A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3)
A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3)

 
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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

Here is the third volume in George R. R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin’s stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

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. . .

Customer Reviews:

  • Good, but too long....
    Pretty good story, but I would have preferred for the book to have been about 300 pages shorter (too many side stories that go no where, and take a long time getting there). After reading the first three books in the series, I will be taking a break until the rest of the series comes out. I have two reasons for this....to see if they get better reviews (or more of the same), and I need a break....the books were just too long and to much work. I may be ready to continue again when the series is scheduled to be finished (2011).

    For those interested, I think after book 3 is a good place for getting off the merry-go-round for a while. Enough of the story is wrapped up, or at least settling a little....more info
  • Martin is the man, but "American Tolkien"?
    This review is going to have spoilers. If you haven't read this book or series yet, you are missing out, especially if you enjoy epic fantasy in the vein of Robert Jordan. I actually think George R.R. Martin is better than Jordan (!!!) which is saying quite a lot, because Jordan's writing, at the height of his abilities, was unbelievably engrossing. Many of us sacrificed jobs, marriages, mortgages and hygiene to the Wheel of Crack. We became bad people but it was fun.

    A few more words on Jordan: many times I think the book reviews that appear on the covers of trade paperbacks are not worth reading, and I think others can testify to the same experience, but in the case of Jordan's first Wheel of Time novels this isn't the case. Jordan's work did nothing short of revolutionizing contemporary fantasy, and without Jordan, I don't believe the world would've been ready for Martin. That might be hyperbolic garbage, but the fact is that before Jordan, people didn't write fantasy in the way that Martin does, and after Jordan people do. Terry Goodkind imitates Jordan, but he is not as competent as Jordan. George R.R. Martin imitates Jordan, and he is more competent than Jordan. Never before has the literary press hailed the second-coming of Tolkien with such unabashed enthusiasm, and never before has a writer justified the expectations of his fan base more completely than Martin did with A Storm of Swords. I wish I could say the same for A Feast for Crows; I only hope that Martin's abilities will show themselves in the forthcoming Dance with Dragons the way they did in this title. "Shakespearean" is not too strong a word to use in describing Martin's powers of plot structure, character development, and the delicately accurate-to-life interpersonal conflicts that drive this series. Seriously. Shakespearean. Unfortunately, I feel that Martin cut off his sword hand with this novel, and I will be totally astonished if his series recovers. I hope with every part of me that feels, but I don't think it will. He killed too many characters. Bringing them back from the dead ruined Jordan and it will ruin Martin too. Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, and Daeneryes Targaryen are THE ONLY CHARACTERS WHO MATTER in this series AT ALL, after A Storm of Swords. The rest of them are window decorations. If those three don't figure heavily (almost exclusively) in A Dance With Dragons I'll peace out the way I did with Jordan and MAYBE come back to the series when Martin puts out the last book or kicks the bucket.

