A Storm of Swords
By George RR Martin
Bantam Spectra (Random House)
Dear Mr. Martin:
You are the Maester.
Amy @ Just Book Reading
I held out for months. I argued with myself about when to read this book. Start it now! No, save it for vacation. I came close to the vacation timeline giving in a few days before. I wanted time to savor and oh, did I savor.
Spoiler rule is in effect from here on out. It’s book three in a proposed seven book series. I see no other way to write this review without a few spoilers here and there but I’ll do my best to keep it somewhat vague. But, you’ve been warned.
Stannis Baratheon is in retreat; defeated at King’s Landing by the combined forces of the Lannisters and Tyrells. Joffrey Baratheon is now sitting on the iron throne, something very few people wanted to see. Tyrion Lannister is recovering from injuries sustained at the King’s Landing battle and has lost all the power he once held. Robb Stark is deep in problems of his own; now looking to appease House Frey after backing out of an arranged marriage. Jaime Lannister is on the road as a hostage of Brienne of Barth; a pawn to get Catelyn Stark’s daughters, Sansa and Arya, back. Sansa is finally out of Joffrey’s line of torture but she holds little hope for happiness. And Arya, poor Arya, is still running toward Riverrun. A host of wildings is marching toward the Wall and questions about John Snow’s loyalties dog him. And in the West, Daenerys Targaryen is making her move to take control of the Iron Throne.
At times, I found myself wondering how this story was going to continue because Martin is a man unafraid of killing off his characters. I mean it. He’ll kill anyone! A Song of Ice and Fire is already a monster when it comes to character lists and he’s killing off and adding on like no one’s business. OK, maybe it’s his business, but anyway. My point — I don’t want new characters, I want these characters. Truthfully, I was happy to see a few go but it was still brutal. Also, there’s something to be said for the pace at which these books move and Martin’s ability to keep readers tied to the page through all the drama is utterly amazing. And drama there is. Not one character gets off easy, even the minor ones that at some point you forgot about manage to find their way back in to the story making you wonder where he’s actually going with all this.
It’s difficult to describe these books adequately because of the scope. There’s so much going on — every Lannister, Stark, Baratheon is in deep. There were times when I wanted to put the book down because it was all too much but I couldn’t. I needed to know what would happen. I had to stop myself from buying the next two books knowing I need to pace myself. The emotional toll is too much and I don’t want to find myself wanting more and find one day there are no more books. This will happen soon enough. I don’t want to bring on the end too soon.
I haven’t bought the fourth book, A Feast for Crows, but I will soon. I won’t be able to hold out that much longer. The fate of a few characters has me wondering where Martin is going with all this. I was late to this series, but if you’ve haven’t read them yet, consider it. You won’t be sorry.