1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
If this was a trilogy, this would be a crazy conclusion,
This review is from: A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3) (Kindle Edition)
A quick internet search states that the Song of Ice & Fire was originally supposed to be a trilogy and there's a definite feeling of a book that is rushing to a conclusion and throwing out every hindrance and set-up in favor of a massive series of insane happenings. The war of the Five Kings comes to a kind of conclusion. Major characters die. Minor characters become much more important and nuanced. The RW happens and even though there's a massive amount of foreshadowing that something is going to go wrong before the RW, the sheer amount of horror in that scene is just too crazy for belief.
Then around 200 pages before the end of the book, the narrative slows down and certain things become clear. Instead of a conclusion, the last 200 pages are taken up with setting up the end of the series. It seems like this was the point where Martin realized that he hadn't even begun to explore the possibilities of the others and Daenerys and the dragons. These story lines had always seemed like extraneous tales that would eventually fold back into the major story of Westeros, but in this book they are nowhere near completion. In fact, one suspects that if Martin had not included the dragons or the Others that the series would have easily ended in three books. It wouldn't have been as interesting or even necessarily fantasy but it would have been over (for more on the absence of the Others and the dragons, check out book four where they aren't discussed).
In this book, most of the characters come to conclusions or at very least major catharses. The promise of Jon Snow and Daenerys comes to major fruition as Snow infiltrates the Free Men and rises up to a position of power in the Watch while Daenerys stops becoming the victim of fate that she was in the second book and starts using her dragons to their maximum effect.
Within Westeros proper, the war continues with Stannis, Robb and Joffrey all making their power plays. Sansa and Arya are having their separate adventures in which they both make their plays for security and both find their share of disappointments.
This is a crazy insane book and part of the fan distaste for the next few books is their failure to deliver quite this level of insanity (as they are setup books again instead of more chaos).