The Lannisters are in power on the Iron Throne.
The war in the Seven Kingdoms has burned itself out, but in its bitter aftermath new conflicts spark to life. The Martells of Dorne and the Starks of Winterfell see vengeance for their dead. Euron Crow’s Eye, as black a pirate as ever raised a sail, returns from the smoking ruins of Valyria to claim the Iron Isles.
From the icy north, where Others threaten the Wall, apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly brings a mysterious babe in arms to the Citadel. As plots, intrigue and battle threaten to engulf Westeros, victory will go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel and the coldest hearts.
This is a hard review for me to write as I loved and flew through the first books in the series, but I really struggled with this one. In fact, it took me almost a year to read it.
I have seen a lot of reviews that state people found this book disappointing for varying reasons. I both agree and disagree with this. Yes, a lot of the larger than life characters aren’t included, such as Dany and Jon Snow, but that’s not to be seen as a bad thing. The world of Westeros that Marting has created is so immense, he needed to expand on the characters and their lifes. Having said that, some of the chapters and characters that were included, I couldn’t quite work out why they were important to the story arc.
My main issue with this book was the first two thirds of it had little or no flow. The chapters were choppy and the overloaded with information, but as I began the final stretch, things began to make more sense as to why certain things were included. I also loved that we got to see more of Cersei, Jaime, Brienne, and Sam as they worked their way through things after the death of Joffrey.
One thing I didn’t like were some of the name changes (I won’t go into detail in case you haven’t read it yet, I don’t want to spoil the story). I found it quite confusing and it sometimes took me half, or all, a chapter to work out which character was central.
Overall, not the best book of the series so far, but also essential. There are more than a few hand to mouth moments that I didn’t see coming, but knowing Martin, there will be more to come as I begin the next book!