Looking at the reviews of this book on Goodreads, it seems most people are annoyed about the fact that it took so long for this one to come out after the last one. Thankfully, since I’m behind the crowd as usual, I don’t have that problem. However, with only one book left for me to read, I think I’m probably soon going to be in the same place as everyone else, impatiently waiting for the next one!
However, back to the book in hand. I have to say that I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this one as much to start with and it did take me a fair few chapters to truly get engrossed, but in fact by the time it got to the end, I was enjoying it just as much, and if not more, than the previous four.
The main reason I was aprehensive at first was the sudden addition of a lot of new characters. I had pretty much just got used to the myriad of characters from the previous books, and then Martin suddenly decides to include a whole bunch more. At first I found this quite annoying, trying to keep up with who was who, but that quickly faded and I was back to being engrossed in the story.
*Possible spoilers from here on*
It surprised me that a few characters were hardly mentioned at all, Rob, Tyrion and Daenerys being the main culprits. I personally didn’t think there was enough of Arya either, but she’s always been my favourite so I was bound to think that.
It was very nice to get to know the other characters a bit better though, particularly Samwell and Brienne. And I’m very sure that since the next book is called ‘A Dance with Dragons’, we’ve got plenty of Daenerys to come.
As well as complaining about the length of time that this book took to be released, a lot of the reviewers on Goodreads complain about the pace of this book being far too slow. I personally can’t say that I found this a problem. I was engrossed from start to finish, and would have read it much quicker if only I’d had more time for reading.
Granted, there wasn’t quite as much action as the previous tomes, but it’s nice to take a step back sometimes and get a bit more of the backstory and the history and politics of the seven kingdoms without gratuitous killing and raping. Although there’s still plenty of that to be found, so if that’s what you like, you won’t be disappointed.
The book ended on rather a high for me, with my most despised character Cersei looking like she might finally get her comeuppance for all her scheming and lying, and her brother Jaime ignoring her pleas for help. I’ve been waiting for this for quite some time, so I hope that it concludes the way that I hope it will. Although knowing Martin, it most likely won’t. I don’t seem to have got much of what I wanted from this series, although I was warned not to form attachments to my favourite characters so I guess that’s my fault really.
I did get a brief feeling of excitement every time two unrelated characters crossed paths, hoping beyond hope that they might realise their connection so that they could help each other out, but that never happened. But hopefully some of my more treasured characters will be reunited soon. Hopefully, but probably not.
We’ll see what A Dance with Dragons brings, but at over 1000 pages, it might be a while before the next review!