The darkness before the storm couldn't possibly get any blacker, right? I mean at the end of "A Clash of Kings" it seems as though the entire Stark Family is just beyond the edge of the cliff diving headlong into an abyss! And then, it just.. gets.. worse.
It doesn't just get worse for the Starks though, it gets bad for just about all your favorite characters and happily some of your not-so favorite characters. I do enjoy the way many characters have grown in this book in particular Jamie Lannister and Sansa Stark.
These were two people that I believe most readers would have dismissed as being one-note, but actually they are much more complex than some of the main players in this crazy game of chess. I feel after this book that the series can only get better from here on out. Which is a relief because I was not so captivated by the first book in this series.
Another excellent installment in Mr. Martins A Song of Ice and Fire series. I cant believe the twist and turns this character driven plot takes! One of he most impressive things about this book, and the series in general, is that except for the zombie-like others there is no bad-guy. Everyone acts according to motivations such as honor, greed, lust, etc. Of course, there are so many characters, and minor events with major consequences, that I am not sure I could follow everything if I was waiting years in between novels instead of weeks. However, if you enjoyed the first two volumes in this series, you wont want to miss this one. Ive never read a thousand pages so quickly!
The third book in Martins epic A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Storm of Swords is by far the better of the first three. Of course, theres a caveat with that: I watched the first season of HBOs Game of Thrones miniseries between the time I finished A Clash of Kings and when I started this one. And that had a fascinating impact.
It didnt spoil the story, of course, because the HBO series only covers the first book. But what it did do was root the story in strong visuals. Faces became associated with names, and as I read the book, I really had a deeper connection to all of the characters than I ever did before, and even a better connection with their likely emotional states than I had in the first two books. The HBO series is recommended on its own merits, of course, since its awesome, but I think it truly does help bring Martins world more fully to life for readers as well.
This book is, of course, the continuation of events after the events of a Clash of Kings, and this book, this one more than the others (so far), had me stop in my tracks and wonder at the ruthlessness with which Martin treats his protagonists. When I have to shut the book and spend a good ten minutes just thinking about what the freaking heck just happened and what that means for the world and how wrong all of my assumptions were... Well thats where Martin takes us. Shocking, surprising, and worth all the words he poured out onto the pages here.
Im quite eager for the fourth book now, more so than I thought Id be. (Which is why I dont yet have the fourth book. Grrrrr....)
In the longest book of the series so far, the lands of Westeros are no closer to peace than when we last left them. Filled with jaw-dropping twists, ASoS was very easy to get lost in for hours upon hours.
THE GOOD: Interesting and unexpected plot twists, fun cliffhangers, and oodles of juicy & delicious treachery. THE BAD: Somewhat weak character development (a criticism I've had throughout this marathon series) and the frequent feeling of plodding through an actual (literary) marathon. THE UGLY: Weighing in at over 1,110 pages(!) this behemoth was definitely in need of editing...and if I hadn't made it through the first two tomes, I might have suspected the author of getting paid by the word. However, it's probably more of a case that he's conjured up such a rich world in his mind, he's faithfully attempting to transcribe every little detail for his fans - of which, judging by the sheer number of elaborate Wikipedia pages dedicated to this Ice & Fire series, there are legions.
Even though I pretty much enjoyed this book, the fact that it reads like a TV show bugs me. It's like the author has no love for his characters with the way he kills them off or just ends things lazily. I can just envision him typing away and thinking how cool he is because he knew he could make it into a show someday. However, people who actually tend to read more and watch tv less may read this stuff and feel it has too many cliff hangers, characters are simply "cycled" through because the author doesn't have more interesting endings for them and constantly reading a retelling of something that happened in Earth's history (with the names & locations changed to protect the author's lack of creativity) drives me a little batty. That said, it's not a bad read, but be forewarned.
I read the 3 books in a row and by the time I got to Book 3 I was ready to take a break! Fortunately I haven't received the 4th one yet. I get a little break to read a lighthearted romance. It is a great bit of storytelling but I find all the killing and intrigue a bit wearying.
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.
Still a good continuation of the story, but getting darker as it moves along. I have to say, I'd like someone to survive to the end - it seems that the characters that are most likable are the ones most likely to be killed.
Tiffany C. (piekid) reviewed A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, Bk 3) on
Not worth the time! 1100+ pages. It looks impressive, but the story didn't impress me. Gore, incest, and dwarf sex do not a good book make. There are very few "good" characters, most characters are in the gray area, or are "all bad." He seems to kill off the few "good" characters there are, or have such bad things happen to them that I didn't want to attach myself to them. If I'm not emotionally invested in the characters, I can't like the book.
Haven't actually started this one yet. Somehow I ended up with two copies. I'll give it a 3-Stars rating just on the strength of some of the author's other books. Here is the blurb from the back cover:
A Storm of Swords 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 ...