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on 9 April 2012
Steel and Snow is the first part of the third volume of the saga, A Storm of Swords. So far it has lived up to the expectations created by the climatic ending of A Clash of Kings, but this review feels incomplete because most of what happened in Steel and Snow is a build-up to the second part, Blood and Gold.

In the aftermath of the Battle of the Blackwater, the losers are licking their wounds while the victorious are capitalizing on the momentum by building new alliances, so expect more politics and less warfare. Unfortunately we get less of Tyrion, whose role is hampered by the arrival of his father to King's Landing, but his chapters are enjoyable as always. Even though the Starks keep winning in the battlefield, their position has never been more fragile.

North of the Wall, Jon Snow joins the wildlings to learn everything he can about them, but will find out that living as a spy is even harder than he supposed it would be, not because of his wary enemies, but because of new unexpected friendships. We also get some chapters from the point of view of Sam Tarly.

In the East, Daenerys continues her struggle to raise an army capable to get her throne back.

In my opinion, the first half of A Storm of Swords makes me believe it will be the best book of the saga so far. The War of the Kings and Jon Snow storylines keep up the high standards we got used to. However, the Daenerys storyline really kicks off, as the last Targaryen shows the world she is no longer the naïve princess that was presented to us in Pentos. But the real surprise for me was the addition of Jaime Lannister as a point of view character. His chapters were absolutely stunning, showing us a lot more than a simple minded villain who only cares for his sister or fighting.

+: Jaime Lannister added as POV character; Daenerys finally rises as a real menace to those who oppose her

-: Tyrion being pushed to a more secondary role

=: This first part really sets high expectations for Blood and Gold; all storylines are compelling from the start, which is something the previous two volumes lacked; less Tyrion is fully compensated by much more Jaime and Daenerys
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on 27 August 2003
Well, here's an oddity. An American book published as one paperback volume in the US, yet split into 2 in the UK. It's usually the other way around.
It is perhaps a little unfair to have this split into two. It's one book, and designed to be read as such. After all, no one is going to pick up part one, being the third book in an ongoing series, without reading part two as well. Besides, all of the big, widescreen moments happen in the second half, and the first volume is left without even a partial resolution or cliffhanger.
That said, this is brilliant. Make sure that there is a clean spot on the carpet in front of you before you start reading this, because your jaw is going to be spending a lot of time on the floor. If you thought the first two books in this series were amazing (they were), then you ain't seen nothing yet.
Martin's biggest strength is his characters; no one is good, no one is evil, everyone is just shades of grey. His second strength is his plotting - just when you think you know what's about to happen, he pulls the rug out from under you, and the exact opposite occurs. Things that should happen don't. Things that shouldn't happen do. Bad things happen to good people, and there ain't no justice.
This book left me scratching my head wondering how on earth one man can conjure all this out of his imagination.
But perhaps the best thing I can say about this is that after 3 books and 3,000 pages, we start to get a glimpse that perhaps Martin is not telling us the story that we thought he was...
Let's hope we get more of Daenerys next time round.
Valor Morghulis...
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I will readily admit that I am not a big reader of fantasy fiction, this series though I have found to be a compelling read. Although obviously with fantasy elements this works so well as it has a historical fiction feel, and that is mainly down to the skill of George R R Martin. Instead of relying on magic and mystical creatures too heavily, as some authors do, the story in this series has a lot to do with politics and warfare similar to what has happened in Europe in the past.

As you come to this book you will notice that we meet some new characters, and actually meet Mance Rayder at last, as well as a whole load of wildlings. As the wildlings make their way over the Wall and into the Seven Kingdoms, how will their actions play out against the problems already faced in this land? Joffrey may sit on the Iron Throne but it is obvious now that really he has to bow to his grandfather, who really seems to rule, and actually has some idea of what to do. As fighting still goes on in places, it is mainly a time to make alliances and strengthen positions. But always there is the menace from over the sea, that no one but we readers seem to know about, namely Daenerys.

I am immensely enjoying this series, and hopefully the next book won’t disappoint either, as this is a series that is very easy to get into and definitely holds your attention.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I will readily admit that I am not a big reader of fantasy fiction, this series though I have found to be a compelling read. Although obviously with fantasy elements this works so well as it has a historical fiction feel, and that is mainly down to the skill of George R R Martin. Instead of relying on magic and mystical creatures too heavily, as some authors do, the story in this series has a lot to do with politics and warfare similar to what has happened in Europe in the past.

As you come to this book you will notice that we meet some new characters, and actually meet Mance Rayder at last, as well as a whole load of wildlings. As the wildlings make their way over the Wall and into the Seven Kingdoms, how will their actions play out against the problems already faced in this land? Joffrey may sit on the Iron Throne but it is obvious now that really he has to bow to his grandfather, who really seems to rule, and actually has some idea of what to do. As fighting still goes on in places, it is mainly a time to make alliances and strengthen positions. But always there is the menace from over the sea, that no one but we readers seem to know about, namely Daenerys.

I am immensely enjoying this series, and hopefully the next book won’t disappoint either, as this is a series that is very easy to get into and definitely holds your attention.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I will readily admit that I am not a big reader of fantasy fiction, this series though I have found to be a compelling read. Although obviously with fantasy elements this works so well as it has a historical fiction feel, and that is mainly down to the skill of George R R Martin. Instead of relying on magic and mystical creatures too heavily, as some authors do, the story in this series has a lot to do with politics and warfare similar to what has happened in Europe in the past.

