Martin’s hotly anticipated update to Song of Fire and Ice sequence is setting the critics alight
Well, here’s a sight that any fantasy fan should be happy to behold: newspapers across the world are taking the rare step of reviewing the fifth instalment in a very lengthy fantasy saga, and they couldn’t be speaking more highly of it. The series? George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, of course, beloved of fantasy fans for years, suddenly made cool by the HBO series.
Out today, Martin’s A Dance with Dragons is garnering the highest praise across the media. “In 2005 I wrote a review of George RR Martin’s novel A Feast for Crows in which I called him ‘the American Tolkien’. The phrase has stuck to him, as it was meant to,” says Lev Grossman in Time. “I believed Martin was our age’s and our country’s answer to the master of epic fantasy. Now it’s six years later, and I’ve read Martin’s new novel, A Dance with Dragons, and I’m happy to report that I was totally right.”
“Was A Dance With Dragons worth the six-year wait? Absolutely,” agrees Jeff VanderMeer in the LA Times. “Having overcome the writerly challenges of a series grown longer than expected – and having survived the well-documented hostility of those readers who have displayed a grotesque sense of entitlement over publication delays – Martin seems poised in the last two books to bring home one of the best series in the history of fantasy.”
“It was worth the wait,” says the Washington Post; it “may well be one of the best books in the five-book series so far”, writes the Christian Science Monitor. And “I couldn’t put it down. Late at night, into the wee hours, I would tell myself: just one more chapter, and then, again and again, break my own vow. I was like a hospital patient who keeps clicking on the morphine feed, a binge reader addicted to Martin crack. I was lucky my children were out of town, or I would have been feeding them stale potato chips and allowing them unlimited screen time. I was Martin’s bitch,” admits Andrew Leonard at Salon.
Kong, as Martin refers to A Dance with Dragons – it’s been the monkey on his back for six long years – looks set to be one of the biggest (in sales terms I mean: obviously, topping 1,000 pages, it will be one of the biggest in length) books of the summer. How exciting. I haven’t read it yet because I’ve been saving it for my holiday, which starts tomorrow: bring on 10 days off and a return to Westeros. Hurrah for fantasy. And hurrah for big-hearted, conniving dwarves: I can’t wait to meet Tyrion again …