Mini Reviews: A Song of George R.R. Martin’s Storytelling

Dunnnn, dunn, dun dun, dunnnn, dunn, dun, dun, dunn, dunn, dun, dun, dunn, dunn dun dun dunn dunn…
Yeahhh, I’ve pretty much had the Game of Thrones theme tune stuck in my head for the entire time it took me to write this post. I feel like I’m going slightly insane now! So yes, while Becky has been somewhat silent on the blog, in real life she has been busy, shifting through thousands of pages worth of Westeros, where dragons reign and people fight over a really uncomfortable chair. Woohoo! (Weirdos). After watching the season 5 shocker finale on TV, I was a little distraught and desperate for more George R.R. Martin, not to mention ANSWERS. I’ve also recently rewatched the entire show with the boyfriend because I am trying to educate him on all things nerdy (it’s working, slowly). All of this led to me feeling determined to try and catch up with the books in time for the release of season 6 and the next novel,Winds of Winter. So here are my reviews of books 3-5!

Overall Impression: With endless pages of non-stop action, twists and shocking deaths this was the best installment so far!

A Storm of Swords Blood and GoldA Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold, whoa, what a ride. Having watched the TV series, I knew this book would be good and that there was serious carnage coming and many big character deaths, but reading it felt like experiencing everything for the first time. This is the novel where everything comes to a crescendo, from the battle between the Night’s Watch and the wildlings, Rob’s fight against the Lannisters, King’s Landing’s growing hatred of Joffrey and Daenerys staking her claim in the east. As a reader, I barely felt like I had time to catch my breath between the whirlwind of awesome.

Martin’s writing was brilliant as always and often had me chuckling in between the more serious scenes, and I liked that he gave his characters so much room to grow in this installment. Tyrion has to finally man up and face some uncomfortable truths, Daenerys grows even more into her role as queen becoming more formidable and impressive with each page, Arya continued to amaze with her resourcefulness and determination, Sansa has to realise the world is not all shining princes and happily ever after’s, while Jon is forced to reevaluate his morals and allegiances.

Basically, this novel has everything you want from a fantasy book, great character development, competent writing and non-stop action. The only problem is, I’m not sure how Martin is going to top this. He’s set the bar high, and I’m wondering if his story has peaked too early.

Writing Style: 5/5 // Originality: 4/5 // Entertainment: 5/5 // Character Development: 5/5
Would I recommend this book? Heck yes!

Overall: 5/5

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Overall Impression: A slow moving installment considering its endless amount of pages, that is made more interesting by a few key characters.

A Feast for Crows by George R.R. MartinI was cautious going into the fourth installment of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I had been told by many readers that the story started to go downhill from book 4 and was hoping desperately that it wouldn’t be true. Having now finished A Feast for Crows, I can understand where many readers are coming from. Compared to the previous books, not a whole lot of significance happens and the plot crawls along at a snails pace, often reiterating the same things when returning to each character, whether that be plotting their next move, worrying about a problem or journeying forward without making much progress. The narrative is also slightly different, excluding several character perspectives that we have come to love such as Tyrion, Daenerys, Jon and Bran, which took me a little while to get used to. However, despite these seemingly big issues, I found that I enjoyed A Feast for Crows.

One of the things I liked was getting Cersei Lannister’s point of view. Every time I reached one of her chapters I did a little jump for joy. She’s such a vile character, constantly plotting and making snide comments about others, which of course, made reading about her a blast! As one of the most horrific character in the series that has caused a lot of grief for others, I liked getting more insight into the way her mind worked, and how she came to make her brutal yet short-sighted decisions. Other aspects of A Feast for Crows I found entertaining were the chapters about the Ironborn (although I couldn’t for the life of me tell you why) and those set in Dorne because they were so beautifully descriptive and the world building had me drooling.

The other main character perspectives – Brienne, Jamie, Sansa, Arya and Sam, started off interesting but soon grew wearisome because they became stagnant, and I must admit I really struggled with their chapters towards the end. So all in all this book was a bit up and down!

Writing Style: 5/5 // Originality: 4/5 // Entertainment: 4/5 // Character Development: 4/5
Would I recommend this book? Yes.

Overall: 4/5

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Overall Impression: A whole lotta nothing dragged out over 624 pages. WHERE HAS THE ACTION GONE?!

A Dance with Dragons Dreams and DustSo after reading A Dance with Dragons, I suddenly understood what other readers were going on about when they said they found the series went downhill, because man, what happened with this book? George R.R. Martin seemed to lose his way a bit with this one. The story was almost painful. I found it tough to concentrate on the pages and even felt the temptation to skim. The first problem I had with A Dance with Dragons was that it featured the POVs I found less interesting such as Bran, Reek (aka Theon) and Jon Snow (I seriously don’t get his appeal, I just don’t. Winter, blah, blah, the wall, blah blah, direwolf blah blah. Bored now.) However, even the characters POVs I normally enjoy such as Daenerys and Tyrion were so damn boring. Only Davos’s the onion knight managed to keep my attention and his chapters were few and far between.

