'A Dance with Dragons': George R.R. Martin's new novel gets great reviews

dance-with-dragons.jpgIt would be an understatement to call George R.R. Martin's new novel "A Dance with Dragons" "highly anticipated." The fifth book in his "A Song of Ice and Fire" series comes six years after the last installment, "A Feast for Crows," and fans have been dying to get their hands on it.

The good news is that A) the book finally hit shelves on Tuesday (July 12) and B) based on reviews, it was worth the wait.

"A Song of Ice and Fire" is the source material for HBO's series "Game of Thrones," whose second season will be based on book two in the series, "A Clash of Kings." If you're following the show but haven't read the books, fair warning: The full reviews linked below talk about plot developments that would still be years away on TV. We've kept the excerpts spoiler-free, but if you don't want to know anything else about the Starks, Lannisters and all the other characters in "Game of Thrones," you'd do well not to click through.

Here's a sampling of reviews:

- "It's safe to say that no work of fantasy has generated such anticipation since Harry Potter's final duel with Voldemort. ... Filled with vividly rendered set pieces, unexpected turnings, assorted cliffhangers and moments of appalling cruelty, 'A Dance With Dragons' is epic fantasy as it should be written: passionate, compelling, convincingly detailed and thoroughly imagined." [ Washington Post]

- "[Martin] raises and raises the stakes, long past when any other writer would have walked away from the table, and just when you think he's done, he goes all in." [ Time]

- "'A Dance with Dragons' delivers what readers really crave from Martin -- not closure, but instead, a sense of total immersion in a world in which the lines between good and evil, chivalry and betrayal, success and failure are blurred and morally ambiguous." [ Salon]

- "With so many characters to follow, so many schemes and subplots in motion, it's impossible to imagine how Martin keeps track of it all, yet there's a simplicity and ease to the reading experience, buoyed by third-person omniscient narration, which only adds to the sense of tension and dread unfolding." [ Daily Beast]

Do you have a copy of "A Dance with Dragons" yet? 
Photo/Video credit: HBO, Bantam Books