I thought since I managed to read a number of books in the lead up to Christmas and beyond and having reviewed most of them on Goodreads (a great site that you should join if you haven’t already!), that I would reproduce these for my website as well. So, here goes! Love to hear what you think of the books I review as well.
I started this book with high expectations, picking it up after having just finished book two and being unable to bear even a pause in the saga that is the Song of Fire and Ice. Well, those expectations have not only been met, but exceeded, as Martin takes the reader further into the machinations of the major houses of the Seven Kingdoms and the lives of the characters that dominate this violent, passionate and dark tapestry. In this book, we follow mainly the story of Caetlyn, Rob, Sansa and Arya Stark, Stannis Baratheon, Tyrion and Jamie Lannister as well as Dany Stormborn and her quest to build and army and return to the West and reclaim her throne. Other characters are introduced, all of whom add depth and complexity to this amazing tale. The struggle for power continues as Kings clash, alliances are forged and broken, marriages arranged and people betrayed. The Wall is under threat and the Nightwatch greatly diminished… Can the Kingdom be saved or will internecine strife tear it apart before the enemies from beyond the Wall become a reality? All these questions and so many more are posed and, as is the way of this series, partially and marvelously answered.
The pace is relentless, the twists and turns are mostly unpredictable (though when they are predictable, the story does not suffer). If I had to offer a criticism, it would be that the huge cast of characters is sometimes unwieldy and there are times when descriptions of minor characters (eg. The names and details of all the gentry who offer alliances to the various men claiming kingship) don’t serve the story and instead weigh it down. However, you could also argue that the very same thing adds layers and verisimilitude to this wild and wonderful world.
What I particularly love is Martin’s fearlessness when it comes to plot and sacrificing beloved characters to stay true to the narrative. Stunning and unexpected, these moments add a delicious frisson and, as a reader, put you on the edge of your seat for, just as you thought you could second-guess Martin’s intentions, and even relax, he proves you wrong.
Fabulous volume… I went straight to the next one and was even more impressed with what I found….stay tune for that review – only I have read about a dozen books in the interim…:)