Friday, April 27, 2012

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

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... (from Goodreads)

I am very pleased to say that I really enjoyed A Storm of Swords - so much more than the first two novels in this series. I think that's evident by how fast I read this. It only took me about two weeks, while the second took me a month.

It only took two books and about 1500 pages but I am finally invested in the story. I'm to the point where I actually want to pick up the book and keep reading to see what happens next. There were a lot of unexpected twists in A Storm of Swords and that definitely kept the anticipation going. I'm really looking forward to the fourth book, even though I'm sure it's even longer than this one.

I didn't mind the high page count as much in this book (1128 pages in a mass market paperback) because there was a lot of plot and not as much of unnecessary description. Don't get me wrong; there was some of that and at times I did scan over some boring paragraphs. On the whole, however, George R.R. Martin did a much better job of cleaning up his writing.

The A Song of Ice and Fire series is definitely plot-driven, which is funny because there are so many characters and the book changes point-of-view every chapter between 8 or 9 protagonists. I pretty much like everyone, but there isn't that much character depth or development. It's really refreshing how easily Martin kills off characters, but when they die I'm not crushed. I'm usually a little sad but nothing more than that. Part of me is glad it happens because sometimes I'm ready for a new perspective.

Overall, I think A Storm of Swords is the best novel in this series so far, and much better than it's two predecessors. There were a lot of twists and turns, so I'm definitely looking forward to the next book.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from my brother.

2000/Spectra/1128 pages.


Katja Weinert said...

I love this series - currently reading the fifth, and it just gets better and better. Though there really is no guessing what will happen next; refreshing :-)

Rie Conley said...

I'm a little more than anxiously awaiting for my turn for the first 4 books from the library! I'm glad that it gets even better as the series progresses!

Brasil said...

George R.R. Martin is certainly one of the most skilled writers in the genre today, and "A Storm of Swords" unfailingly continues to uphold the rigorous standard he set for himself in "A Game of Thrones". The enormous cast of complex characters, combined with complicated intrigue and a riveting plot make the book almost impossible to put down.
The world of the Seven Kingdoms is richly detailed, but more impressive is Martin's facility to create an atmosphere through detail. From the way he writes, it would seem that he knows what every tankard in every inn looks like, and what every one of the thousands of warriors, knights, and aristocrats is wearing down to the last buckle, even if these details are not always included. In short, Martin clearly knows his world inside-out, and thus is able to convey even more than is usual an atmosphere of reality in a fantasy world. He also excels in scene-painting, and every sensual nuance comes alive--sometimes, in violent scenes, more than one might like.