Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey of House Lannister sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Stannis Baratheon, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall. But young Robb of House Stark still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Robb plots against his despised Lannister enemies even as they hold his sister hostage at King's Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world.  But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others--a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords...

The battle for the Iron Throne is taking its toll on all the Kings.  Queen Daenerys might be taking on more people than she can handle, King Robb has lost the North to the Iron born, King Stannis is growing old and frail at a frightening speed, and King Joffrey… well, he doesn’t really care enough to be affected, now does he?  Early on in the book we learn that King Balon Greyjoy has died, leaving one less King vying for the power seat of Westeros.  Joffrey still continues to be the annoying little boy king we know him to be, preparing for the spectacle of a wedding with Margaery Tyrell.  Stannis must find a way to win the people of Westeros to his cause after the disastrous Battle of the Blackwater.  Robb Stark must first reclaim the North before he can march on the Lannisters.  Daenerys’ army grows large in numbers, but can she trust them? These are only the issues surrounding the royals.  The “lesser” characters face troubles of their own.  

Arya Stark just cannot seem to reach her family – something always gets in the way.  Sansa Stark, still virtually a prisoner at King’s Landing, must find a way to escape the Lannister clutches once and for all.  Bran, along with Meera and Jojen, must make their way North of the wall, which is sure to be attacked by Mance Rayder and the free folk at any moment.  Jon Snow must return to Castle Black, prove himself a true Black Brother and convince the Night’s Watch that he is not a turn-cloak.  Brienne of Tarth will stop at nothing to complete her mission to return Jamie Lannister to his Lord father and return the Stark girls to Lady Catelyn, but the most terrible of unforeseen circumstances makes her task impossible.

George R.R Martin’s A Storm of Swords 2: Blood and Gold is, hands down, my favourite book of the A Song Of Ice And Fire series, so far.  I read this instalment about twice as fast as any of the previous ones; I just could not put it down!  Action follows action on every page, and there are surprises around every corner.  We finally learn who sent the dagger to kill Bran, who really killed Jon Arryn and why, and what became of Barristan the Bold after escaping King’s Landing.  Tyrion Lannister must again answer for a crime he did not commit, and learns a truth that might finally cause him to re-evaluate his misplaced loyalty to his conniving family.

This instalment of ISOIAF literally made my jaw drop several times.  I got so mad at Martin that I threw my book down, unwilling to read any further.  Of course, I picked the book back up almost immediately and continued reading.  There are a whopping 8 significant character deaths in this instalment!  This book truly delivers shock after shock, and where the ASOIAF series will go from here on out is anyone’s guess.  Martin’s writing is utterly unpredictable.  Nothing is for certain and no character is safe.

I have already bought A Feast For Crows, but after all the action I need a little vacation from Westeros before diving into this next one.  Besides, after reading this brilliant piece of literature, I fear that the upcoming instalments might not live up to the epicness of A Storm of Swords.  I so hope my fears are unfounded.  

Product information:
Title: A Song of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords 2 - Blood and Gold
Author: George R.R Martin
Number of pages: 656
Publisher: Bantam
Year: 2000

ISBN: 9780007447855
ISBN-13: 9780007447855

My final A Storm of Swords tweet

Warning - when reading this book, do not occasionally "pop in" to the #AStormOfSwords topic, some readers drop major spoilers!  Luckily I only checked on what others were saying when I was already through with the book.

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