This must be the book from the A Song of Ice and Fire series that I read the fastest, partly because I was taking a break from exam-prepping. I do not know why, but reading this book felt different than reading the three previous ones. I think that the author’s approach sort of changed with this book, giving it a more modern feel.
The title does indeed say it all: there are not true battles resembling the Blackwater Bay one; instead, this volume focuses on the aftermath of the war, on all the dead bodies of soldiers and commonfolk on which the crows are feasting. The title might also be a reference to a new and savage character, Crow’s Eye, aka Euron Greyjoy.
With this new character introduced, I have to say that I actually, for the first time, enjoyed reading about what happens in the Iron Islands. Euron is a man who has been to the eastern edge of the world and has come back even crazier than when he left in exile. Of course, I have to love the damaged characters. I also loved Asha and Victarion’s characters, especially Asha’s strength and determination. I am excited to find out what happens on Victarion’s voyage east.
Cersei…I was particularly happy to start this book because for the first time we have a Cersei POV, but my high hopes were crushed. She is nothing, in my opinion, like the Cersei we have seen portrayed by Lena Headey in the tv series. I think she lacks strength and wit and foresight, while blaming every injustice done to her on the fact that she is treated differently, being a woman. She hopes to surpass her father, but that will never happen, not because she is female, but because she is absolutely nothing like the great lion Tywin. I think her poor choices, both as a mother and a queen regent, culminated in the twist of fate the new High Septon bestowed upon her. Now, do not get me wrong: I hate this new spiritual guide and his militia, but Cersei got a good bite of karma. I felt genuinely sorry for Margaery, Tommen, and Blue Bard.
My favourite chapters, of course, were the ones involving Jaime! This man is so good and strong and fair. He improves the farther away he is from Cersei and his last act of burning her letter begging help made me so ecstatic. But I have to say, I am happy that the Blackfish escaped his claws; I love that man.
Brienne and Pod’s journey left me kind of disappointed, since they seemed to be going in circles, without really getting anywhere. Lady Stoneheart’s appearance left a bitter taste in my mouth, not liking her idea of justice.
I never thought I’d find myself saying this, but I actually adored Petyr Baelish’s character. I loved the little lessons he gave Sansa (Alayne) regarding the game of thrones and power. And I also liked Sansa’s chapters, which has never happened before.
Now, for my favourite part: DORNE! I cannot tell you how much I loved being introduced to this kingdom and its exotic people and culture. I liked Arianne Martell’s character and her tragic love story with Arys Oakheart, while I respect her father so much for putting in motion a plan which could give great fruits in the future.
Arya now has started a completely new journey in the House of Black and White and I must say, I prefer the way it is depicted in the books rather than the show. I especially appreciate the “kindly man” and his words of wisdom. Also, the way the stories of some of the characters (like Sam and Arya) cross paths did not escape my sight; this is something new we saw with this book.
Samwell is still the sweetheart slayer we all know and adore, who manages to carry so much weight on his shoulders, despite being afraid of everything. His and Gilly’s relationship evolves, while we unfortunately get to witness the spectacular last moments of Maester Aemon, one of my overall most favourite characters. The amount of knowledge and new mysteries her comes out with before dying left me open mouthed and googling theories. He will be so missed. Sam’s arrival to the Citadel is welcomed by a very sinister but, for some aspects, brutally honest maester, Marwyn, who already knew what Sam came to say and do and then left to fulfill Aemon’s role, fighting the Citadel’s wish to destroy magic.
This is indeed one of my favourite volumes, thanks to Jaime, Aemon, Samwell, and Arianne.
Score: 8/10 (only because I miss Tyrion and Jon so much)
Thank you for reading.