This third book in the Song of Fire and Ice saga differs from the first two in several ways. We have only cursory mentions of wearing apparel and physical appearance instead of the constant stream of description which made the earlier novels read like staging directions for a play or film. We have few accounts of the meals eaten. Even a lavish wedding feast gets only a menu-type listing of the food.
The biggest difference between this novel and the first two? NO SEX! Well, almost no sex. We even have three weddings, and not one is consummated. Whether a reader considered the stream of sexy goings-on in the first two volumes to be titillating or comic relief, they kept things interesting, it must be admitted.
It's not like the characters don't have time for shenanigans, because this is mostly about the down-time in the wars for the kingdom, with the various characters planning their next moves and engaging in forging new alliances. The only sustained fighting happens at the Wall. We have political conversations and many characters on their way to somewhere else. And it is all boring and tedious and plodding.
And then, wham, suddenly we have ultra-violence at a wedding feast, with deaths of major characters. More plodding along, more plodding along. Pow, we have another wedding feast gone bad, with a groom suffering a rather anti-climactic end. More discussion, more tedium. Zap, another sudden spurt of blood with a parricide. With deaths happening at this rate, soon nobody will be left to lead the kingdom.
My copy of this book has 1128 pages. About 1000 of those were boring. Don't bother reading this book; watch the television show instead. (I never, ever thought I would say that sentence.)