The reread of "A Dance with Dragons" is now complete, and it was a fun journey. I developed a deeper understanding of the book, the characters in it and the greater story arc involved. This blog will not publish new posts after this one. You can continue to read work from me on The Tower of the Hand. The comments for posts on this blog will stay active, and I will continue to answer them. That being said, let's return to the issue at hand: a review of "A Dance with Dragons" after it has been reread. To say the least, the second read was a whole lot different from the first read. That was of course true of the other books as well, but in the current volume a number of issues fell together, making the statement necessary. There was a lot of hate out there after people had read the book, and I joined into some of it especially regarding the chapters taking place in the east. That was, I have to admit however, unjustified. "A Dance with Dragons" is a piece of art, much like the other books, and the widespread disappointment could not have happened like that if not for unrealistically high expectations. I confess myself guilty on that account too, of course.
The expectations were unrealistic simply because we knew from the start that the book would be the second part of what was "A Feast for Crows", which gave way to the same disappointed expectations only to be later redeemed after it had sunk into people's mind and reread several times. It's much the same with "A Dance with Dragons". When I stated earlier that it was "a piece of art", I meant it. Martin's writing skills, the great characters and the general storyline aside, are visible throughout the whole book. We already know his stunning ability to tell the story from the point-of-view of his characters, to play with the knowledge they have, with rumors and predjudices. This challenges the reader to question what he thinks he knows, and to gather the whole picture together from various sources and inclinations.