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on 11 January 2018
Have no doubt this is a very long book - and contains hundreds of characters - but is structured around the trails and tribulations of Bran, Sansa, Jaime, Dany, Davos, Jon and Tyrion - & maybe others but hard to recall. I helps to have watched the TV series to identify who’s who - the book is far bloodier, creepy and punchy than Game of Thrones. In particular the account of the Stannis attack and how Tyrion repels the Blackwater invasion is gripping and detailed in the novel. Currently enjoying a Kindle version but will switch to Audible for the remaining books.
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on 5 July 2017
This series has been one of the most riveting I have read in some time; Martin is a master craftsman of works and characters, and thus far I think this is the best book if for no other reason than because the stakes have been massively raised and things are finally starting to happen, as opposed to the last two books which were very much scene-setting. I can't wait for the next in the series to download so I can get right back into the thick of the drama!
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on 8 July 2013
The third book in this series suprassed A Clash of Kings with flying colours, and even may be slightly better than the amazing first novel, A Game of Thrones. The best thing about it is that each POV feels like it is from a different author, the perspective of the character's so well crafted and individual. So i will review each POV individually.

Jaime Lannister
One of the two new POV's, it was intriuging to see the workings of Jaime's mind, and learn that underneath all the bloodshed, he's a nice man. The relationship between him and Breinne of Tarth is one of the best in the series. 8/10

Catelyn Stark
Her grief for her sons was heart-wrenching, especially since we know their not dead. She is probably one of the most conventional characters in the series, but definitelly more interesting than her son. Robb's dullness made me root for Stannis. All the same, her eyes saw politics in a different light to the other characters, and this was interesting. 7/10

Bran Stark
Bran is on an exceedingly selfish journey (he didn't even bother to tell any family members he was alive) to find the three-eyed crow. Bran's few chapters are full to the brim of rainy landscapes, light bantering and Hodor saying "hodor". Mild amuesment aside, it is the weakest of the narratives. 6/10

Arya Stark
Arya is one of my favourite characters in A Song of Ice and Fire, a perfect foil to her dumb sister. Her storyline, though, is not as exciting as some of the others, but good all the same, as her, Gendry and Hot Pie make their way across the kingdom. Arya, at ten, is probably more capable than most of the adult characters. 9/10

Tyrion Lannister
Although no longer the hand of the king, Tyrion, the witty, clever dwarf of house Lannister, has recovered from his wounds in the Battle of Blackwater Bay, and is cleverer than ever. Tyrion is great, and his storyline here is even better than in A Clash of Kings, espeically towards the end of the book. 10/10

Samwell Tarly
The other new POV. Depsite being alot like him in terms of courage, i find Sam's personality quite annoying, and that drags down his chapters. The event's he witnesses, though, are very exciting, and while Jon is in the wildling camp, Sam shows us what is going on in the Watch. 8/10

Davos Seaworth
Davos is probably the most bone-deep honest and true character in A Song of Ice and Fire since Ned died, and is the only one who sees Milisandre's evil for what it really is. Although nothing much happens, his influence is water to Milisandre's fire and he is a great addition to the series. 8/10

Sansa Stark
Despite annoying me in the first and second books, here it seems that Sansa has, at least partially, grown up. Her marriage to a certain somebody (SPOILERS) brings out a cruel side to her that we thought was gone when Ned was executed, and her sadness is, although nothing compared to Catelyn's, touching. 9/10

Jon Snow
In the first two books i saw Jon's chapters as chores to read, but here, everything in the north breaks loose, and while the Others attack Castle Black, Jon infiltrates the wildings, and starts a relationship with one, which tears Jon between the sides, and makes the infiltration harder than it first was. 9/10