    But anyway, I don't want to dwell on admonitory notes too much. It's not fair to the work Martin did with this title. His writing was never better here. This title makes the biggest case for Martin as the "American Tolkien," but it's a complete misnomer. Fantasy enthusiasts for decades have awaited the second-coming of Tolkien the way fundamentalists await the second-coming of Christ, but there won't be another Tolkien and we probably wouldn't read his books if there was. Tolkien was not a novelist, he was a linguist and his prose is (admit it) Biblically cumbersome. It's not that people enjoyed that writing style a long time ago and they don't now. No. People have NEVER enjoyed that writing style and they never will. The prose of Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott is faster paced and more engaging than the prose of J.R.R. Tolkien. It's a testament to the strength of his vision and his abilities with the language that The Lord of the Rings turned him into the rock star he is today. The writing of George R.R. Martin is fantasy realism. Tolkien utilizes symbolism and allegory; Martin tries to portray a fantasy world in which people think and act the way they do in real life. In this respect, Martin represents the new direction the genre has taken in the way Jordan did, but unlike Jordan, Martin even went so far as to eliminate the "Dark Lord" character. The idea that the fantasy genre is going to bring us back, someday, to Tolkien is the biggest fantasy in the market. We don't even WANT to go back to Tolkien. We want to take Tolkien with us and move forward. If there was an American Tolkien (and I hesitate to acknowledge this possibility) the only realistic candidate for that distinction is Stephen R. Donaldson (sorry Terry Brooks), and his heyday was the 1970s, when Tolkien's popularity was first really beginning to rise (THIRTY YEARS after he published LOTR). Martin has elements of Tolkien (I guess), but maybe more elements of Shakespeare or Thomas Malory mixed with Jordan's theory. ...more info
  • Long, drab, and intentionally shocking
    Besides being overly long, basically going nowhere that would signal any end in sight, and his love for describing what everyone is eating in great detail(Book 2 it was clothes, this time it's food) George Martin seems to be going out of his way to make his novels unreadable. Sure, he has technical skill with language and can string a sentence together pretty good. But he's got nothing to say, which is why he makes noise for over 1100 pages or whatever. And what does he have to show for it? Basically, in the end, his worldview seems to be....the mean crush the good, there is no honor in this world, and everyone is vile and wretched. There are no heroes and truth is only demonstrated through a use of power, and power is only weilded by those who would kill a child or rape someone without so much as a blink of the eye.
    First of all, his thesis is as inane as one that posits that everything in the world is roses and rainbows. His story is so overwhelmed with heartless, evil characters that it literally is no world I know or have ever been in. It really is fantasy, cause its so damn implausible. His characters are wooden and so one-sided in their darkness(except for a few of course, but he keeps killing them....by the end of Book 4 they should all be dead).
    Secondly, Martin seems to have missed the reason people read fantasy or anything in the first place. It's entertainment--how can it be fun when every character that had any depth or interest is killed off? At this point, 3 books in, I care none for any of the living characters...so why keep reading? I don't care whether they live or die. The two that I would consider giving a care about, well by now I just think they are dead men walking so I don't bother to worry about it.

    All in all, a lot of promise, but nothing on the delivery. The genre seems to have devolved into 1000+ page mega-schlock--stories started full of promise that end up just being excuses to make another book for more money by artists of limited skill whose worlds and sagas are too large to control. Perhaps it's the genre that needs the change, maybe this style of story is doomed to fail precisely due to its lack of vision and conciseness. Martin and Jordan should get together and talk to each other till they both collapse of boredom....more info
  • Of course you have to read this
    The first thing I noticed about the first quarter of this book is that it wasn't quite as chronically addictive. I found it less painful to put down, and more predictable than its predecessors. Then it got better, then it went Scorcese...I got emotionally involved, and bummed out for an hour. And then it hit me again, I was hooked and had to read the rest...good save.

    But you know what, Martin either needs an editor or should send his current one to the Black. There were several forgiveable errors, but the one that says "Maybe I need to do a little more than just run a spellcheck" all over it is on p. 495 "...to rape their windows." And this was translated into how many languages? I wonder how that turned out. Raping windows...hmmm. I think some of Martin's TV-writing experience is reflected in these books as well. Is it me, or does each of these chapters/viewpoints typically end as if it were anticipating a commercial break?

    Too bad Martin didn't stick with his original intent of a trilogy, because the story is going all over the place , and doesn't seem to have the same solid direction that A Game of Thrones was going. Nevertheless, the majority of the characters retain a high level of interest. It's still worth reading if you read and enjoyed the previous two....more info
  • Continues the MASTERFULLY WRITTEN saga!
    With this book, GRRM's A Song of Ice and Fire has been cemented as my favorite fantasy series of all time. Martin's epic saga is able to draw you in, mesmerize you, beat you up, and spit you out as nothing else in literature. A STORM OF SWORDS continues the same powerful, gritty, complex, and enormous tale, and maintains or intensifies the same fast-paced, emotionally-draining pace as the first two books. Some of the world-altering, storyline-changing twists found in this book come as such surprises (for me) that you'll find yourself needing a pause just to really consider what just happened and the implications for the rest of the story. Most of the same great characters (except for those that have been killed off) continue to develop here, and some of those you previously hated begin to earn your grudging respect and admiration. Also, in this third book, you finally get a little more in the way of maps. Both the Eastern continents (partial) and the lands north of the Wall are detailed in the same convincing way as the old maps (which haven't disappeared).

