Book five in George R.R. Martin's epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire.
Book five in this series picks up where book three left off for certain characters. Book four, A Feast for Crows focuses on one set of characters and DWD takes the other half. We get a glimpse of a some characters from book four, but mostly its a different group.
I was honestly a little disappointed by this book. I think that is partially because of actual changes in Martin's writing and partially because of the six year wait for this book and surrounding hype. Martin was constantly saying how complicated plotlines were in this book and how everything was so hard to get to come together. I really fail to see how that's the case in DWD. There was very, very little resolution and plot advancement. Some complexity and characters were added, not much resolved.
Martin is famous for being the fantasy author that kills off major characters. There was a big surprise in book 1, and others later. Now though I think Martin is building himself a nice track record of implying characters are dead and then bringing them back. This is a trope of which I am not fond. Now every time a character dies or is said to be dead I assume they are coming back and roll my eyes. It sucks! It's better when writing plays for keeps. DWD even introduces dead characters where no previous clue was ever given that they lived. It's a little cheap.
Martin is also descending down the road of rape as a cheap plot device. If there is a character we aren't supposed to like, the clue we get is them raping people. Not real subtle or clever. Rape was a constant theme in DWD. I felt like I was reading those shitty Terry Goodkind books in places! Not cool. The Song of Ice and Fire setting has always been a harsh place where bad things happen, but this is different. This excessive use of rape as a plot device is lazy writing, I believe.
I always felt like Martin's characters of significance were all very dimensional and fleshed out. There are now major exceptions. There was one character especially in DWD who was apparently 100% evil with no motivations or character traits other than evil. Again, I was flashing back to reading those awful Terry Goodkind books with the shitty one dimensional villain Darken McDarkevil or whatever his name was. The story lacks realism and relevance if characters have no depth.
I did mostly enjoy reading this book. He is still a great fantasy author and this is a great fantasy series. I just think his writing and plot took a turn for the worse in this book. I am so invested in these characters that I found the lack of resolution frustrating. I just want to know what happens!! I hope the next book is better.
There were some unexpected gems in this book as well. A character who is sort of villainous in a subtle way gets her own POV chapter which is super cool and nuanced. A super cool twist occurs with the identity of another POV character. OK, maybe I was the only one honestly surprised by that. There were surprise visits from other characters I like, even though one or two were back from the dead, which is getting to be an expected trope. Every chapter was enjoyable and exciting. It just isn't clear why the book took 6 years and so much bitching by Martin about the complexity!!