would be to survive winter (as your character or faction depending how you choose to play) or re-establish your profile in spring with the ability to become vassals of other profiles. Probably could add modules to your single player game or could develop the full potential profile on the online server (also could develop game engine online via campaigning in game armour and weapon upgrades etc via guilds) but would only be backed up as the profile saved on your computer.

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