With 2015 and the fifth series of the blockbuster TV adaptation Game of Thrones rapidly approaching I thought it was high time to immerse myself back into the trials and tribulations of Westeros. So I reached for A Storm of Swords: 2 Blood and Gold; the fourth instalment in Martin’s epic series.
A Storm of Swords: 2 Blood and Gold is the fourth instalment in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. The next two paragraphs will contain spoilers for previous instalments.
A Storm of Swords 2 returns us to the action of The Seven Kingdoms to find them still in chaos with bloody war raging across the land. King Robert’s heir apparent Joffrey is still upon The Iron Throne but the kingdoms are filled with terrible rumours that he is not actually Robert’s. This has led to the rise of other claimants to the throne. These include Robert’s brother Stannis, Robb Stark the eldest son of Lord Eddard Stark, and then across the sea Daenarys Targaryen the remaining descendant of the Dragon Lords. To strengthen Joffrey’s position an elaborate wedding to the beautiful and popular Margery Tyrell of Highgarden is being planned. Meanwhile unbeknownst to them all evil is stirring beyond The Wall and there isn’t enough Brothers of the Night Watch left to hold it back much longer. Winter is coming. Oh that phrase continues to send a shiver down my spine!
A Storm of Swords: 1 is peopled with a whole host of interesting characters. So many I couldn’t possibly discuss them all here so instead I am going to focus on the four remaining protagonists vying for The Iron Throne. First of course we Joffrey who is beautiful, cruel, and vain. I can’t say there is any winning feature about him. He really is a character you love to hate. Next we have Stannis Baratheon who is proud, loyal, fair, but not the most charismatic of characters unlike his brothers Robert and Renley. Next we have Robb Stark son of murdered Eddard Stark. Robb who is young, clever, brave, and yet humble. I fear he has made an unwise marriage decision however. Then finally over the sea we have Daenarys Targaryen the heir of the Dragon Lords who were banished by King Robert. Daenarys is the only female claimant. She is young, beautiful, and ambitious yet she is kind and fair with it. All four claimants are fascinating to read about but I only truly like Robb and Daenarys.
While I have watched the television series, A Storm of Swords 2 the book is new for me. What put me off reading this series originally was the sheer length of these books. A Storm of Swords 2 is just over 550 pages long but length was no issue. I couldn’t put this book down and reached the end before I knew it. Like the previous instalments it is jam-packed with action, adventure, intrigue, love, war, lies, fighting, secrets, and shocks! Martin’s writing is detailed and compelling, and I love how he breaks these books into bite-size chapters shown through the eyes of different characters. I always find myself completely immersed in the Seven Kingdoms as I get to explore different cities, castles, and lands from the view-point of different characters. There are a lot of names, places, and events to remember in this series but I didn’t find it that hard to keep track especially as there is maps and a fantastic appendix to help.
A Storm of Swords 2 is an excellent epic fantasy adventure. I highly recommend to those who enjoy fantasy and historical literature. This series does contain sexual and violent content so recommended for adults only. I look forward to the fifth series of Game of Thrones. Great read.
Are you reading this series? Are you watching the TV series?