This novel is only the first half of the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire
series, and it shows. Throughout this book, I felt like a rubber band that was slowly being tightened, and tightened, and I'm still waiting for everything to kick off. This is not Martin's fault, exactly, but it is obvious that this is only half of a full book (despite it's length). That being said, I'm dreading reading part two. With all the tension that's been built up in Steel and Snow
, Blood and Gold
promises to change everything irrevocably.
We are introduced to two new viewpoints in Steel and Snow
: Jaime Lannister and Samwell Tarly. With Jaime, the Kingslayer, we get to see a different side to him and, despite everything he has done in the previous two books, I actually found myself growing to like him. Sure, he was arrogant and horrifically rude to Brienne, but, despite that, I liked him. Damn it, Martin. That's
a true mark of talent in an author. Samwell's viewpoint was a surprise, especially as it appeared quite a way into the book, but it was a necessary viewpoint. And I'm fond of Samwell, so I'm really glad we can keep track of him now.
I'm also starting to question my dislike of Melisandre, I want to slap Sansa (I hate that she's treating Tyrion like that, even though it's understandable. But I like Tyrion, damn it!A Song of Ice and Fire.
And where's Theon? ;A;
The thing that makes the books in A Song of Ice and Fire
stand out is the exquisitely detailed worldbuilding. The banners, the sigils, the histories of the houses, the other cultures, the legends, the songs. I particularly was interested by Astapor, and the Unsullied. When it comes to worldbuilding, Martin is my idol. Sure, there's some people that say he goes into a bit too much detail when it comes to banners, and histories, and many names and minor characters, but I love every word of it. It feels like a real world and, unlike some books, that world does not revolve around the main characters. It lives around them, and people have their own motivations and goals, and it makes me so happy when I read it.
And don't get me started on the intricacies of the politics and intrigue. <3<br/>
I love the writing, as well. Martin definitely has a way with words, and some of the sentences just make me want to hug the book and absorb his talent. For example, that very last sentence. Hnngh. <3<br/>
The only thing that bothered me about this book was some of the magic. In essence, this is a very realistic and gritty sort of world, and sometimes the more supernatural elements seemed out of place. I could deal with dragons and Others; these seem to be part of the fabric of the world. The magic of the Lord of the Light, however, seems a step too far, especially in regards to Beric Dondarrion. Perhaps this is because the magic is attached to a religion in a world where, otherwise, the gods seem very distant. The Old Gods and the Seven don't do anything to help out the characters, or anything to suggest they might be more than the faith of men; R'hllor seems more than that, and I'm not sure I like it.
All in all, this is the book that seems to be the calm before the storm. Because of the fact it's only half of a book, and therefore feels slightly unsatisfying (plus my issue with R'hllor (which I hope will change)), this one loses a star from me. I'm very glad I have the next book in the series beside me to read, even though it seems as though I'm in for a very bumpy ride.