See my last post for a review that applies to the series as a whole.
I looooved this book. Even more than the first one, I think! In this one, the characters I liked best get fleshed out more (Tyrion! Arya! Dany!) and the political intrigue gets pushed to the next level. The events of this novel pick up right where the first one leaves off: Westeros is in chaos; there are four different kings; the nation is divided. I love that Martin isn’t afraid to shake things up–main characters are killed, and the status quo shifts completely on a regular basis. It makes for a really thrilling read, because you literally never know what will happen. He takes risks that most other authors won’t take, and I really appreciate that. In writing classes, they always tell you to “kill your darlings,” and Martin really embodies that philosophy. Even great, well-rounded characters–the story’s heroes, per se–are not spared. You get the sense that he really does things based on what the story is telling him to do, not on what he wants to do. Who’da thunk that I’d be seeing such a great representation of all my writing professors told me in a fantasy novel?
Anyway, I won’t go too far in depth with the plot. If you liked #1, you’ll like #2. Go read it!