Like everyone else on the planet I was waiting for this book to come out. Two summers ago I read the series to date (the first review is here), positive that A Dance with Dragons would be out in a season or three since Martin claimed in the last one that he had written a good deal more. Considering this was 900+ pages I suppose it was reasonable to wait. The problem with waiting, besides the obvious--is that expectations go up. It also didn't help that the TV series--which is pretty good, and now I realize I have to write a review of it too....Review: It's a pretty good series especially since there is some much they have to cut out and express--is on HBO, heightening the desire for more of the story. Within a day I had read a large hunk of the continuing adventures and machinations of various characters in a fantasy world where seasons can last for years and a great evil, unseen for thousands of year, rises again in a land plagued by civil war and strife. Someone even approached me as I read outside to ask how I was enjoying it, saying that he was on page 300 and disappointed, which shocked me since I was twice as far and happy. If only it lasted.
Martin, who writes from the POV of several of his characters, and is not adverse to killing them off in droves, has added others to the POV roster, some of who I love and some who I am less than interested in. As I approached the last couple of hundred pages, I was forced to realize that certain story arcs were not going to be finished and certain characters were not going to be dealt with. For something I was so anxious to read, I suddenly found that I had lost interest. It would probably be three years before the sixth of the seven books came out and I would have forgotten most of what had happened, forcing (forcing?) me to reread them all. The need to know just wasn't as urgent. This is not to say that the book is bad--it isn't. I thought he did a particularly good job of "Reek" (you'll find out) who was so despicable before and now tugged on the heart strings. It just wasn't all that I had hoped.