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4.7 out of 5 stars
1,661
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 7 April 2015
This is a book that rewards perseverance, I have tried time and time again to read this book, but it's been a tough one to crack. In part I blame my decision to continue watching the TV adaptation before completing this book and others in the series.
By the time I was halfway through I didn't want to put it down and was again enthralled.
If you struggled like I have I can only suggest to try it, try it again and persevere.
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on 22 August 2012
The second book in Martin's epic focusses heavily on the disparate members of the Stark family and their Lannister enemies. It's a very political story which might disappoint those looking for endless battle scenes in their fantasy, though I found this to be a highlight as I love stories with complex plotting.

Martin's characters continue to be the highlight of his writing. Despite their status as enemies, the main characters whose points of view the reader is aligned with are incredibly likeable and I found it made for an excellent reading experience.

The narrative moves forward at a quick enough pace, presented as long chapters, each told from a different point of view to its neighbours. This is a perfect way of presenting such a wide-ranging story without it ever feeling that the reader has left any characters behind. Recapping of what occurred in the first book was covered in a very natural manner and I barely noticed - whether this means a reader who had skipped the first book would follow I cannot say.

I can find nothing bad to say about this book - I was surprised by how disappointed I was when it was over, and am looking forward to picking up book three.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 24 July 2012
If you loved book one (A Game of Thrones), then you will love this one as well, just as I (and thousands of other readers) did. There are many reasons for that, and most have already been mentioned by the many previous reviewers over the past twelve years or so.

One is that this is escapism for adults at its best. Its feels and sound "real" and no character is entirely "black" or "white". There certainly are lots of "goodies" and "baddies" and these are rather easy to distinguish. However, some (or even most) of the "baddies" can "feel" almost sympathetic, at times, or, at least, Martin depicts them and shows their feelings in ways that make them so and allow readers to empathize with them, regardless of how ruthless they may be. A typical example is Tyrion Lannister, the Imp, who happens to be one of my favorites, but even his dashing and traitorous elder brother Jaime can elicit sympathy, at times.

A second point is, of course, that the author pulls no punches in trying (very successfully) in making the story sound and feel real, with all the sex and violence that you may wish for, but also much more than that. Knights are warriors, fighters and killers, not paragons of virtue and nobility. Lords - and not only mercenaries - change sides, according to their interests and attack those who were naïve enough to believe they were friends. Civil war across the whole fictitious continent of Westeros (which has vaguely the shape of Great Britain but something like ten times its size) brings out the worst in many. At times, I felt I was reading something on the War of the Roses and this story is partly inspired by the historical civil war, except that it is even more complex, with five or six sides in the field.

A third point is that we get introduced to a number of "new" characters. In some cases, such as that of Stannis Barratheon, we have heard of them but not seen them in action. In a few other cases, there are entirely new (although I will not mention these to avoid spoilers). In others, they take on a life of their own (such as Theon). A fourth point, already made by other reviewers, is the presence of credible and key female characters, including at least two or three among the warriors, alongside the queens and ladies.
The story telling is much the same as in the first book. Martin jumps from one lead character to another to tell us what is happening in various parts of the continent from the Wall (with Jon Snow, bastard son of the recently beheaded Lord Stark) to the East, with Danaerys, the last of her line, and her dragons.

There are, however, a few things that made this book slightly less attractive - although just as griping - than book one, at least for me. Despite being over 870 pages, nothing much seems to happen to some of the characters (Danaerys, in particular). I did get the -somewhat subjective - impression that the pace had slowed down. I was also surprised not to find ANY chapters on Robb Stark. You keep hearing about his campaigns and victories but, unlike in the previous volume, all you hear about is second hand information. To be fair, however, this is largely because Martin seems to have chosen to shift the core of the story in this volume to other fronts on which the wars are being fought, in particular the North and King's Landing, and the fighting and battle scenes are just as good as in the previous book. Finally, the author also introduces us to new people and civilizations. For instance, those of the Iron Islands seem to be inspired by the Scandinavian Vikings who settled in the Hebrides.

All in all, I loved this book and just could not drop it, just like volume one. However, I found it, of course, less original than the first volume. I also found it a bit on the long side and it would be highly preferable to read the volumes in sequence. For me, this is a strong four star book, but it does not quite deserve five stars.
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on 21 May 2017
Ordered for my brother and his wife to listen to on their way to spain, they were very happy with the set and the price!!!
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on 30 June 2017
Read after watching the series and there is so much more detail, and different enough that even if you don't like the programme you may still like the book. The differences just make it more interesting
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on 13 August 2017
Came in very poor shape, very battered and seemed to have got very wet at some point, apart from the aesthetics all is well, will save you some money but if you like your books in perfect shape, shop elsewhere
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on 15 July 2017
Great book for any occasion. Has interesting plot and good character development!
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on 23 January 2015
Have never seen the television series but wanted to read the book/s to see what all the fuss was about. I (eventually) finished reading the first book in the series and ending up quite enjoying it. I am now 20% through this one. Liking it so far
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on 19 July 2017
Great product price and delivery thank you x
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on 31 May 2017
An amazing and engrossing read following the characters and the families from the first book
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