My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Things I Liked:
*Tyrion Lannister– He is unquestionably my favourite character and his quote “Never forget who you are, for surely the world won’t. Make it your strength, then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it and, it can never be used to hurt you.” to Jon Snow is brilliant. I love how he forges his own path, regardless of what his other family members think. I also enjoy how Tyrion attempts to mentor Jon Snow, it reveals a lot about the two of them.
*The Narrative:– The Story Elements (Plot + Characters) are fascinating, brilliant and depressing. Though this is mostly because, as a writer, this book shows me just how far I have to go before I’m anywhere near this level of writing skill. I also like how George RR Martin is not afraid to kill off characters and that their deaths have long term emotional impact and serve a purpose in the over-arching plot.
*The Appendix– It has all the houses and their family trees (including who is dead and how they died), which makes understanding who is connected to who in the enormous cast of characters that much easier.
Things I Did Not Like:
*Loads of Characters– The sheer overwhelming enormity of the cast of characters was the reason I had to stop reading the book. It also does not help I found that many of the male characters were difficult to distinguish from each other.
*Too Many Sub-plots– Unfortunately, like the Eye of The World by Robert Jordon, this is the first book in the series of A Song of Fire and Ice and there was an excessive amount of things going on in this book. I would get fully immersed into Jon Snow’s sub-plot up at The Wall, then I would be unceremoniously yanked back to the secret plot back at the capital. While I did enjoy the political intrigue going on around the Iron Throne and the mystery of the previous Hand’s death, The Wall (to me) was more interesting. It would also take ages to get back to Jon Snow, so for me it would be disorientating having to backtrack.
However, the most impacting aspect of this novel was Danny’s Journey and the way it made me think. To be brutally honest, while I understood and emphasized with Danny and her desperate position, however I found myself emphasizing more with Mirri Maz Duur. While I do not condone her actions, I understood why and how she could do it.
It is easy to forget Danny is only 13-14 years of age (as opposed to the TV series 16-18), and thus highlighted just how naïve, privileged and sheltered Danny’s life has been in comparison to other women in the Westeros World. If George RR Martin’s objective was to make my brain work overtime until it felt as though it would explode, well mission accomplished.