(CBS) -The wait is over for the latest installment of George R.R. Martin's best-selling fantasy saga, "A Song of Ice and Fire." The fifth book, "A Dance with Dragons," arrives in bookstores Tuesday.
It comes six years after the release of the fourth volume, and a month after the season 1 finale of HBO's hit "Game of Throne," which is adapted from the first book.
So what did the critics think of Martin's much-anticipated follow-up?
"The real power of Martin's work arises from his extraordinary skill as a plotter," Time magazine's Lev Grossman wrote. "A Dance with Dragons" follows, by my count, 11 major story lines, as well as assorted minor ones, each with its own rhythm, written in its own voice, and each playing off all the others."
Grossman adds: "He [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."
Salon.com's Andrew Leonard was similarly impressed.
"By the fifth volume of "A Song of Ice and Fire," Martin has unimpeachably established his street cred as the most ruthless writer of popular fantasy alive," Leonard wrote. "Martin, we know, with a sick feeling in our stomachs, has no qualms about killing off major characters, or twisting narrative arcs from glory into degradation."
And the Washington Post's Bill Sheehan said the book was well worth the six-year wait.
"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," he writes.