As I slowly make my way through A Song of Ice and Fire, I am trying to contemplate how on earth someone can create a world so full of characters that they can kill off so many people and still have plenty left to cause trouble.
This fourth book is the bloodiest one yet (hence the title, I suppose), in which several main characters die. What's more, the deaths of these people and the reasons behind them are going to cause further issues down the line for the likes of Tyrion Lannister. The best part about it is that two of my most hated characters die in this book, and that has made me extremely satisfied.
As we read on, the plot thickens to a point where the complexity begins to have no rival in any book I have ever read. Honestly, the series is so complex that it feels entirely real, as if Westeros and the Summer Isles are only across the shore, albeit in a different time zone.
Without utterly ruining the plot for all you readers who haven't read the previous books, or have only watched the TV series, I want to make a few points about the characters. Good points I think:
Sansa's story is really beginning to take shape now, and I like who the girl is becoming. Hopefully she will no longer be a pawn played in someone else's game, and she won't need a knight to take care of her. Well, here's hoping. Tyrion is awesome. Sometimes he is also a bit scary, but on the most part I love him, and his story is really going to get interesting now (as if it wasn't already!). Jaime is, yet again, one of the best characters in terms of growth and in doing interesting things.
The only thing that bugs me is that I used to empathise with Arya, but now I don't feel that any more. Her story is just growing more chaotic and her character is getting more.. well.. mean.
Now for the TV series. It would usually go that each season would represent each book, but the front half of this book has all been melded into Season 3, leaving not too much else for Season 4. Saying that, there is one super-shocking death that has been held up for Season 4, and I can't wait to watch it (yes, it is a hated character).
All in all it gets yet another thumbs up from me. I'm going with a 9.5 out of 10.