This, the second of the Song of Ice and Fire series, has shifted gears somewhat. Some of the characters who had points of view in the first installment do not in this one, and new points of view have been installed. Not sure I’m a big fan of this, though some are necessary to apply the twists and turns that Martin evidently deemed necessary. Again, however, some of these twists seemed a bit much.
This volume seemed to me to be the “rock throwing” phase of the story. Everything that can possibly go wrong, does. One true bright spot, and something that really kept me reading, was the Arya point of view. She is such a joy, and watching her evolve is wonderful. Conspicuously absent was Rob’s point of view, and the into of Theon Greyjoy, whom I have difficulty coming to grips with. Theon seems to make all the worst possible decisions, and has such a reprehensible view of women that I find him hard to read.
One of my major problems with the story was that, as is often the case with the second in any series, is the lack of any kind of resolution of any of the major conflicts. Yes, climactic battles are fought, but they seem to fizzle rather than clash. The graphic violence seems exorbitant to the point that the gore and brutality level is sometimes off-putting.
Don’t think that I did not enjoy the book at all; I find Martin’s writing gripping and compelling, but this one left me a little flat and too many dangling endings, with protagonists left in dire peril, as if the author is simply writing to ensure that the reader will buy the next book. Well, okay, I’ll buy it, but you better conclude something in this next one, George, or we will have words…
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