I read the first book a few years ago, loved it and immediately bought the second. But somehow, it's never been the right time to start reading it. Until this week. Is it because season 4 of Game of Thrones has just started? Possibly. I didn't watch seasons 2 or 3 of the show - I found the unrelenting violence a bit much - but I did watch s4e01, and thought I would have a better idea of what was going on if I caught up with the books.