A Steel and Snow is book one in the third instalment – A Storm of Swords – of George R. R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. If you had the pleasure of reading the first two books, you don’t need much introduction to the style and grandness of the books. While many book series lose the strength of the storyline by the second book: the strength, the form and the plot of this book steadily continue to develop without losing the flavour of the story.
There are ten primary points of view: Jamie, Catelyn, Arya, Tyrion, Sansa, Jon, Daenerys, Davos, Bran, Samwell. Davos’s point of view was expanded from the previous book giving him a more prominent stand amongst the original main characters. Samwell’s point of view is a new addition and could only be assumed that he is yet to play a very important part further in the plot.
There are no spoilers in my review, so please continue reading.
Part one of A Storm of Swords opens up with a Prologue that serves as a recap of the last events of the previous book. The remaining men of the Night’s Watch are retreating back to the Wall defeated. There is discord among the sworn brothers and that only dooms trouble. Samwell’s point of view conveys the gradual disintegration of the remaining brotherhood throughout the book.
Jamie and Brienne’s fateful journey finds them captive in the hands of the cunning Roose Bolton, who is deciding how to profit the most of Jamie’s status.
Arya is trying to get home to her family only to be intercepted by brotherhood without banners who deliver her to Lord Beric. Lord Beric, a mysterious figure, serves the Lord of Light and uses the flaming sword in the trials by combat to carry out justice. Thoros of Myr, a red priest of R’hllor, is also revealed through Arya’s point of view.
Bran, Meera, Jojen and Hodor continue north in search of the three-eyed crow. There is no mention of Rickon and Osha in the book.
Tyrion’s attempt to regain his physical and political strength only leads to his demotion to Master of Coin, replacing Petyr Baelish. Sansa’s life at King’s Landing is further dictated by the royal family who are keen to keep her close as the next heir to Winterfell. Tyrion’s and Sansa’s world collide in the most unlikely way.
In the north, Jon is still with the wildlings as they prepare to attack on Castle Black. In the south, Daenerys is building her army. She is becoming a woman of will and cunning. Watch out!
Catelyn is no longer a stately woman that was introduced to us in the beginning of the series. She realises that she is losing her family and her influence on her son Robb, the King of the North.
Davos, however, recovering from the defeat at the Battle of Blackwater is once again called in by Stannis Baratheon to speak the truth. He is made a knight. Davos continues to be weary of Melisandre.
I give a worthy 5* rating.