I recommend skipping to the segment of this book called “Meanwhile, back on the Wall” right before all the pages about the various houses. Fortunately I did (I usually never look ahead) and learned that this book only follows the adventures of a few of the characters from the previous three novels, and introduces a few others, most of whom don’t seem very important yet.
Perhaps it was the absence of Jon, Tyrion and Daenerys that knocked a star off this book. Or that we were limited to brief appearances from Arya that never really seemed to go anywhere. Or maybe it was simply that Cersie is so freaking unlikable and dominates so much of the book. I’m not sure what it was, but this one just didn’t engage me like the first three, though what happens with Cersie and Sam at the end is pretty intriguing.
The problem now is that A Dance with Dragons is still only available in hardcover and the cheapest I can find it is still about $27. If I buy that one in hardcover I will be compelled to replace the previous four paperbacks with hardcovers. Don’t judge me! If I don’t buy the hardcover, I’m doomed to wait until October for the paperback. Either way, I could still be waiting for years for the book after that.
I began reading A Game of Thrones almost a year ago and have had one of these paperbacks beside my bed since last July. I have to admit I feel a little lost now without a bit of Westeros waiting on me each night.