Published March 27, 2012 (Audiobook)
Random House Audio
Read by Roy Dotrice
This book's a little easier to write about, because I only finished it the other night. Also because I really didn't enjoy it for the majority of the book.
In complete contrast to the previous book, absolutely nothing happened. A lot of the time, I felt like I was just sitting around waiting for something to actually happen. There was a lot of talking, and as a lot of people say in this series, words are wind.
I think I had this reaction because the characters involved weren't as central to the storyline as ASOS. A lot of the chapters were in Dorne or featured the fucking Ironborn. I hated these chapters more than I hated Davos. Or on the same scale. Rolls eyes. Not Dorne, Dorne was quite interesting.
I know the Ironborn parts were geared towards who would be Dany's King, but it was all just so.. boring. And pointless. Maybe I will be proved wrong.
I really loved the Aemon/Sam chapters, and was intrigued by the Arya ones, but I didn't feel as invested in this book as I did when I was reading book three.
When I got to about halfway through, though, I did have a massive change of heart. It was more Sam focused, and Cersei seemed to be going steadily more insane, and things started to happen. Sam actually started to become brave on the boat and in Braavos especially. I loved that he met Arya in disguise. Now he's met Bran and Arya! I thought her killing the deserter was a nice touch as well. I really didn't like him.
Unfortunately, I thought that the part where Sam sleeps with Gilly after Aemon's pseudo-funeral was the end of the book. I started reading A Dance With Dragons before I checked that I'd properly finished the book, and got to chapter nine before I realised my mistake. I was super invested in ADWD and I didn't really want to go back and finish it, but I'm glad I did because I got to see Sam arrive in Oldtown and Cersei being imprisoned for being an uber-bitch.
So, at first I really didn't like this book. It took me nine chapters of the next book to realise how important it actually is to the series. They're obviously happening at the same time, which is really cool, and the scene is being set for the Dornish takeover. I did really appreciate that the next book heavily implies that Dorne will be big in the final battle for the Iron Throne.
I think the best way to explain this book, is that it's like taking a step back to review all the pieces on the board. It doesn't directly deal with the War, but gives insight into the motivation behind each House's involvement.
My favourite part was when Cersei got her comeuppance. It's been on the cards for so long now, and this plot with Margaery Tyrell was so flimsy, not her finest moment. It was more a power play, now that she doesn't have to answer to anyone. Her father is dead, her brother has disowned her and Tyrion has fled. She doesn't have to be subtle anymore (she thinks) and is just unraveling without her safety net. Her God Complex really gets the better of her.
Overall, it was a helpful, canon guide to the War and where people stand politically and physically.
I didn't like it though. Worst so far.
What did you think? Did I miss something?
I would really like to know someone else's opinion on this book.