Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Martin makes good on all the momentum he generated in A Game of Thrones, bouncing around his landscape to check on characters he's built and destroyed while adding in new heartbreaks waiting to happen along the way. His ability to shift among voices and make no two characters seem remotely similar is astounding. The political themes deepend and continue to flower, and his storytelling delivers shocking, heart-shattering twists that stun and injure your psyche even if you see them coming because you've seen the show.
You need to have read the first book to have any hope of comprehending the context of what's going on, but Martin throws in some welcome background with convenient flashbacks and plot point rehashings. Many of those go a step beyond the norm to shade previous events you thought you understood, throwing in different perspectives to make you reconsider what you know. The book doesn't so much end as it pauses for a breath you have no interest in taking. Bring on book three.