A Storm Of Swords – George R. R. Martin

Storm of Swords CoverFrom Goodreads.com: Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey, of House Lannister, sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall. But young Robb, of House Stark, still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Robb plots against his despised Lannister enemies, even as they hold his sister hostage at King’s Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world.

But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others–a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords.

Why I Chose It: This is the third book in Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones) series, and I wanted to continue the story!

The Review:

I have to say I was a little apprehensive when I picked up A Storm of Swords. Unfortunately, I had found the second book, A Clash of Kings, slow in parts. I wasn’t surprised by anything in the book,  as I have seen the first 3 seasons of the show. I was repeatedly assured by friends, however, that the third book is where things would get really exciting, and I knew I had to read it.

Well, my friends were right! I was so much more into this novel than I was the last. I found the pacing to be much quicker in this installment, with many intense events happening simultaneously to some of my favourite characters. I was constantly propelled forward through the novel as I was eager to find out what was happening, not just to one or two characters but to pretty much all of them.

One of my main critiques of the first two novels was that there were always chapters from characters that I didn’t care for. There were certain characters that I just didn’t feel attached to, so when the story was told from their point of view, I got a little bored by them. Somehow Martin has overcome this issue. There were very few chapters that I was bored with in A Storm of Swords, and I think this is partly because even some of the more boring characters are thrust into very intense situations that move multiple plots forward, and I found myself just as eager to read from their point of view as I was others. I was absolutely delighted with how these characters managed to grab and hold my attention in this novel.

I’ve also commented before that I was a little disappointed that we don’t hear from certain characters’ points of view – such as Queen Cersei – and that we were limited by specific characters. That issue also somehow disappeared in this novel. I think I appreciate more now that certain characters remain silent, and how we only ever see them from other people’s perspectives. I’m actually kind of fascinated now by certain characters – especially Cersei – and how she is being created in the novel. Not only have I grown used to Martin’s writing style and how he fabricates his world, but I’ve started appreciating how he illuminates his characters and I’m really just delighted when I’m reading his work.

Cover close up

Finally, the changes. The third season of the show starts to depart from the books a little, and I find the differences between the show and the book to be really interesting. At first I found that most of the differences were quite small, and I thought they may not effect the overall plot line. But as I got further into the book, these little changes started to add up and I started realizing how all of these little pieces could become quite important. It’s really fascinating to compare the two creations, and I’m so interested to see where the next book goes, and where season four goes. Plus  A Storm of Swords actually goes beyond what the third season covered, so this was the first opportunity I had to read material first instead of seeing the show, and that was an amazing experience. I may have to read the rest of the books first before continuing with the show.

So, in summary, this book was such a delight to read. It overcame all of my previous concerns about Martin’s writing, and really created a work that entirely drew me in. It was so much better than I had hoped for. If like me, you had struggled with A Clash of Kings a little, have no fear, because the third book definitely makes up for it!

Rating: 4 / 5


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