As you come to this book you will notice that we meet some new characters, and actually meet Mance Rayder at last, as well as a whole load of wildlings. As the wildlings make their way over the Wall and into the Seven Kingdoms, how will their actions play out against the problems already faced in this land? Joffrey may sit on the Iron Throne but it is obvious now that really he has to bow to his grandfather, who really seems to rule, and actually has some idea of what to do. As fighting still goes on in places, it is mainly a time to make alliances and strengthen positions. But always there is the menace from over the sea, that no one but we readers seem to know about, namely Daenerys.

I am immensely enjoying this series, and hopefully the next book won’t disappoint either, as this is a series that is very easy to get into and definitely holds your attention.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I will readily admit that I am not a big reader of fantasy fiction, this series though I have found to be a compelling read. Although obviously with fantasy elements this works so well as it has a historical fiction feel, and that is mainly down to the skill of George R R Martin. Instead of relying on magic and mystical creatures too heavily, as some authors do, the story in this series has a lot to do with politics and warfare similar to what has happened in Europe in the past.

As you come to this book you will notice that we meet some new characters, and actually meet Mance Rayder at last, as well as a whole load of wildlings. As the wildlings make their way over the Wall and into the Seven Kingdoms, how will their actions play out against the problems already faced in this land? Joffrey may sit on the Iron Throne but it is obvious now that really he has to bow to his grandfather, who really seems to rule, and actually has some idea of what to do. As fighting still goes on in places, it is mainly a time to make alliances and strengthen positions. But always there is the menace from over the sea, that no one but we readers seem to know about, namely Daenerys.

I am immensely enjoying this series, and hopefully the next book won’t disappoint either, as this is a series that is very easy to get into and definitely holds your attention.
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on 3 November 2011
...like the way your favourite characters are brutally killed off and the story veers off past their barely cold remains...
...or the way that Martin switches your point of view full 360 degrees and the villain of the piece you've been hoping gets his or her come-uppance for two lengthy tomes, you now find yourself plotting with and rooting for.
...let me not forget (or forgive) the fact that key chapters of the story, which you're desperate to see unfolding, happen 'off-camera' as it were and you only find out about the dramatic events in a short third-hand and maybe untrustworthy report.
If I'd been writing these books House Stark would have been triumphant long before we reached book 4 but Martin's genius is that he tramples on and overturns all the clichés of the fantasy genre and still leaves you hungry for more. 5 stars dammit!
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on 3 March 2015
This review was first published at M's Bookshelf - http://mssbookshelf.blogspot.com

I honestly have no idea how to write this review. I mean, how many more ways are there to express my LOVE for this series? Unlike other series, I don't feel like each book tells a story on it's own. I've already started the next installment, just because there was no way I felt like another chapter was closed.
By now I do have my favourite characters, and characters I don't enjoy reading about all that much. But even that I consider to be a good thing: it slows you down just enough to actually enjoy the reading process. Westeros is a dangerous world to get caught up in and it's so easy to forget you don't actually live there and you do have a life and things to do outside these pages.
Looking back on my review for book #2, I think this one was a little - and I mean LITTLE - more slow paced. I think each individual character and story line got a bit more attention.
For fans of the series: this is the point where book and series start to show some differences, especially in timing and of course detail and depth.
That's it really. The book is another fabulous installment in an even more fabulous series.
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on 15 February 2012
I think A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow (Reissue): Book 3 Part 1 of A Song of Ice and Fire (Song of Ice & Fire) is the same as the whole series of George R R Martins great Saga. I have been unable to put down any book in this series I am compelled to buy each new one as soon as I finish the previous. The author is a born story teller and has so many irons in the fire at once that you wonder how he kept the characters under control. On very isolated occasions I get a bit peeved when the rhythm of american swear words jar on the minds ear because they are so out of place in the context of a mediaeval Fantasy. That's my only complaint. My favourite characters are Jon Snow and Tyrion I do thoroughly recommend this whole series of books including the specific title here. The story telling has been spellbinding. Save up though because as you get further along in the series the book prices escalate even on kindle it costs in excess of £12 for A Dance With Dragons. Which I think is a bit steep but then I cannot but praise the work. So I say treat yourself, buy them all.
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on 30 May 2001
With a complex weave of fantasy and reality, George Martin continues to write this stunning series with an amount of depth and attention to character that I can't remember seeing recently in any high fantasy series. He continues on with his brutal look at a realistic world where no man or woman is spared from the bad things in life.
Characters are so believeable in their creation with a heavy dose of flaws and range of emotion. The look at the world as a whole and lands outside of the main continent are terrific giving the whole tale a mighty scope that only whets your appetite for more.
This third book finally starts to bring in the more magical aspects of the universe with subtlety and then smacks you over the head with a couple of stunning twists. The great thing is that the magic doesn't overshadow the deadly court intrigue and human wars, but mingles with it so perfectly that it seems very natural for it to be included.
Unfortunately I see that the next book isn't going to be released for over a year! Aye caramba! I don't know that I can hold out that long to find out what's going to happen next. I can't say enough positive things about this series. I recommend this to anyone that enjoys reading, not just those fantasy geeks like myself. It's a very fulfilling ride that just gets better with each page.
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