Top positive review
Weddings and murders
on 20 August 2012
This is the second tome of Storm of Swords (Blood and Gold) from the UK edition. The tomes are sold in one massive volume in the US, which is preferable since Steel and Snow is a bit of an anti-climax when compared to Blood and Gold with the heart rending game-changes all happening in this tome.
I don't know about the gold, but you certainly get masses of blood in this one. Although I will try to avoid spoilers as much as possible, a good half a dozen of the characters come to a very "sticky end", most being murdered rather killed in battle. It very looks like Martin had fun bumping off some of them, if only to introduce some more chaos and further disruption into the war-torn continent of Westeros. Once again, everything is up in the air, with some of the "fans" howling like direwolves because one of their favourite characters (pick your choice after finishing the book!) has been somewhat brutally removed from the scene. Of course, as we have now become accustomed, all this happens with a suitable amount - meaning a lot - of treachery and deception with most of the murders happening at, or shortly after, weddings.
However, this book is not only about marriages, treasons, vengeance and murders. There are also some interesting evolutions in the personalities of some of the main characters who seem to become much more statesmen-like. One is Jaime Lannister, who starts taking his role as Commander of the Seven very seriously, even if it means clashing with other members of his family and making family loyalty come second. Another is Jon, whose feats in defending the Wall will be duly rewarded. A third is perhaps Stannis Barratheon, although his sense of duty is perhaps more doubtful since the expedition that he undertakes and the help he provides also happens to fit his own interests.
Even the epilogue is rather gripping with one of the characters that was thought to dead having obviously survived a rather grievous wound and seeking retribution. Expect much more blood-letting in future volumes, as the story gets to include Oldtown, Dorne and the Free Cities, areas of Martin's world that we have not yet discovered...