Having thoroughly enjoyed the previous three novels in A Song of Fire and Ice as well as HBO’s Game of Thrones, I was thoroughly looking forward to reading this, and was also disappointed when I was finished. Whereas Martin’s previous novels were tight, and loaded with drama and intrigue, this one was horribly long-winded and overwritten. There were pages and pages of useless information about characters that are irrelevant. The whole saga of the Greyjoys and the men of the Iron Islands was not terribly interesting and could have been entirely cut. Even among the characters that I enjoy, the storylines involving Brienne and Jaimie Lannister seemed pointless.
Martin at this point is a victim of his own success. His series is so wildly popular that he is at the point that he can write whatever he wants and people will buy it. However, what he really needed in this book was an editor who was willing to hack and slash all of the irrelevant stuff, which was about a third of a book. This book wasn’t terrible. The writing is still good and some of the story lines are interesting, this was clearly the worst of the books I’ve read in the series. I can only hope that in future novels, stronger editing will be employed. For the first time, I can say that the television show is superior to the book.
Carl Alves – author of Two For Eternity