This isn’t going to be a cutesy review. I am well into the third book. I fear that if I don’t blurt out my thoughts about this one soon, then all the books in the series are going to meld together in my memory. Here are my three main impressions:
1. Bleak, dreary, and dismal
Don’t expect any happiness in this book. Martin is merciless with his characters. And if you do see a bright light, don’t trust it. One character learned she won’t have to marry an abusive, horrible guy. She and I were elated. Then someone pointed out that her ex-fiancé could still rape her as he desires and few would be able to stop him. Darn.
2. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe
It occurred to me halfway through a big battle that I didn’t know who I was rooting for. The defender is a cruel king and has a tenuous claim to the throne, but I like a few of the characters in his castle and feared what would happen to them if they lose. The attacker would probably be a fair king, yet he is cold and distant. He has a better claim than most to the throne. However I doubt he could hold it for long. Precisely who did I want to win? It was not a problem of apathy. Martin drew the characters and politics so craftily that I just could not decide. Honestly, instead of picking, I sat back and enjoyed the twists and turns.
3. Better keep up!
The scope of the plot is ever-expanding. I give Martin kudos for having such a grand vision and keeping it all straight. I don't feel that any of the storylines are unnecessary (except, I hate to say it, maybe Arya’s). And I have complete faith that they will culminate in the most amazing way by the end of series. Yet it is inevitable that you will prefer some perspectives over others. I counted the pages in between Daenerys’ chapters – an average of 130 pages! And this is a middle book. There are no cliffhangers, but very little is resolved. If it is resolved, that means someone died. Unless they are only pretending to be dead, of course.
I lied. One more point.