Friday, 3 June 2011

First review of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Publisher's Weekly has published the first (and slightly spoilerific) review of A Dance with Dragons.

The general vibe of the review is positive, but it suggests that the novel has the same 'feel' as A Feast for Crows, despite more important events due to the book's focus on more popular and plot-centric characters like Tyrion, Jon and Daenerys.

The biggest complaint - though one we already knew about - is that the book leaves things teetering on the brink for the sixth volume which, of course, is years away from publication.

Given that no ARCs are being published for the novel, it is unclear how many more reviews we will see before the book's publication in five and a half weeks.

UPDATE: Lev Grossman (of The Magicians fame) has also just Tweeted that he is reading ADWD now and "It's great." He'll be writing a review for TIME Magazine.


Brett said...

Talk about dropping a serious Tyrion spoiler in the middle of an otherwise spoiler-easy review.

Bill said...

Good catch, Adam.

In some ways, it seems logical that ADWD would flow more like AFFC, considering the events are (presumably) happening simultaneously.

Perhaps the emphasis as of late has been onto the gap between works, but every time I've read or read a book in the series, it has always ended with me wanting more. I don't really see why that shouldn't happen here.

Along those lines, I don't think we're going to see major resolutions until Book 7, and as such, this book should be what they say it is.

Either way, I'm certain that this is the most anticipated fiction of 2012. Thanks for the link.

Adam Whitehead said...

I think there is a general expectation of more resolution and bigger events than at least AFFC, since ADWD appears to mark the end of the second 'act' of the series and potentially wraps up a lot of action in one of the key locales in the series, or so was indicated by information released over the years.

The review might be slightly disheartening viewed on that level, though 'the book's just scene-setting until the end when all hell breaks loose' can still achieve the same end. Overall, the review is too vague to draw more than very general feelings from.

"Either way, I'm certain that this is the most anticipated fiction of 2012."

I think I'm anticipating the new Christopher Priest more, but then his last book was published in 2002, making even the wait for ADWD feel torturous :-)

Anonymous said...

This sounds very disheartening. That book 6 will "probably" be a return to the tone of the first 3 books does not bode well for book 5, the book we have been waiting 6 years for. I suspect the backlash for another (possibly) AFFC could be huge. I hope it’s better than it sounds.

Adam Whitehead said...

I read that bit to just mean that Book 5 doesn't have as many battle sequences as the first three. There still could be any number of small engagements, and of course major plot advancement is possible without huge battles. However, we were expecting one major battle, and the lack of the 'icy terror' aspect is discouraging since a lot of fans were expecting the Others to play a larger role in Book 5 than ever before.

Russ said...

Not freaking out over a single, rather short, review.

However, expectations ARE through the roof with this book and if it is anywhere close to AFFC in pacing and lack of movement forward, the backlash will indeed be significant.

Wastrel said...

Expectations SHOULDN'T have been high. We've known all along that most of it would be contemporaneous in action with AFFC, which rather rules out any major developments Oop North, since Cersei may be stupid but would probably have been told in an army of zombies had reached the Neck. And given that we know Dany doesn't reach Westeros during AFFC, that means that, barring some major derailment of her apparent arc, not much will happen there either. Indeed, important people don't even set out for her until near the end of AFFC, so she's sort of pinned down. And it wouldn't then make sense to have everything explode, say, 75% of the way through ADWD. So almost inevitably we're looking at a slow novel of set-up and scenic diversions, with hopefully some big developments right at the end.

That's not the fault of this book. That's the fault of having these two books, and of Martin not realising at first that he needed them, and of Martin failing to compress them into just one book rather than two, and of Martin's very slow progress on the second half of the duology. Those things all mandated a release schedule (or lack of one) that has created expectations among the fanbase that could not possibly be met, given what we know about what this book has to be.

Adam Whitehead said...

Only the first half of ADWD is concurrent with AFFC. At about the 50-55% mark, it catches up with the end of AFFC and major developments can take place after that point, as well as the reintroduction of AFFC characters.

That said, with the travel times involved it does indicate that Dany's invasion of Westeros will not happen in this book (unless there's a several-months timejump in the last few chapters, it's highly improbable she even reaches Westeros). I suspect her story arc will culminate with her setting out for Westeros. Unless that as a minimum happens, I don't see how the series can be wrapped up in seven volumes.

Ellroy said...

Well, honestly, I can't see how the series will be wrapped up in 7 volumes even if Dany set up for Westeros at the end of ADWD.

There are still too many unresolved storylines and the format of the series with his POV structure is not flexible enough to allow simpler solution.

So, maybe I'm wrong, but I think that at the end the series will be 8/9 books long. Or maybe TWoW and ADoS will be something like 2000 pages long books divided in two volumes.

Anonymous said...

Nah, there's not going to be any serious backlash. People waited 5 years for Feast and got a book lacking in many fan favorite characters, but it did come with a mention that the next book would be finished in the following year.

That's a huge difference from the book that Dance is, which is filled with Jon, Tyrion, and Dany chapters.

Also, most people won't be expecting TWoW till at least 2014-15.

Jebus said...

I've got the vaguest feeling that it ends with Dany landing in Westeros or, as Adam says, at least heading there.

Avantika said...

When will you get your review copy, Adam?

Adam Whitehead said...

"When will you get your review copy, Adam?"

No idea if I am, and if I do it's likely to be a few days before release at best. No ARCs and the few bound proofs that have been created have been sent to high-profile venues (Publisher's Weekly, TIME and io9). Amongst the bloggers, I think only Pat is likely to get a really early copy.