For those unfamiliar, A Dance with Dragons is the fifth novel in George R.R. Martin's commercially- and critically-acclaimed fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. It has been over 5 years since the last novel, A Feast for Crows, was published. A Song of Ice and Fire's popularity is largely a result of the wide cast of characters and its gritty, low fantasy realism -- major protagonists (along with antagonists) are killed off or maimed with brutal regularity. I remember when the first main character died -- I was shocked. Then more kept dying. Now it is pretty much expected.
So the series is popular, it is edgy, and its fans have been waiting a long time for the next installment -- hence the noteworthiness of this announcement. For me personally, it is also worth mentioning, because A Song of Ice and Fire is one of the few series where I violate my fantasy novel rules:
- I do not read series more than five books in length.
- I do not read as-of-yet-unfinished series.
A Song of Ice and Fire is also notable because HBO will soon be premiering Game of Thrones. The casting looks pretty darn good and given HBO's track record, I think it has a chance to be a real success. Not to mention that HBO can give proper treatment to the violence, cursing, and sex that is so common, and frankly integral, to the novels.