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Gorge R.R Martin at his best.
Ok, this was the only time in my life I have ever shunned a book, but for about three days all I could do was pick up the book, shake my head and put it back down, such was my astonishment at some of the events in A Storm of Swords 2: Blood and Gold. I said in another review A Song of Ice and Fire is not for the faint of heart, this one will test you no matter what.
Martin has with me at least been able to cultivate an air "oh god, what's going to happen next". I read a fair bit of fantasy and I like think I'm a good judge of what's coming, but not with this guy, I have no idea how it's going to end and I love it.
Again, it's well crafted, well written and exceptionally well detailed. At the top of his game with this one.
This is the second half of the third volume in George.R.R.Martins Song Of Ice And Fire fantasy series, so big that in paperback it had to be released in two volumes!
It carries directly on from events in the previous book, depicting the aftermath of the Blackwater seige and the inevitable consequences. In the North, Jon Snow infiltrates The Wildlings and finds his loyalties severely tested as he attempts to gather enough intelligence to allow his return to his Black Brothers in the Night Watch whilst Robb Stark finds himself demonstrating his own loyalty when he tries to make peace with the Freys following his recent affront to them and their family.
Back in the South, Tyrion, or The Imp as some would call him, begins really coming in to his own here and this book sees him slowly taking his place at centre stage as he battles to hold his own against all the members of his own troubled family. Battling against his sister Cersei, his nephew Joffrey (the one and rightful King Westeros is lead to believe) and his father too, he finds his attempts to try and rescue the Kingdom from falling apart in civil unrest constantly thwarted!
And, across the ocean, Daenerys fights her own battles trying to establish herself as the Khalessi who will straddle the world with her trio of Dragons, born amidst fire.
To say this book is heavy-going is an understatement! At times, the political skirmishes and nefarious and underhand dealings by all involved as they fight for their own piece of the Kingdom almost bog down the story and yet, to George.R.R.Martins credit, it never quite becomes too much. This is in part due to the way that Martin tells the story from the perspectives of so many different characters; all of them brilliantly concieved and well executed to the point where they are all highly believable!
If you have not read preceeding volumes, do not even think of presuming to pick this up as you will be totally lost; this is not something you can just dip your toe in and just pick-up what has been going on! Even those of us following this carefully, at times have to backtrack to keep up with what is going on!
But this is High fantasy at its very best and the series that the word Epic was definitely invented for!
And if you have read this far, believe me when you say that you are going to want to keep reading because things are only just starting to hot up!
Book Series: A Storm of Swords