What do you do when a book just doesn't live up to its expectations? There's nothing wrong with the book. By any and all standards its actually quite good, well written, and thoroughly entertaining. But somehow it's just not... well, you know... it's not what you wanted it to be. So goes the story for me of one of my recent reads.
I definitely enjoyed this book, but I found myself stymied by my inability to ignore the fact that one of my favorite characters in the series was decidedly absent and another only appeared briefly in one chapter. The book was still great - epic on a scale that few authors can rival - but I know my expectations were pretty elevated. Do you ever struggle with books not living up to what you want from them? Have really awesome books ever let you down just a little?
That's not to say that this is not a great book. Despite the nagging question of what's going on with some fan favorites, for those characters featured within the book's many, many pages suspense, action, drama, and intrigue collide, tumble together, and explode. The politics and geography of the saga expand to encompass Dorne, the southern realm of Westeros, populated by the Martell family and the dangerous women known as the Sand Snakes. Religion also takes a more heated role in the power struggles across the land and Martin's signature surprises are as present here as in previous books. More than one lead character is left in peril at the close, making the long-promised and recently-released book A Dance with Dragons a welcome addition to the saga.