The latest entry to the A Song of Ice and Fire, A Dance with Dragons was released recently and I was very excited to borrow it from my friend. It actually took me a while to finish it, but I certainly enjoyed it more that I did A Feast for Crows.
Once again, Martin introduces a few new characters, which seems to be pretty late in the game to be introducing key characters. Some of the characters are not new, per se, but were previously thought to be dead. Many of my favourite characters, like Jaime Lannister and Petyr Baelish, are not given much space in the book. Those characters that are usually the centre of action do not really have much to do either, including Tyrion and Anya. However, parts of the book were really interesting and still really detailed. The ending chapters have some kind really shocking events, but it is hard to take the deaths as seriously as one did in the earlier novels.
Dance with Dragons feels like a placeholder for the next book, as none of the main characters seem to move anywhere, with the notable exception of Bran and the Reed siblings. A lot of things happen to and about the characters, and much of the book feels like the Martin is on the cusp of moving the story forward, but it never seems to quite get there. Despite all this, I am still very excited to read the next one, and was happy to read the sample chapter from The Winds of Winter that was released. The story has such enormous promise, and the level of care taken with the story is so obvious, that it is so easy to get invested in the series.