A Storm of Swords (Review)

Book cover for "A Storm of Swords" by George R.R. Martin.Title: A Storm of Swords

Author: George R. R. Martin

Publication Year: 2000

Pages: 1216

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Source: Borrowed from the public library

From the cover:

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. . .

Here is the third volume in George R. R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin’s stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

(This is the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, after A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings.)

So much goes on in this book that it’s actually kind of overwhelming. I knew a lot of it first, because I watched the third season of Game of Thrones before I got to this volume, but it really only goes about halfway. Everything after that is new material. And let me tell you, I definitely knew when I hit that point. It was like, POW!, Red Wedding, and then everything just went to hell in a handbasket afterwards.

In the good kind of way, mostly. There’s got to be enough going on in the books to justify having the story go on for so long, after all. And the characters do develop much more intricately than in most series, so at least Martin knows what he’s doing. It gets complicated at times in this book, though, because some characters die off and other characters begin to play important parts, characters whose names and roles I didn’t necessarily notice beforehand.

Daenerys is still definitely one of my top characters at this point, though I started to get a little twitchy about the slavery subplot right around this novel. It doesn’t really get better as time goes on, but for a brief while in A Storm of Swords, it didn’t bother me so much. My love for Tyrion is also absolutely confirmed in this book. Things just don’t go well for him, but it makes for some seriously interesting complications. Really.

I ended up hating some characters I had originally loved, but also loving some that I originally hated. I’ve seen it written elsewhere, but I agree: one of the most amazing feats in the series so far was Martin’s ability to make the reader hate Jaime Lannister so much in the beginning but then slowly come to love him and hope that his character gets some peace in the end.


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