Paperback, 936 pages.
Read from January 19 to February 07, 2015.
I consumed most of this novel while lounging on a beach of white sands and blue water so I’m pretty sure my environment added to the likability of this book as, let’s be honest, it doesn’t really have much going on for it plot-wise and isn’t what we’ve come to expect from George R.R. Martin. I know that Martin would have preferred that this book and A Dance With Dragons be one book but it would have been waaaaaaay too long. This book ultimately felt like a filler for the next novel and contained all the politic nuances that would have be intriguing had it been balanced with some action plot pieces. All of the characters that you desperately wanted to know about based on the craziness of the last book are not even mentioned in this book, such as Tyrion and Dany. I can only imagine how frustrating that would have been for a reader when this book first came out as they wouldn’t have the same luxury of just picking up the next book in the series as it wouldn’t have been available yet.
I suppose the most interesting part of this novel was the developments with Cersei, which, if you’re not a huge fan of the woman, is kind of annoying. However the ‘big twist’, and I say that sarcastically because it’s quite minimal compared to the previous book in the series, involves Cersei and it is fairly rewarding to read. Jamie develops more as a character and is continuing to become one of my favourites. While I love Brienne, her chapters were pretty boring but the final scene with her in this book is pretty disheartening.
The information in this book is necessary for the series, but the book, as it stands by itself is a pretty big let down. It’s hard to summarize the details of this novel as the essential things that happened in this book are the spoilers. Ultimately, Brienne is looking for Sansa on an oath she made to Jamie, Cersei is still grieving for Joffery and is going mad trying to determine who are her friends and her enemies are, while being overly protective of Tommen. Jaime is figuring out who he is as a person now that he hand is gone, Sansa is developing into smart and wise young woman while pretending to be Littlefinger’s bastard daughter Alayne, while Arya finds herself in Bravvos in a religious temple. There are a few new characters introduced as well, such as the Martell family, who are outraged at the death of Oberyn. You get some small insights into the life of Myrcella since she was shipped off to Dorne by Tyrion to be married in these chapters as well. The book is one of character transitions as they all take on new identities and for some of them, even new names.
Overall, this is my least favourite book in the series so far but I can at least recognize it’s necessity.