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Overview 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 Kingâ€™s Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, making her way across a blooddrenched 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. . . .
Reviews A Storm of Swords should be called A Storm of Suitors for all the matchmaking going on through out. I'm not complaining, mind you. It's all handled with a touch (or sometimes a bludgeoning) of intrigue to keep it interesting.
Ah yes, the soap opera continues, and much of it this tome around is about who weds who in hopes of attaining which castle or what lands. The court intrigue of lords and ladies is good and all, but I doubt it would've kept me reading on if Martin hadn't added a little murder here and a bloody siege there. The magicand-monsters aspect of this fantasy comes in a little heavier than it has in past books, too. I prefer my fantasy more grounded in reality, so this had me edging towards a hint of queasiness at times, but all told, it was nothing I couldn't stomach.
Actually, one area where fantasy is strongest was one of my favorite parts. I absolutely rejoiced at finally seeing some real, meaty north of the Wall action! And Jon Snow (who knows nothing, btw) remains one of my favorite characters from the very start.
One quibbling complaint: Martin dropped the ball once or twice in this book like I've never seen him do before. Characters need to be believable within the scope of the world they inhabit. If they are not, say if they act contrary to their own nature as previously displayed, we the reader stop following them, at least not with the same gusto. Such is the case involving (view spoiler) It's forced and just plain sloppy.
However, all that pales in comparison to one absolutely shocking moment (see original review...never mind, I'll just reprint it here: WTF!!!) that took me completely by surprise. I'm not saying it was a Martin-mistep, but I'm just coming around from my stunned stupor. In and of itself it would mean nothing to someone who hadn't read the first two books, but being fully ensconced in the soap opera as I am, it had great meaning....I'm really trying my hardest not to revert to spoiler masks here...so let me just say - it was like having the rug pulled out from under me, but then feeling some satisfaction upon learning that the same thing happened to my ahole neighbor - and I'll leave it at that. A Storm of Swords, by author George R.R. Martin, is the third installment in the 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series, and has become a must-read series for fantasy enthusiasts at this point.
The Battle of the Blackwater is finished, but the Seven Kingdoms are hardly at peace. This story continues with the aftermath of the slaughter outside the walls of King's Landing and the ongoing campaigns of the kings to lay claim to Westeros. Tywin Lannister has arrived at King's Landing to take control of the kingdoms through his grandson, King Joffrey Baratheon. Robb Stark continues his campaign to unite the west and rid his mother's homeland of the Lannisters, but must now contest with the Ironmen taking control of his kingdom in the north. Stannis Baratheon sits defeated back in his home of Dragonstone, but plots his next move with the help of the Red Priestess, Melissandre. Meanwhile, Daenerys Targaryen, mother of the last dragons, plots, maneuvers and rampages her way through the Free Cities in the name of justice. All while Jon Snow contends with infiltrating the massive, reckless barbarian horde as an agent for the Night's Watch.
Without question this is the best of the series so far. Sure, Martin obsesses with his usual descriptions of every single character's clothing and armor down to the last ridiculous detail. He also maintains his peculiar fondness for having to explain countless extravagant meals with his famous 'birds launching out of pies' dish. But he makes up for it with a realism and grit rarely found in the fantasy genre. Plus, this book has everything men love to read about: blood, guts and decapitations galore, giant knights whacking helpless stable boys' heads in half, hot priestess babes with red eyes, teenage lesbian sex, an angry noseless midget, and some fat kid who slays zombies. What could be better than that? Martin has some amazing plot twists that you just don't see coming and he's fearless with torturing, maiming and killing off vital characters. The character development is getting deeper and better, the action is kick-ass Braveheart
style, and the magic and mysticism continue to get more entwined to create a mysterious and wondrous world. This is the best book I've read in some time. I loved A Storm of Swords! It is a huge book with it's 1000+ pages, but it never felt like the book was too long because there was so much happening and I just wanted to keep reading.
