We were given point of view chapters from Tyrion, Bran, Theon, Davos, Catelyn, Sansa, Arya, Daenerys, and Jon Snow. I would consider Tyrion to be the main character of this particular book, although the others are all masters of their own story-lines. I don't think there was nearly enough Daenerys in this book, but that's just me personally. Bran chapters actually began to serve a purpose rather than just to use more words, which was nice. It's hard to pick between Tyrion and Jon Snow for my favourite characters in this particular book, because I really loved both story-lines for different reasons, so I'll say I loved them both. Arya is pretty great too. My least favourite chapters were probably Theon's, because he's just such a jerk! And that's putting it nicely. I didn't fancy Davos much either, but that was mostly because his chapters were very descriptive. The Battle of the Blackwater was pretty good from his POV for that reason though. Point of view characters aside, George, seriously, soooo many named characters here that are so hard to keep track of, especially during battles.
Overall, I think this book moved along pretty slowly, though not to the point where it was boring. Things picked up nicely during the Battle of the Blackwater. My favourite part was probably between Jon Snow meeting Ygritte, and Daenerys's adventure in the House of the Undying. Again, for completely different reasons, which makes it hard to choose between them.
The setting is much the same as it was in the first book, with the exception of Jon Snow and his entourage moving north of the Wall. It has been explored a little in the first book, but it went a little deeper with details and further from the Wall this time. Daenerys is still on the other side of the Narrow Sea and ends up in the beautiful city of Qarth after a voyage across a desert. And with the introduction of Davos as a point of view character, we have had some insight into where Stannis Baratheon has been in Dragonstone, and we are also introduced to the castle at Storm's End. Catelyn introduces us to the Riverlands around her home in Riverrun and the Twins where the Lord Frey lives. Theon's point of view chapters take us to the Iron Islands and Pike, which has a very different feel to the rest of Westeros. It made me think of pirates. Many of Arya's later chapters are set in Harrenhall, which I think she is brilliant at portraying with its superstitions and all. Martin does a great job portraying all of his settings, both continuing from the previous book and new in this book.
His overall style was as good as it was in the first book, with phenomenal worldbuilding, far too many characters to keep track of in one scene, and too much description of what people are wearing. Most if not all other details contributed to the awesomeness of the book.
A little pet peeve I have developed: when he describes something 'like so many (noun)'. I don't know why. I think the first time struck me as cliche, and every time after that it just irked me more and more. Maybe I'm just crazy, but I thought I'd mention it.
Also, I have a favourite quote from this book:
"Strike hard and true, crow, or I'll come back and haunt you."That whole scene with Jon Snow and Ygritte made me so excited. I mean, I already know what happens, because I've seen the t.v show (does most people say it the other way around? :p ), but I still loved reading that scene for the first time.
Overall, great book, and I can't wait to get stuck into the next one. Now, I should probably go to bed and get some much needed sleep. Ressie o-week has gone, and the university o-week is about to begin!
Have you read A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Marin? What did you think?