Book Review: A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 3) by George R. R. Martin

Storm of Swords HeaderDuring our last book club, Heather was not as impressed as I was with the sequel to what we both agreed to be a pretty great introduction to an expansive world.  She’s even debating coming back for the third book in the series all together, which would be a shame, because it is easily the best entry yet.

As I’ve mentioned in our other write-ups, I came to the novels after having already seen the show inspired by George R. R. Martin’s work, so it’s pretty refreshing to not know where the words are going to go before my eyes run over them.  A few plot points from this book found their way into season two of the show because of overlapping actions on the timeline, but for the most part I had no idea where my favorite characters’ stories would go, if they’d even continue, or if winter’s movement is still in the same tense as it has been in the past.  Well now I know.  Boy, do I know…

If there is one thing I can say about A Storm of Swords, it’s this: Martin really knows how to punch you in the gut.  Book one and two seemed to be pretty safe when it came to fatalities, with only a couple that really stand out as memorable, creating this feeling of security when it came to the characters.  Tyrion’s survival after taking a critical wound to the face added an extra layer to this immortality, but book three goes back to the moments where Ned gets his head removed when there was no way Martin would do that to a character that important.  But as Ygritte would endlessly repeat: “You know nothing, John Snow.”  In other words, Martin is here to remind us that these characters are his, not ours, and he can do whatever he wants to them.

The stories of a lot of the characters I loved came to an end in this book, and as upsetting as this is, I can’t really imagine the story being written differently now that I look back on it.  Sure, I’ll miss them, but each sniffle often came accompanied with a look of pure awe at what had just happened because it was just such great storytelling.  It was shocking, upsetting, and just plain awesome.

And that even includes having to read Jaime’s chapters.  I was afraid that these pages were going to be as irritating as when we were forced into the mind of Theon in book 2, but even he became a great character to watch change.  That and calling Brienne “wench,” even just within the dialogue descriptors, was guaranteed a smile each and every time, even when his early bouts of unrelenting arrogance became a little grating during some inner monologues.  It is a change to a character like this to make him as interesting as the rest, as well as just the jaw dropping storylines, that give me hope and stock in my excitement for what is to come, especially considering where things end for everyone.

I can only imagine the songs being written about the events in this book within the world, events that I’m not even willing to hint at for fear of spoiling anything.  Just know that they would easily dethrone “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” as the most popular song for the strolling minstrels to sing throughout the kingdom.  Don’t worry, you’ll understand that reference once you read A Storm of Swords.  Which you should.  Right now.

Final Grade:  5 Stars out of 5     

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