The problem with this book is that it’s a transition book, a lot like A Feast for Crows. It’s like Martin built the crescendo in the third books, A Storm of Swords Part 1 and 2, and has now got to work to get all his characters to the next big events, but he has logistical problems needing to go through lots of boring little events and travelling to get them there. For instance, Jon’s chapters are pretty much him grumbling about being put in charge of the Watch and ordering people about (achieving nothing), while Daenerys complains about being unable to control her conquered cities (but doing nothing about it) and Tyrion mopes around on ships journeying towards the east (also achieving nothing). It’s extremely frustrating, and I can only hope that A Dance with Dragons Part 2 shows these problems coming to some kind of resolution.

While this book wasn’t technically bad because the writing was just as amusing and the world building still impressive, it was just boring and left me feeling as mopey and brooding as Jon Snow.

Jon Snow

Writing Style: 4/5 // Originality: 4/5 // Entertainment: 3/5 // Character Development: 2/5
Would I recommend this book? For fans of the series.

Overall: 3/5

And there we go! You are now all caught up on my A Song of Ice and Fire series progress. Where George R.R. Martin is concerned, I’m definitely going with the slow and steady wins the race mentality because you can’t read too much of him in one go. Now I only have A Dance with Dragons Part 2 to read and I will be all caught up!

Are you a Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire fan? Did you feel that the books began to go downhill? Have you read any good fantasy books lately? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

23 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: A Song of George R.R. Martin’s Storytelling

  1. I really need to catch up. I got stuck at Book 2 and it’s been difficult to move forward ever since.

    I love your short review of the books. For a book as long as GOT, there is always so much to say but you did well making it a fun, exciting read. It definitely made me want to return to it again.

    • Thank you! I’m glad you found it entertaining. I just figured that so much has already been said about this series that it would be hard to say anything new even in a long review, so I decided to make them short and snappy with a bit of humour. 🙂
      I’m glad it made you feeling like picking them up again, they’re awesome books (well, apart from that last one). I hope you enjoy the rest of A Clash of Kings!

      Thanks for reading. 🙂

  2. I agree with you “A Dance With Dragons” definitely was not as good as the others in the series. Honestly I think “A Storm of Swords” was the best and had the most action! I had to put ADWD down and eventually pick it back up again, it was pretty slow paced. You’re right everyone was super mopey, I think Daenerys overall bothered me in the newest book. Like you said all she did was complain and then do nothing about it, or she did some stuff but they were very bad decisions…. Great post though! I loved that you reviewed these, I never got the chance to. 🙂

    • It seems to be a pretty consistent opinion that ADWD was naff, even with the hardcore fans! It must be so hard for an author to keep the momentum in a series like this, though, so I didn’t want to be too harsh. You see, I was so tempted to put it down as well but I felt like if I did I wouldn’t want to pick it back up again, so I did the opposite and powered through it as quickly as I could! Have you read ADWD part 2 as well? If so was it any better? :S

      Yes, Dany bothered me so much! She’s been so kick-ass and strong in the other installments that I really didn’t like her floundering around and being indecisive. Even if it was realistic (she is young after all) it didn’t make for fun reading!

      Thank you. 🙂

      • My copy of ADWD isn’t broken into Parts, it’s just one big book. I actually didn’t know they broke it up into parts….must be a UK thing? But yes I’ve read the entire series, I have no more left to read now 😦 And it was pretty much the same up until the end, everyone was still being indecisive or making dumb decisions. And I know what you mean Dany was kicking so much ass and now she isn’t, I wish she’d get her butt over to Westeros and just conquer already, haha 🙂

      • Ah right I see, of course. Yes, it’s definitely a UK thing, although I’m sure other places have done it too! I find it quite annoying actually and wish they wouldn’t do it. But, I suppose, it means they’re selling more books and, therefore, getting more money *sigh*.
        Ahh well that sucks. Darn it. Haha, I know what you mean, I can’t wait for her to go overseas and for the action to really start. It’s going to be epic. 😀

  3. All I can say is that I can’t wait for the next book!!!!!!!! This is one of my favourite series of all time, but I definitely have to have a quiet place to read these books in order to keep track of all the characters and goings on :). I’m so glad you are enjoying the series!

