I recently finished A Dance with Dragons, the long-awaited fifth book in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. As I’m sure any fellow ASOIAF fans already know, when I say “long-awaited,” I really mean it. And that leaves me a little torn when it comes to writing a review. I had originally intended to reread the entire series before this most recent installment arrived, but other books got in the way, so I didn’t. Going in, then, I’d probably forgotten a lot of details and may not have gotten as much out of Dragons as I otherwise might have.

The thing is, I think I really did like it. But that’s based on the feeling that if I went back and reread everything in order, in light of the new information Dragons presents, I’d have various bells going off all over the place. VAGUE SPOILER ALERT: The new book didn’t really answer any questions; at least, none of the important ones, and so my reflex is to be slightly annoyed after waiting for six years for the damn thing to come out. On reflection, though, I think I can appreciate it more if I go back and start at the beginning. (NB: If that turns out not to be the case, I will be far beyond peeved.)

I have actually read at least the first three books several times each, but it’s been years. I’ve also read Robin Hobb’s Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies repeatedly, and almost all of the Outlander series over and over again. I just completed a Farseer reread early this year, after my husband picked up the books and I was reminded how very much I like them.

So today I was talking with a coworker about this, and she reminded me that I wanted to do the same with Outlander, again, because I’ve never managed to work my way through the most recent volume. It picks up in an odd place, and I think I have to start at the beginning. Since I’ll be out of work for at least a few weeks, now seems as good a time as any.

I can’t quite decide which series to start over again first. On one hand, I’ve just finished Dragons, so I’m already in Westeros. On the other, I really miss Clare and Jaime. What to do?

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