Running parallel to the fourth book, A Feast for Crows, the latest addition to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series picks up right where the action left off.
The war is over, but that doesn’t mean the battles are done. In fact, the fighting is fiercer than ever, each of the great houses desperate to secure their power over their enemies. In the south, plots are made to overthrow the king; in the east, the dragon queen struggles against her own people; on the oceans, rumors fly from ship to ship about gods and magic and the resurrected dead.
And in the north, frozen monsters march determinedly downward.
With excitement, intrigue and all your favorite characters back once again, A Dance with Dragons may just be the best audiobook of the series so far.
Intended to be read with the fourth book, A Dance with Dragons covers the same chronological period with a different set of characters. Events are happening at the same time as A Feast for Crows, simply in different places and with different people.
Here are the characters to watch:
Jon Snow: Now the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Jon struggles to appease his brothers while also making peace with the wildlings. Between the demands of kings, bastards, priestesses and free men, he isn’t sure which path is the right one… but if he can’t choose a clear course of action, the choice will be made for him, and with devastating consequences.
Tyrion Lannister: Tyrion has hit rock bottom. Escaped and exiled, with his sister offering a reward for his head, he travels aimlessly with no clear goal in mind… only to realize that there’s another, younger queen who might still value his intel and intellect. But can he make it across plague-ridden seas and slave-trading roads to reach her, and will Daenerys Targaryen even be interested in the services of a Lannister?
Daenerys “Dany” Targaryen: After freeing thousands from enslavement, Dany elects to put Westeros on hold and instead stay in the Free Cities to help rule and rebuild. She still dreams of claiming her birthright, but she can’t abandon the people in front of her, not when they need her help. So what happens when these faithful cities begin turning on her? And who will be the first to fall when fully-grown dragons decide they’re tired of eating sheep?
Theon Greyjoy: Tortured and imprisoned by the Bastard of Bolton, Theon is unrecognizable from the arrogant young prince he used to be. He doesn’t care about the end of the war or what he overhears as a prisoner; he just wants to escape. Others, however, are a little more interested in what he knows, and they can offer him his dearly-coveted freedom if he’s willing to help them in return…
Davos Seaworth: Still a diligent servant to Stannis, Davos attempts to shore his king’s alliances along the coast, but a surprise revelation from one of the lords sets him on a new course: The supposed location of a long-dead Stark.
Brandon “Bran” Stark: Bran is on a mission to find the three-eyed crow haunting his prophetic dreams. Aided by friends both new and old, he makes his way deep into the wilderness of the north, but starvation and exposure are only petty concerns compared to wights, mind control, and dead things still moving around…
Arya Stark: Arya has given up everything to join the Faceless Men, a guild of elite assassins that promise her training and guidance in her new life. But can she give up her own identity? And what price will she have to pay if she can’t?
Quentyn Martell: Sent by his father to form an alliance with Dany, Quentyn intends to offer himself as a husband and therefore secure their line through marriage. It will take more than just his family name to sweeten the pot, however, and in his daring, he could lose everything…
Griff: Griff has spent the last sixteen years watching over a boy he calls “Young Griff,” the son of a late and dearly departed friend. But the boy is more than what he seems, and now that he’s old enough to take a stand, his real identity will change everything, not just in their lives but in Westeros as a whole.
Roy Dotrice returns as narrator, though in an interesting twist, he recorded this title before the fourth. Between George R.R. Martin’s writing delay and his own scheduling conflicts, there was a six-year gap between projects, meaning that some of his famous voices have changed and matured in the interim.
If you were strongly attached to the original voices, you may find the differences a little disconcerting. You’ll have time to get used to it, though. As the longest book in the series, a mammoth tome that took longer to record than any of the others, this audiobook runs a whopping 49 hours.
Despite the wait, the A Dance with Dragons audiobook doesn’t disappoint. You may have missed some of the other characters in the splitting process, but Martin made sure to give updates through the ones who did appear; he even threw in a few extra chapters at the end of the book, merging the timelines back together and letting the readers know if their favorites had survived and what they were doing in the present.
That said, he still left us new cliffhangers, because that’s just how he operates. For sharp prose, riveting heroics and nerve-wracking finales, there’s still no one better than George R.R. Martin.
We now join the legions of fans eagerly awaiting the sixth book, The Winds of Winter. Martin promises higher stakes and greater thrills than ever before, and with good reason:
Winter is no longer coming.
Winter is here.