Throughout Westeros, the cold winds are rising. From the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding lands of Winterfell, chaos reigns as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms stake their claims through tempest, turmoil and war. As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky – a comet the colour of blood and flame – five factions struggle for control of a divided land. Brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. -Goodreads
My Rating: 5/5
The aftermath of book one is at the core of this book, driving it forward. The first book had me hooked and engaged – this book made me fall in love with the series.
Somehow, George R. R. Martin upped the stakes and made everything bigger. The stakes are higher – there are factions and rebellions, new and dangerous characters, and the world just keeps getting bigger.
Tyron truly came into his own in this book. He commanded the story and had my favourite arc. Sansa’s chapters were difficult to read but offered a glimpse into the mind of the boy king that we didn’t get (much of) anywhere else. Cat and Robb had a steep hill to climb and their struggle really hit home hard. Bran’s story was quite slow but it’s beginning to pick up the pace. Jon’s arc was brilliant – I want more of that! Arya was on a bit of a travelogue – if a bit of a dark one – which was so much fun to be on because the world was amazing to explore. Daenerys had a hell of a journey, but it’s not over yet.
This section is spoiler free, so I can’t really talk about what happened in more detail than that! All you need to know is that continuing with the story is worth it – it’s exciting, bloody, brutal, and engaging. The characters are all fantastic and unique within this world. And the world itself feels so epic, it’s impossible not to get lost in it all.
(Possible) SPOILER SECTION
Stannis was a great character to introduce in this book. He felt like a real contender to the Iron Throne, and even though I felt like he couldn’t win because Tyrion was a defender of the city, I was still surprised when he lost. That’s always a good feeling, when a writer can do something like that. His storyline also introduced an element of magic to the books that was previously unseen, much of the time. Davos is a great character to follow for these scenes and I hope to see more of him in the future – despite knowing that Martin has to qualms about killing off whoever he likes!
Robb really came into his own as King of the North. His storyline, also told through Cat, was exciting and intriguing. I wasn’t expecting so much battle planning to be present in the book. He made a mistake, so he’s got to work through that, but otherwise his arc is brilliant.
Theon was another new character to follow in this book. He’s a dick. Martin does an amazing job of making the reader hate Theon, but you also feel for him. He’s an outcast in his own family, in his own country, and he wants to prove himself. I hate him, but I also wish him well…
Jon’s storyline felt quite slow, even though it was still progressing forward. The introduction of Ygritte was an interesting twist for his character, but it was when he killed Qhorin Halfhand that I realised that his story was going somewhere interesting.
Bran’s story was very slow, but again, at the end it seemed like he was finally moving forward (literally and in a plot sense).
Daenerys’ story was really good in this book. She overcame the threat of starvation, for herself and her people, found somewhere safe to stay, and then she had to fight her was out of it again. At parts, it felt slow, but for the most part I loved the characters involved and I’m excited for what comes next.