Author: George R.R. Martin
Type: Fiction, novel
Part of series: A Song of Ice and Fire (#4)
I read it: February 2013
I took almost a year off between books three and four, and it was fun to get back into the action (winter seems the best time to read these volumes). I enjoyed this one, and I could not figure out why so many people talk it down. Was it boring? Not really…it seemed to have almost as much forward action as any other book in the series. Was it full of entirely new characters? Nope, there is plenty of Jaime, Cersei, Brienne, Arya, Sansa, and Sam here. A bit too much Brienne and Sam for me, but excellently juicy doses of Jaime and Cersei. And is it true that some people hate the Sansa chapters? I find myself wishing there were more. But what I really wanted were more chapters about new characters from Dorne and the Iron Islands. We get perspectives from Aeron, Asha, Victarion, Arienne, and others that I can barely remember because they were woefully underdeveloped. If anything, the book suffers because there is too little of the new storylines. And from the characters we have known since the beginning, namely Sansa and Arya, there is oddly little emotion and reflection in their tales. Sansa gets romantically kissed by Petyr and we do not know how she feels about it; Arya kills a man in cold blood for god’s sake, and it seems to barely register for her character. This is why the series takes some stomaching at this point: not because book four is slow and scattered, but because it is far too quick for its own good.