First things first: This book was missing an ending. Obviously that's because A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow is merely the first part of the third book in the series. As far as I can tell right now, though, the cut was done at a very appropriate point, dramatic enough it certainly was.
It's no secret that I don't like the chapters about Jon and the Night's Watch. I find them boring, honestly. And in retrospect, I think there were quite a few chapters like that. So much so, that halfway through I quit the book for a few weeks. This is not a book that can always be read lightly. At a lot of points during the course of the novel, I had to raise my eyes, blink a few times and just go: "What?" because I was honestly startled/shocked/disgusted (sometimes at the same time) at what was currently happening in the book.
A few times I was gaping at some character's strength, blushed at embarrassments or felt true heartbreak at a funeral. Even the minor characters got a lot of love from me, because I think Martin has a real gift for creating characters that seem so real you feel like you can almost touch them. As it happens, you have to bury them quite often as well ...
A few things that are specific to this book only and not the entire series:
- I was not expecting what happened to Sansa. I mean ... it was hinted at, but I thought something or other would prevent it. But it really happened, and I'm still shocked. It did show a lot of goodness in another character, though.
- The Lannisters are still my favorite House in the series. Even though most of them are truly evil. My support for Jamie is growing! Poor, poor thing!
- Am I the only one thoroughly enjoying every scene Brienne is in? I don't know why, but I think the scene where Jamie and she (or is it "Jamie and her"? Foreigner here, please bear with my English!) are naked in the same bathtub was downright hilarious, no matter the serious conversation. I just had this picture in my head!
In conclusion: If you have not yet started this series, you definitely should. You do need patience and a lot of time. A lot of time, a lot lot lot of time. Because for whatever reason it always takes me a long time to finish a book in this series. But it's just sooo good!
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