There are some many twists and turns in this book, some expected but others totally unexpected. I loved all the intrigue, betrayal, fighting that was going on. All that struggle for power, plotting to take each others land, castle, title, wife or kingdom...
The characters are so well written that I really feel like I know them. I even sympathized with some of the more evil ones like Jaime and Tyrion cause when you see the story from their side you can see they're not all bad. All these different points of view from all these characters make it so much more interesting to read.
At one point in the book though, about halfway, I was completely in shock with how the story went. I never expected that 2 characters that I really loved would be killed. It's not something many authors do. When I finished that one chapter I put my kindle down for the evening cause I needed some time to adjust to the idea. But the next evening I was as eager as ever to read on cause this very unexpected twist in the story ment that it would be taking a whole other turn, one I didn't expect in a million years.
I really recommend this book, and the series up till now. I have 2 more books to read in this series and I really hope Mr Martin won't keep us waiting too long for the next ones. I'm off to start book 4! This book is so crazy. At first it seems like not too much is happening - there's a lot of traveling, planning, but not too much happens. But then in the second half, whammo! Tons of stuff, tons of drama, tons of death. Tons of excitement. There are storylines that keep getting more and more incredible and fascinating and others that come to a shocking end. George RR Martin really plays with your head - I never really knew whose side I was on - the Starks - no, Daenerys! no, maybe this Lord of Light is real - but Jaime! - but wait, maybe the wildlings have a better way of life. etc etc. I've heard many people claim this book as their favorite of the series, and I can definitely agree that so far out of the first
three, this is the best at storytelling. It's like Sansa and her songs and knights they're never true and good like they should be. This isn't a fairy tale where the prince saves the girl and they live happily ever. This is a story where the prince steals the girl and she stabs him in the stomach, riding off on his horse. And then the prince comes back to life. A Storm of Swords is sooo good!
Everyone's all over the place â€“ the Starks, the Lannisters, Daenerys, Jon Snow, Stannis Baratheon, Mance Ryderâ€Ś I can't even decide which storyline was the most interesting to follow.
Some things were expected, but others were so shocking I had my mouth wide open half the time.
G.R.R.Martin outdid himself with this one and I got everything I needed to truly enjoy reading this book. I must say there was a lot of yelling, swearing, holding breath, shouting ''yes'' and ''finally'', but that only made the experience so much better.
Some characters died and while it was sad for a couple of them, others finally got what they deserved. (My favorites are still alive, but each of them went through hell to survive.)
Chapters with Jaime were really good. He finally showed that he has more than one dimension and it was great to follow his adventures and see him grow as a person. I liked him with Brianne. Their complex relationship was so much fun, she really brought that barely existing good side of him on the surface and made him more human. The Hound was another nice touch. He got more ''space'' in this part too and I am surprised by how much I liked him.
Some situations were resolved in the most unexpected ways and the action was incredible. I thought that it can't get better after the Blackwater, but some parts of A Storm of Swords were even more exciting. Many questions were answered and secrets revealed, but twice as much were raised. Now I can't wait to see what happens next!
5 big shiny stars from me! Since no character is sacred to George R.R. Martin, the experience of reading his books is quite unique. As I read this book, I gradually stopped feeling like the characters were fighting against one another, and started to feel like they were fighting against the author.
In games, this type of meta-reading is quite common for me. Since obstacles and challenges are created by the designer, and since the player often has direct control of the protagonist, it's easy to conflate the game world with the game designer, and the protagonist with myself. The game then becomes a competition between me and the designer.
In A Storm of Swords, Martin first fosters empathy with his characters. He then puts his characters through miserable injustice. Finally, the characters emerge from their injustices either dead, in dire straits, or occasionally the champions of their own fate. It was an emotional experience for me. It was often a pleasurable one. But the abstraction that I experienced also made the book feel manipulative and sometimes malicious.
Update: Months later, I've added the fifth star. While this wasn't as good as Clash of Kings, it was still pretty goddamn excellent.
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