Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Book 10 of 2013: A Storm of Swords: Part 2, Blood and Gold by George R.R. Martin

When I read the first volume of A Storm of Swords I got totally sucked in and thought 'I'm going to go on and read the next one as soon as possible'. Then of course other things happened and I didn't actually get around to it. After feeling a bit disappointed by the books I was reading on my Kindle for the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die challenge I set myself, I decided I needed to read something just for me. The obvious choice was A Storm of Swords: Part 2 Blood and Gold and it definitely revived my reading mojo.

Warning! This post will contain spoilers. Read on with care.

In some places these two volumes were published as one, so the story pretty much continues where it left off. Edmure Tully is all set to marry one of the daughters of Walder Frey,  Jaime Lannister is making his way home, Jon Snow is making his way back to Castle Black, and Joffrey gets married. Of course, by the end of the book, lots of people have died, strange and magical things are happening  and no one is in the same place as they were at the beginning.

It took me a little longer to get into than I was expecting, mainly because it's been several months since I read the last one (October, I think) and I'd forgotten what had happened. I wouldn't recommend going with this long a gap between these books, particularly this one. Looking back I probably should have refreshed my memory by reading a quick synopsis of the story so far to make it easier to pick it back up. That said, it didn't slow me down particularly, I picked up the threads fairly quickly and got sucked in just as before.

One thing I'm learning with this series is that nobody is safe. Anyone can die and usually they will. There were three significant deaths in this book; one of which I was kind of expecting, two of which totally shocked me. I ended up reading over that bit a couple of times convinced that I'd misunderstood it and was reading it wrong. I found myself wondering who would be next and scanning ahead on the list of chapters I have on my phone (as my Kindle version doesn't have working page numbers) and feeling reassured if I could see someone's name up ahead.

My favourite characters to read about were Tyrion and Sansa. I've liked Tyrion from the start, he's beautifully flawed, but he's also really geniune and he does things for himself but also for the good of others too, he's one of the only characters like that. Sansa annoyed me in the beginning, but as time's gone on I've developed a real sense of sympathy for her. I found myself enjoying Jaime's chapters as well, I didn't like him much before but he's growing on me now.

I was really into this one by the end. I ended up staying up really late one night reading because I had less than ten chapters to go, and I just couldn't do it. There's nothing worse than having to put a book down because you just can't keep your eyes open any more.

It ends with loads of questions. Magic seems to be starting to play a greater part in the story now and I'm curious to see what direction it's going to go in. I'm really looking forward to the next one (though slightly worried because I've only got a couple more on my Kindle after this, one of which is another two-volume one, and then I'll have to actually wait for the next one to be published).

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