This is the fourth book in George R R Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series, first published in 2005.
This is a good book, I couldn’t call it great, maybe because the series is getting rather long, or maybe because of it’s pacing.
This is also not a kids book, well above the pg-13 range.
You are going to have the read the other books if you want to understand the story of this book. This is not a standalone book.
The civil war that started in the first book is finally petering out, and the ones left standing are facing a kingdom in ruins. Winter is just around the corner, and people are facing starvation. Meanwhile while the war might be ending, the lords and ladies are not letting up on their power struggles, even if the kingdom is in dire straits. At the wall, Jon struggles with his new found duties, made all the harder by uncooperative subordinates, and in the east, Daenerys learns that conquering a kingdom and ruling it are both equally difficult challenges. Back in the capital, power is now in the hands of the queen, and she does a great job of making everything worse.
In this book Martin also introduces us to a new kingdom, Drone, and how it is affected by the ongoing civil war. He also introduces the Seven Kingdoms equivalent of crusaders for the first time, religious fanatics who are not loyal to a king or queen but to the church. They have the potential to be just as potent a force as any noble house in the future.
The pacing of this book is much slower than in the previous books, and it sometimes feels like filler material. A dozen little plot points move here and there, and no major conclusions. After the sweeping battles of the previous books, the political moves in this one aren’t as gripping. Hopefully, the next book makes up for it.
I would recommend this book to any fan of the series and anyone who likes reading fantasy books. This book, and this series, will have even the most veteran reader of fantasy hooked.