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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make way for the Kingslayer
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,...
Published on 9 April 2012 by Pedro

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An immersive experience
Three books into the GOT series, and I realise that this is a reading experience that can’t really be equated with any other – especially since I am not an avid reader of sci fi or fantasy. I’ve read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Robert Rankin, Tad Williams (a couple of books) etc. However, this is by no means my genre. I can appreciate that for many...
Published 7 months ago by booksy


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make way for the Kingslayer, 9 April 2012
By 
Pedro (Lisbon, Portugal) - See all my reviews
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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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An immersive experience, 5 Mar 2014
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This review is from: A Storm of Swords: Part 1 Steel and Snow (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3) (Kindle Edition)
Three books into the GOT series, and I realise that this is a reading experience that can’t really be equated with any other – especially since I am not an avid reader of sci fi or fantasy. I’ve read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Robert Rankin, Tad Williams (a couple of books) etc. However, this is by no means my genre. I can appreciate that for many hardcore fantasy fans, GOT must be at the pinnacle of the genre. It’s no exaggeration to say that people could probably do a degree on the subject! It is, without a doubt, a work nearing pure genius. So, why only three stars? Well, it’s simply because I am judging it according to my level of appreciation as someone who doesn’t read widely within this genre.

I would imagine that there are many readers who know all the houses (major and minor) and revel in (and can remember) every tiny detail. However, the sheer scope of these books is also, in some ways, what detracts from the enjoyment. Unless you’re prepared to read one after the other in quick succession, you will, undoubtedly, forget things that have gone on. Many characters populate the novels and you can go for numerous chapters before you return to a favourite character’s POV. But, for those who relish the details, I acknowledge that this is part of what makes GOT so compelling.

Personally, I find the books an utterly immersive experience. They are not page-turners in the conventional sense and, particularly in this instalment, there’s much detail but not a lot actually happening. That said, this isn’t supposed to be a stand-alone book and, from what others are saying, the action picks up in the second part. Despite the slow(ish) pace, I found myself returning to the novel if not with hungry anticipation, then with a sense that there was a group of friends within the pages with whom I wanted to catch up again. While reading Martin, you are drawn utterly into his world and, yes, that world does have faults: some characters are less well developed than others; sometimes you don’t hear enough from your favourite characters; it can be slow at times; the detail is too great (I don’t necessarily care to know what the coat of arms are for each house); it always irks me when Americanisms creep into the writing (like gotten). I know, I know – Martin’s an American writer. However, the strength of GOT is that it’s sort of timeless – but, if you had to place it anywhere in your mind, it’d be Mediaeval England/Europe (probably why British actors have been used in the TV version).

Despite these faults, you can’t help be awed by the landscape and people Martin has created. My favourite characters are Daenerys (you know she’s got so much more to give as a character) and Tyrion. For me, Tyrion is the best-drawn of the characters; he’s witty, wicked, deep, kind-hearted, loyal – he might be an Lannister but he’s one of the good Lannisters (at the moment)! He just seems more fleshed out than some of the others who own POV chapters. With some, like Bran, I feel that Martin is simply narrating what happens to him – but with characters such as Tyrion and Daenerys, you feel that you’re getting into their minds more. Jamie also emerged, in this instalment, as an interesting character with a wit that’s not quite on a par with Tyrion’s but could get there.

So – to conclude. If you’re reading these reviews, you’ve probably read the first two books and I’d say it’s definitely worth continuing. Just don’t expect any great plot twists this time and probably bear in mind this is the set-up to what’s going to come next.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking, staggering, amazing...yet grim., 20 Jun 2011
By 
S. Weston (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Storm of Swords: Part 1 Steel and Snow (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3) (Kindle Edition)
This series is amazing. However with this particular book I found the content hard to grapple with. It is like the author is intentionally throwing 'curve balls' (to use an American adage) just to show us that he is not afraid to kill anyone or anything. Characters that I felt could eventually go on to be facinating reads in the future just get wiped out.

On the upside of this however is that I truly do not know how GRRM is going to finish the series. Will my favourite characters survive? Will the 'good guys' even win?? You really can't tell and it is because of this reason that this series is better than most (if not all) of the fantasy I have ever read.

Things to look out for in aSoS: the emergence of the Red Viper of Dorne (a chillingly cool character), Jon Snow and Ghost (things really start developing here) and Jaime Lannister given a voice, which as some people have argued already, is a masterstroke - I agree.

Great continuation of a great series thus far. I was introduced to it late but I am not sorry - 5 stars!
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60 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three weddings and a whole shed load of funerals, 27 Aug 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cruel cruel world, 6 Jan 2010
We all know how these fantasy epics work. There is the seemingly low born stable boy who is really heir to the throne. An ancient mage who despite his great powers will spend half the book hiding in hedges. A mysterious figure with an all seeing eye who knows exactly how the hero must save the world but will only give him vague clues. An evil meglamaniac, princess frosty britches, the comedy side kick and a neat and tidy happy ending!

Thankfully Martin has not read the fantasy writers handbook! This series does not follow any previously known format and is a million miles away from neat and tidy. There is no sign of the threads of the story coming together at all. Rather the death of King Robert in volume 1 has set off an explosion, the fall-out of which is still spreading!

Martin seems not to write novels but rather channels the history of another world and it is as messy, bloody and tragic as our own. Our heroes suffer bereavement, torture, betrayal and many more torments and just sometimes, the odd triumph!

Forget good vs evil too, there are just competeing factions. I am even starting to like Jaime Lannister now!

What makes these books so great is the rich and detailed characterisation. Martins creations live breath and exist in 3D technicolor, they are venemous, eccentric, twisted, cruel, kind and fantastically entertaining!
These books are more a dark and macabre soap opera than a conventional story moving towards a climax. Normally I would hate that but Martins world is so real why should move towards a tidy ending ours doesn't. No sooner does one conflict end does another begin, on earth as it is in Martins world!

Simply stunning are you not entertained!!!!
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47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These books just keep getting better and better!, 30 May 2001
By A Customer
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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52 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's a lot to hate about this series..., 3 Nov 2011
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...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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carries on from the TV show, 26 Feb 2013
By 
Joe B (Herts, England) - See all my reviews
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Having seen series 1 and 2 of the TV show, and deciding I couldn't wait for the 3rd season to start, I decided to start reading the books. Books 1 and 2 in the series have been faithfully recreated in the TV show - I can't read the books without seeing the characters from the show (although Joffrey is supposed to be stunningly handsome in the books, with golden flowing hair. The chap in the TV show wasn't blessed in that way, although I'm sure he's a jolly nice chap). Anyway, this book starts the journey past the TV timeline, and along with the 4th book (confusingly, the '3rd' book, but 2nd part of it :-\ eek ), this superbly carries us on in the world of these characters.
Along with the second part of Storm of Swords, these are my favourite parts of the series so far.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!, 13 Aug 2012
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Bought this book since I could not wait for the next season tv series to be released. And I am going to buy the next book
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars book, 12 Oct 2011
Excellent book, this series is one of the most exciting i have read in a long time, i just cannot put them down, am now on the 4th book and just don't want it to end.
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