Dancing Days – J. A. Bove

Epic! This is a word my son says when he wants to describe something that’s totally cool to him. I find it’s a word very commonly misused in the English language. The dictionary defines the word as: a long poem, typically one derived from ancient oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the history of a nation. When it comes to the latest George R. R. Martin book entitled, ‘A Dance with Dragons’, released in July of 2011, I think epic is an appropriate use of the word.

Dragons is the 5th book in the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series and it certainly lived up to some very long awaited expectations. Keep in mind that Mr. Martin plans on releasing two more novels in this series to complete this very long ‘what he considers’ trilogy. The book in itself was nine hundred and fifty nine pages, so the reading of this latest saga was indeed, epic. Granted, it’s been a busy holiday season, but I admit, it did take me much longer to complete than I originally anticipated.

That stated, now that I’ve completed this book, I admit, I wish there was even more to read. Although this was the fifth book in the series, the story line itself is more of a continuation from A Storm of Swords (book number three in the series and my personal favorite) written back in 2000. I had to admit, trying to remember exactly what happened the last time I read this series, especially going back to Swords was a bit daunting. I originally thought it would be a continuation of the series from the last book released, A Feast of Crows, back in 2005, but in soon reading, I recalled how in Crows, they omitted some of my favorite characters.

No worries, Martin brought them all back in book five. We got to revisits such favorites like Jon Stark, Daenerys Targaryen, & of course everyone’s favorite imp, Tyrion Lannister. Not only does Martin re-introduce these classic characters, but at the end of the novel he begins to tie in both story lines (Swords & Crows) by bringing back, even if in little does, Jamie Lannister, Arya Stark, and of course everyone’s favorite queen to hate, Cersei Lannister.

The story was a bit confusing to follow at first. There were many great storylines entwined into one another that you had to claw back from your memory to try and remember them all. For his part, Mr. Martin does do a good job of recalling what happened to some of his past heroes with little snippets here and there of good old Eddard Stark, Rob Stark, and Tywin Lannister, etc. It doesn’t take long for you to get completely absorbed back into the story line once again.

For any fan of the series, this is without question a must read. For any new comers who are just getting into the story line, thanks to HBO, do yourself a favor and start with A Game of Thrones. Mr. Martin has been labeled the American Tolkien and for good reason. There are five great books to read, and it only takes one to get hooked. For my part, I thoroughly enjoyed Dragons, and as always, I look forward to the next in the series. I’m particularly looking forward to reuniting all of the characters under one cover once again. I just hope I don’t have to wait another six years before it’s released.

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