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A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3) Mass Market Paperback – March 4, 2003
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Is George R.R. Martin for real? Can a fantasy epic actually get better with each new installment? Fans of the genre have glumly come to expect go-nowhere sequels from other authors, so we're entitled to pinch ourselves over Martin's tightly crafted Song of Ice and Fire series. The reports are all true: this series is the real deal, and Martin deserves his crown as the rightful king of the epic. A Game of Thrones got things off to a rock-solid start, A Clash of Kings only exceeded expectations, but it's the Storm of Swords hat trick that cements Martin's rep as the most praiseworthy fantasy author to come along since that other R.R.
Like the first two books, A Storm of Swords could coast on the fundamentals: deftly detailed characters, convincing voices and dialogue, a robust back-story, and a satisfyingly unpredictable plot. But it's Martin's consistently bold choices that set the series apart. Every character is fair game for the headman's axe (sometimes literally), and not only do the good guys regularly lose out to the bad guys, you're never exactly sure who you should be cheering for in the first place.
Storm is full of admirable intricacies. Events that you thought Martin was setting up solidly for the first two books are exposed as complex feints; the field quickly narrows after the Battle of the Blackwater and once again, anything goes. Robb tries desperately to hold the North together, Jon returns from the wildling lands with a torn heart, Bran continues his quest for the three-eyed crow beyond the Wall, Catelyn struggles to save her fragile family, Arya becomes ever more wolflike in her wanderings, Daenerys comes into her own, and Joffrey's cruel rule from King's Landing continues, making even his fellow Lannisters uneasy. Martin tests all the major characters in A Storm of Swords: some fail the trial, while others--like Martin himself--seem to only get stronger. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
From Publishers Weekly
The third volume of the high fantasy saga that began with A Game of Thrones and continued in A Clash of Kings is one of the more rewarding examples of gigantism in contemporary fantasy. As Martin's richly imagined world slides closer to its 10-year winter, both the weather and the warfare worsen. In the north, King Joffrey of House Lannister sits uneasily on the Iron Throne. With the aid of a peasant wench, Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer, escapes from jail in Riverrun. Jaime goes to the other youthful ruler, Robb Stark, to secure the release of Joffrey's prisoners, Robb's sisters Arya and Sansa Stark. Meanwhile, in the south, Queen Daenarys tries to assert her claim to the various thrones with an army of eunuchs, but discovers that she must choose between conquering more and ruling well what she has already taken. The complexity of characters such as Daenarys, Arya and the Kingslayer will keep readers turning even the vast number of pages contained in this volume, for the author, like Tolkien or Jordan, makes us care about their fates. Those two fantasy greats are also evoked by Martin's ability to convey such sensual experiences as the heat of wildfire, the chill of ice, the smell of the sea and the sheer gargantuan indigestibility of the medieval banquet at its most excessive. Perhaps this saga doesn't go as far beyond the previous bounds of high fantasy as some claim, but for most readers it certainly goes far enough to command their attention. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
Top customer reviews
The slow pace of the previous book is most definitely not an issue here; the plot is jampacked with weddings, funerals, trials by combat, skirmishes, battles, and major character deaths. If anything, for a book this size, the pace feels almost too rushed at some points, with no real time to let the developments and tragedies sink in before someone else is brutally murdered. Nevertheless, it makes for one hell of a ride from beginning to end.
I think the best aspect of this book over its predecessors is that every major character gets to actually *do* something. While in the last book, Dany mostly just wanders around listening to people tell her vague foreshadowing, we get to see her in her role as Khaleesi again, dealing with the conflicting issues of preparing for her return to Westeros, while taking care of the people she has now, as well as being mother to quickly growing dragons. But the real winner from the book's focus on action and characterization is Jaime Lannister; there is much more complexity behind the incestual Kingslayer than seen before, and he gives Tyrion a run for his money on which Lannister boy is the most morally gray.
And do not, under any circumstance, skip the epilogue. A Storm Of Swords ends with a very, very changed Westeros.
A Storm of Swords is the third installment of the Song of Ice and Fire epic, so in some ways it brings to conclusion some of the major story lines that began in the first book. The third book focuses mostly on the fallout of the War of the Five Kings. We see little of Danaerys or the dragons in this book, because most of the storyline stays in Westeros and near the Wall. The novel is definitely a bit faster paced than the second book, and I love the POV chapters with Jaime Lannister...what a change of feeling towards a character I always thought was a spoiled and dishonorable prick. Great book, and I cannot wait to see how Martin brings all of the characters back together in the sixth novel. Winter is coming!
Of course things don't ever go as planned in Westeros and Storm of Swords is no different. Arya can't seem to get home even after escaping the House of Lannister but continues wandering after several setbacks. Sansa is the eternal maid looking for her handsome prince and judging people by their looks more than their deeds. Danerys continues to learn more about the man Jonah was and raise her dragons. A running theme I find in the story is about how people are judged by their looks and dismissed for infirmities and lack of physical attractiveness. This book is a champion of the outsiders and different. Arya is a girl who enjoys things a boy is usually thought to enjoy. Jamie the handsome Lannister loses something that made him a fighter and becomes better for it. Brienne, thought of as ugly has beauty inside. Tyrion, the ultimate hero, suffers terribly under a family who hates him for being a dwarf and a society who believes him ugly. Cersi, beauty intact, contains an ugliness inside no one can match. Jeoffrey, beautiful boy, is a monster. The surprises are many in this book and I loved the character development, unusual in most popular fiction, but this isn't an ordinary series.
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