There are a number of reasons for this. But before I get into them, I feel I have to deal with my anger first. This bit is tough to do without spoiling anything, but I believe that anyone that’s read the first four books will likely be able to guess what Mr. Martin could have done to make his readers so upset. Again. Yes, folks, there’s another big upset in A Dance with Dragons, right near the end. I can’t tell you what it is, but I am still fuming over it. I feel like I did when I read about ‘The Red Wedding’: betrayed. Unfortunately, that just doesn’t work for me.
Now on to other things about A Dance with Dragons. The rich world Mr. Martin has created is also his curse. There are so many characters and so many plots, following them all turns his books from stories into never ending soap operas. On one hand, this intricacy is what makes his world so rich and fascinating. Yet on the other, Mr. Martin is forced to jump from one plot to another, spreading them so thin that a reader is forced to wait through multiple chapters (and sometimes more than one book) to continue on with some of these characters. That alone is frustrating. It also changes the book from a story into something else. A main plot is completely absent from each book in the series. There is no climax, and there isn’t even a semblance of a conclusion. Hence the soap opera comparison. It just goes and on and on and on.
Still, what makes it bad also makes it good. The incredible depth within his world and the unbelievably realistic characters that people it have completely sucked me in. I want to keep reading to see what happens with them. I want to stick with them so that I can ‘be there’ when they finally prevail. That is, if Mr. Martin lets them prevail. It’s why I read his books the way one views a train wreck: with hope and dread at the same time. However in the case with A Dance with Dragons, I almost wish I didn’t look.