I’ll keep this short and sweet, and try not to ruin it for those that haven’t yet finished or read ADWD.
As the title states – this is a review, so there may be some spoilers, please don’t read if you might get upset.
So then, ADWD … Well, I think it’s important to explain the structure of the book. GRRM had a nice little preface before the start of the book explaining that A Fear For Crows (AFFC) and ADWD are actually to be viewed as one book, the former concentrates on the South, Kings Landing and those pesky Lannisters whilst ADWD focuses primarily on the North, the free cities and the wall.
So right up until halfway through ADWD the timeline matches that of AFFC and we are seeing the events unfold from a different prospective, however the timeline and story then progresses – along with what I felt was a BIG revelation.
I have to admit, I missed any reference to this phoenix (raising from the believed dead) character in AFFC but good ol’ Tyrion fills us (the reader) in and my eyes became saucers. It seems we have another Targaryen in the midst!
I did feel a little cheated by GRRM at this point if I’m honest, our author has a brutal way of killing off characters that we have grown to love and care for but on this occasion he reintroduces someone we’ve believed to be dead from the start without the proverbial trail of treats. I do hope that he progresses this character along nicely and it isn’t a red herring, else I fear my head might explode.
I think it’s fair to say (along with trawling forums) that we, the readers all have a good idea who Jon Snow’s parents really are. So much emphasis is but on Jon being a Stark bastard, being offered Winterfell and turning it down, along with his musings and pain of not knowing who his mother is for there not to be a big revelation, I refuse to accept that Jon is Ned Stark’s bastard. Jon is Ned’s nephew, Lyanna’s son. This is my personal view, not part of the review or spoilers I hasten to add – however I do believe that the promise Lyanna asked of Ned refers to her son Jon, Ned is an honorable man and would never have betrayed his sister.
Jon’s father? Rhaegar of course, Jon was no product of rape. He was the product of a love affair between Rhaegar and Lyanna, please trawl the web for confirmation. There are far far too many clues to this for me to type now and frankly, I can’t be bothered.
Back to the review, I admit the pacing of the book was a little slow to start with, but I soon got back into the swing of it and fully pictured myself in Westeros, in Dorne, on the seas and in the free cities. I particularly like the way GRRM fails to describe places in great detail, he allows the reader to picture their own world. As an aspiring author this is something I like to do as well, if the reader can picture and create their own world they are more likely to engage in the story.
I love the pace of the dialogue between characters, I love the POV characters and we are introduced to a few more. Including “Reek” – I had a lot of sympathy for Reek and through the clever use of words I slowly realised who he was. Regardless of what a complete idiot he is, I really felt for him. His POV changes from Reek back to his “real” character further on. After all the chances this guy has had – I hope this time he learns his lesson and repents. Failing that, I want him to die a quick death – he deserves that much after what has happened to him.
Personal faves? Dany, Ayra, Jon and Tyrion – GRRM knows that his readers enjoy these characters so I wouldn’t be surprised if at least one of them is killed off….
That leads me to Jon. Don’t worry, I’m not ruining anything for the reader here but Jon is gravely injured. In typical GRRM fashion we are left to believe he is dead but something tells me he won’t be. Again, there are so many clues that Jon is really Azhor Azhai reborn that it’s getting silly! I want to shake Melisandre at times when she gazes into the fire, asks to see AA and all she can see is snow. I may be wrong again, but at this moment in time, I’m pretty confident JS isn’t dead, if we find he is I think I shall cry. He makes the books for me.
Mentioning the North and Jon leads me onto Roose and Ramsay Bolton …. If there was ever a family in Westeros I hated – it’s these guys. Human pain and suffering seems to have been their specialty, there is a line in the book that defines them to me ” …Get the keys and remove those chains from him, before you make me rue the day I raped your mother.”
GRRM leads us down a dark path with the Bolton’s, the wedding of the “fake Arya” and the subsequent claiming of her virginity and the use of Reek at this point made me cringe. Perverse yet compelling. I hope this family is obliterated, but I doubt it.
Arya is amazing as always, typical Stark – full of grit that girl and we really need more Arya time, I was thoroughly disappointed with the lack of “Arya-time” in this book. but the small amounts we had were great, she has grown so much in the 3 (it is 3 isn’t it?) years the story plot has been progressing.
There is so much to discuss and mull over that I don’t want to ruin it all here, if any of you readers are interested then check out the following group http://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Dance-with-Dragons-spoiler-filled-discussion-group/215985345113329 set up by a fellow fan we hope to chat about the book and argue over our thoughts!
After all … Nothing is ever easy when playing the game of thrones …