Daenerys Targaryen
Best for last. In A Clash of Kings, her storyline really dragged, and it was a letdown after hers in the first book had been prehaps the best. It really picks up here, as she becomes a very real threat, and actually does some conquering, like Aegon before her. Very exciting, showing the Mother of Dragons is back on form. 10/10
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on 6 April 2014
I'm a fast reader so bought the two in one thinking it might last me a while. Unfortunately that meant I barely slept for a week because I couldn't put it down. It's so exciting... I hardly wanted to talk to anyone, I just wanted to gobble this book up.
The book has started splitting from the tv series in these books whereas the first is almost identical. It's good to see some changes and other characters. The most impressive thing is that the author can write books of such staggering size whilst keeping the stories so riveting and the characters so interesting. I've read other books in similar format, where one persons story is so much more exciting you want to skip other people's chapters to get back to it - but that's not the case here. There also isn't an overwhelming number of people - the next book 4 is the first point this storey starts sagging. If you love book one, then get this and you will not be disappointed. You'll then perhaps need to gather yourself for book 4, and I can't comment on book 5 as I'm slogging my way through book 4 at the mo :). I think I can only compare this series to Robert Jordan Wheel of Time series because of the size and fantasy - but as enjoyable as Robert Jordan is - this series is much more impressively written.
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on 24 July 2012
It seems clear to me that, when Martin originally plotted these books, he probably intended for the key events here to be the mid-sequence climax. It's extraordinarily eventful, with shock building on shock. The Red Wedding, Joffrey's own wedding, Tyrion's final moments with his father, Catelyn's return following the Red Wedding (who in their right mind would get married in Westeros?)... it's all go in Westeros, and makes this one of the most gripping books in the whole arc. Plots seeded years before begin to come to light, and what had seemed to be the set journeys of several characters are overturned entirely. There are dramatic returns, daring escapes, betrayals, maimings, murders, and much more. The Song of Fire and Ice has often been called the fantasy book that finally grabbed women from outwit the genre - a gateway drug for fantasy as a whole. However, it's also clear that it's a gateway drug for men too - a gateway to soap opera! Not that this is a bad thing - for all that this could be Dallas with swords (and a X rating), it's how every bloke would want soap opera to be. it's epic, frightening, and thrilling, and at the same time races to the pulse of characters that we've grown to know very well. I labelled the first book Ned's tale, and the second book Tyrion's. For me, this one is Jaime's story. For the first time we see the world from the Kingslayer's point of view, and it takes little time to see that he's not as black and white as he first appeared. The man who throws children from towers and screws his sister is also a man deeply in love, whose life has been defined by one moment when he both saved a Kingdom, and betrayed his most sacred vows. Maimed and on the run, I watched him evolve, and he's who I think of when I look back on this book.
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on 29 September 2013
I read this in the paperback version but ordered the slipcase edition to complete my collection. Sadly Amazon Warehouse sent me the wrong book (book 5) which I already had, so I had to send it back. I can't find it anymore for the original £25 but will keep looking. All 5 books come in lovely hardback with striking gold lettering and a slipcase to protect it. It's one of the best fantasy series I have come across and also made into an amazing TV series, well worth watching in Blu-ray.
I managed to find the missing book (book 3) and decided to order it from a marketplace seller. Harper Collins has re-released the slipcase versions in red leather selling for £45 to £60 each so here is another way to get the set in a luxury edition.
You can also find the blue slipcased 1st editions on eBay for £50 to £100 though some sellers have got it for nearer £500, I think that's way too much as the original prices were £25.
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on 6 February 2014
These books are taking over my life, I have never found a series of books so addictive. When I'm not reading them, I'm anticipating my next journey into Westeros.

The Song of Fire and Ice series is fantasy for adults. Plenty of sex and violence, sure, but with a rich world and interesting, relatable characters, who are never really "good" or "bad", but are simply trying to survive their brutal existence as best they can. George RR Martin really brings the world to life with his descriptive prose (he seems to have a particular interest in describing clothing in detail, but you soon get used to that). He's also not afraid to kill off characters, even major ones, at any point in the story by any means. This adds a real sense of danger.

As with most fantasy, there are dragons and giants and the like, but mostly the story revolves around the power struggle of the knights and lords in the seven kingdoms of Westeros. The chapters are each told from a different character's perspective, which is really refreshing.

My only slight complaint would be that occasionally too many characters are introduced in quick succession. This can be overwhelming, and you find yourself not remembering the important ones later on.

On to a Feast for Crows, then...
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on 13 February 2013
The third book in the series brings several lines in the saga to a climax and makes this book the most exciting and enjoyable of the series so far. The writing is rich and well constructed with many twists and unexpected turns in the action and lives of the main characters. The kingdoms are still at war with many claimants to the throne and the north is stirring and moving to the wall.I haven't seen much of the TV adaptation but the book gives a better understanding of the complex nature of the plots and the background. Some people find the listing of families and many other things a bit too much and I partially agree but you they have been well throughout and sometimes off insights and humour which enrich the understanding of the main themes.
I shall travel on to book 4 with great expectations.

Robin Guy
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on 5 June 2013
The story continues, develops, takes on some unexpected twists and turns. I found myself sympathising with characters I had previously loathed, whilst still despising them; while I could predict some of the action, there were moments when I was taken completely by surprise.

Martin writes believable characters in the midst of some totally weird situations; characters behave in really complex ways, just like real people do and I like the way Martin captures the way people don't always do the things you think they will do. I also like the way, because it is written from different perspectives, you get a variety of view points and you get a glimpse into how miscommunication, misinterpretation and confusions come about.

I couldn't put it down until I got to that point where you know that if you read for too much longer, you will finish the book but you don't want to finish the book - oh the agony of that dilemma! I now have to decide how long I can put off buying the next one.
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on 3 September 2011
So, on to book three in the series, and as expected the quality is just a little bit less than the book before. It's still good, still enjoyable, but it's beginning to look a bit worn around the edges. Like the previous volume, the sheer number of people and factions gets confusing, and the amount of magic in the story is slowly increasing. Magic is a crutch for bad fantasy writers and for good writers who've run out of ideas, it's just Treknobabble dressed in bearskins. The first book didn't really have any of it at all, but in this one there's quite a bit. It's still stuck lurking on the edges, and not having any significant impact, but more importantly, it's not having any impact at all that couldn't have been achieved without. Therefore it only detracts from the book.
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