Book: A Storm of Swords
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire
Author: George R.R. Martin
Publish date: 2000
Morality Rating: R for sexual themes and violence
Readability Rating: 4 stars
Buy it: Amazon
I read this book quickly, because I found many of the passages boring, frankly. I keep waiting for something big to happen. In my mind, this book was nearly as plotless as A Feast for Crows- just with a little more action. What happens in this book? Pointless fighting, pointless wandering, and pointless politics. Basically, the book ends where it started, minus a few people. In Season 3 of A Game of Thrones, however, it only covers half the book- be warned if you have only seen the show! Reading the book will probably ruin next season for you.
Plot: A lot happens in this book, but it really drags on. First, the war still continues between Robb Stark, Joffrey Baratheon, Stannis Baratheon, and Balon Greyjoy. While the men are killing each other, the women plot behind doors to rule the country. Dani spends most of her time wandering from town to town collecting slave warriors. I think eventually she hopes to return to the mainland and retake her “rightful” throne. The dragons grow a little, but not much.
Characters: One of the most interesting thing about Mr. Martin here, is that his characters are so well-developed. I really feel like each character is its own person. None of the characters sound like each other. I think it takes a lot of effort to manage something like that. I do wish his female characters were perhaps a little more female-like, but overall, I think he does a good job maintaining individuality in his characters. While Dani was my favorite from the first two books, at this point, I am over her a little bit. Tyrion is fast becoming my favorite, but in a surprising twist, I even started to like Jamie in this book. He was one of my most-hated characters in the past.
Setting: With every book that I read in this universe, I am amazed at how well everything is put together. I haven’t seen such a rich universe since The Lord of the Rings. This universe is equally as developed, but the advantage that this story has over Tolkien is that you see more of the entire universe. I really think that is my favorite part about this series. It really feels that Westeros exists.
Writing: George Martin has strong writing. He never has anything that is written poorly or doesn’t flow properly. The only problem that I have with his writing is that it is a bit long-winded. I think he could pare it down, if he really wanted. There is a fine line between showing a rich universe and dragging your story on just to show all the work you put into creating your universe. I don’t think he crossed the line in this book, but I do think he crossed it in A Feast for Crows.
If you want to read good fantasy, read this series. If you want to get sucked into a universe, read the series and watch the show. Your life will be forever changed. 🙂