Pooooof....Where do I begin!!
Took me forever to finish the book...its a heavy tome..to say the least...900 pages long! Think before you begin on this journey. It will suck you right in. And before you know it, you are down 200-300 pages, with no way to go but forward.
Having said that, the book is BRILLIANT ! It literally is a CLASH OF KINGS, a land with 4 kings, each doing their damndest best to get to the throne. I confess that I have seen the series before starting with the books. So I was fully aware of what happens at the end. However, that does not, in any way, taint the experience of the book.
It is gripping, heart-breaking and jaw-dropping brilliant for the most part. The stories narrated from the purview of the characters is wonderful. As a friend rightly pointed out, there is a lot of attention given to pointless characters (Theon Greyjoy and Ser Davos being some). Although I have a sneaking suspicion that there will be some point to those stories as well. There always is a point.
Personally, I felt the book could easily have been cut short. But I understand GRR's need to state elaborately all that he does. The book has a lot of elements that have been skipped in the series (obviously!). One must note the beauty with which Arya's story is told. It is simply fantastic.
The plot in this book is not as scintillating as the 1st part. Or may be I feel so because I have already seen the series and knew forehand what was to come ahead. There is no "OMG-WHAT-JUST-HAPPENED" kind of moment in this book. But the build up to the end is gripping.
As with every series, you grow with the characters you read about. So here I am, hating Joffrey even more than I thought possible, damning Cersei for being the woman that she is, loving Tyrion more and more with each passing day, cursing Sansa for being so stupid and feeling so sorry for the Starks. I could go on and on.
So, as people who have read the 1st installment would agree with me, WE ARE HOOKED. We are on board this journey. Not knowing how and where it is going to take us. There is a certain magic in these books. Be it the author's writing. Or the beauty in the characters. But there is beauty.
My reasons for reading - 1)TYRION - his quotes, his story, his wit, his humour. I am completely enamored by him.
2) ARYA, BRAN and JON - just to find out where their stories lead. The concept of the "children of the forest" is fascinating.
Hop on people, it sure is an exciting and thrilling road ahead.
PS: Part 1 review...coming shortly..