    • I know I would be feeling the same way if I had been waiting as long as you had! I really hope it doesn’t disappoint and has a bit more action than ADWD. I still love George R.R. Martin and his world, though. 🙂 Yes agreed, you really have to pay attention!

      Have you read his spin-off book A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms yet? I don’t know whether it’s worth reading or not. I haven’t had a great experience with spin-offs and I don’t know anyone personally who has read it in real life or the blogging community to gauge an opinion.

  4. It’s been yonks since I read these, and I have no idea which book is which, but it’s good to hear you’re almost up to date with the series!

    I thought the Iron Men were rubbish, the Daenerys stuff was guff, Bran’s ‘adventures’ were an exercise in pointlessness, Reek wasn’t bad, Tyrion has lost his edge… I think. It’s all kind of blurring into one and I’m worried about saying any more because I don’t know what you haven’t read.

    I’m very much looking forward to the next book when Fatty McBeardy finally gets his arse moving.

    • I know! I remember you zooming through them, it was very impressive.
      That’s the thing, I don’t even know why I enjoyed reading about the Ironmen because they weren’t very interesting, I think they must have just been more interesting in comparison to the even more boring perspectives, lol! I’ve never liked Bran’s chapters much but I’ve always enjoyed Dany’s so I was disappointed by that. And of course, I love Tyrion so I hope he gets back on form soon!

      Haha, I think a lot of people are with you there. Did you know he released a kind of spin-off/prequel novel called A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms? I think it’s supposed to be set when the Targaryen’s were ruling Westeros. It might help tide you over!

  5. Well said! You mentioned many of thoughts I had about those books on my first read through. I didn’t finish Dance with Dragons because it dragged (and because I have the hardcover which is heavy as hell!!) and I didn’t know when the next book in the series would be out.
    I didn’t much enjoy Feast for Crows either because most of the character perspectives weren’t interesting to me but I think they were needed to show what’s going on in other parts of Westeros. Still, I think Feast and Dance are GRRM stalling a bit. I can’t help thinking that. The plot has grown and grown and I wonder how will he ever end it and is he able to. I also appreciated reading from Cersei’s perspective. Much as I don’t like her, I do “like”/admire her as a character. Did her reflection on the prophecy she received when she was younger and her fear of being replaced by a younger queen remind you of a fairytale? It made me think of Snow White.

    • Thanks, Zezee. 🙂 I’m glad to hear we had similar thoughts, even if the thoughts are frustrating ones! All I can say is whoa, you had a Dance of Dragons in HARDBACK?!?! Did you have a death wish? Yikes, LOL. Who needs the gym when you have books like that. I’m not sure I would have been able to finish it either. Phew.
      I can definitely understand why a lot of people didn’t enjoy A Feast for Crows. If I hadn’t loved Cersei’s perspective so much, it would have gotten 3 stars no question. Yes, I think Martin is definitely stalling, whether intentional or not. It’s like he’s got so much story he can’t work out how to bring it all together for the big Others and Dany showdown that needs to happen. I think I read somewhere that he was considering doing a time skip initially but then decided against it, so maybe that’s why this section is slow? I don’t know.

      Yes! Her prophecy did remind me of a fairytale, the old more grim version of fairytales. You have that spot on!

      Thanks for reading, Zezee, and I look forward to comparing our thoughts when his new book comes out. 🙂

      • Haha! I was overexcited that it was published and got it soon after it came out. Won’t be doing that again. Yea, I’d love to see if Dany will get to the Wall. Not many like Bran’s parts but I love them because I’m so curious about those magical folk that call to him ( I forgot the name for them). My prediction is that he will help Dany in the blizzard zombie showdown. By that time, Arya will be a ninja assassin that goes around killing Lannisters.

      • Haha yeah, I’m sure I would have been too if I had been up to date with the series!
        YES. I love your predictions. Dany has definitely got to help slay the Others and I think it would be epic if Arya became a ninja and killed the Lannisters.

        I think they’re called the children of the forest. 🙂

  6. I’ve been debating for AGES about whether to read these books or not! I’ve watched all seasons of the TV show so I think I’m being lazy and putting it off. Starting these books feels like such a big commitment! You’ve reassured me that they’re pretty easy to read though; I was worried they’d be a bit of a drudge.

    If I were a brave person I might attempt to get through them all before the new seasons starts in April…(unlikely but a nice thought eh?)

    P.s. Loving the concise reviews 🙂

    • I feel your pain. I did the same thing but because I’m such a big fantasy book reader anyway, that was what finally tipped the scales for me. It is a BIG commitment. But to be honest, the TV series does such an amazing job, better even in some ways than the books in places. Well the latter two books have been a bit of a drudge, but the rest were great!
      Haha, that would be a proper mission! Thank you, lovely. 🙂

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