    I should be used to it by now, but Martin's twists and sudden redirections of the plot continue to catch me off guard. Every time you think you have the feel for where the plot is taking you, something major and usually unexpected occurs to send it off in a totally new direction. And Martin doesn't take his time with this development. Every single chapter chronicles some plot-altering event that you just couldn't imagine leaving out of this tale. No wasted space here, even with a book approaching 1000 pages. I hate to see other reviewers complaining about how long his books are taking to get published because I'd much rather Martin take the time he needs to write this story as masterfully as he has up till now than throw something together that is less than perfect. He has built this story up into something so huge and amazing that it would be all to easy for it to come tumbling down into disappointment with a couple of poor decisions or corners cut. Even though it is torture waiting to find out what will happen, the reward is sure to be well worth the wait. I only feel sorry for those aging fans that may not live long enough to see this through!

    I do have a couple of friends that have read this series up to this point and been less than pleased.. It has always puzzled me as to how that could be, when the series is so powerfully written and intense. I've come to the conclusion that it must simply be too much for some people. This emotionally-draining roller-coaster ride with never-ending and catastrophic twists, turns, and wrecks can be completely exhausting, and for the less-than-dedicated reader willing to give their full attention, this book is too complex, too intense, and simply too big. But for those of us that love getting lost in a world this well-developed and vivid, this series is the absolute best!

    I am making myself wait to read the next book, A Feast for Crows, for as long as I can so that I can prolong the enjoyment and so that I'll have as short a wait as possible for the book after. I'm not sure how long my plan will hold however, as I'm already itching to pick up FEAST, and damn the consequences....more info
  • BREAKS ALL THE RULES
    I've got two books of my own published and have worked like a dog to achieve that. And here comes George R. R. Martin with this gigantic book and larger series and breaks every rule--and charms me! Totally. I have to say--I'm mad at the literary establishment. The teachers and professors at writing conferences tell us don't do this: And then Martin does, and it works.

    But who needs a 1200+ page novel? This cult favorite breaks every rule of the literary fiction/creative writing major/MFA crowd. It's got more characters than an ant hill has ants. A hundred story lines moving forward in a dizzying, incomprehensible maze. Names. Dates. Serial numbers. It's huge. Martin makes no attempt at creating a beginning, middle and end to this multi-volume epic--not to the whole thing or any volume. He just ends the thing--probably when he couldn't lift the manuscript any more--leaving threads untied, tales unfinished. Readers drooling.

    My editors and writing coaches would ring their hands at this monster. But they haven't sold like Martin does, and they haven't created a very large jewel like this, either.

    I loved it and started the next volume immediately. I'm not even done with that, and I'm asking my daughter, "Wasn't there a sequel on the way?" "Did you say there's a chapter to be downloaded?"

    It's addictive and I'm addicted. No one can describe pageantry or create an imaginary world like Martin.

    I gave the book 4 stars rather than 5 because of the publisher's cruelty to the reader. Packing this mother around was painful. It could be marketed as a form of exercise or maybe even a weight loss program. It's just too big. Why couldn't they have packaged it into two 600+ page books rather than this gigantic phone book? And why the submicroscopic print in the mass paperback versions? Please, you've got addicts, treat them nicely.

    I'm midway through book 4 of the series and expect to wait, panting, for the next volume. ...more info
  • Greatest fantasy book yet written
    To get to my review, you probably skimmed over more than a few that beg you to read Martin's series, perhaps just to get to this third book, his masterpiece. They're all correct. I've read hundreds, if not a thousand, science fiction and fantasy novels and this is the single best piece of fiction I have ever read.

    If you need stereotypical good and bad characters immersed in a constant series of black and white scenarios, such as those created by David Eddings or those hacks who write the Dragonlance stuff churn out month after month, this is not your author. Martin's material is deep. His books read like historical fiction, with just enough fantasy thrown in to keep you on your toes. His characters are second to none and the world and specific locations he has created are simply breathtaking. I've turned on over a dozen people to these books personally and have never had anyone less than thrilled with the material. Please, please give A Game of Thrones a try. The second book is even better, and A Storm of Swords is pure genius that will leave you exhausted yet desperate for more (maybe don't start it until a publication date is announced for book 5....). It's unlike anything else out there and will ruin you for other fantasy writers, but the pleasure is just too great to resist.
    ...more info
  • Excellent series.
    A continuation of the series by George RR Martin. Each chapter is from a different person's perspective. The characters are fascinating and complex, as are the plot lines. I don't generally read scifi/fantasy, but I have really enjoyed this series and can't wait for the next book to come out. Everyone else I know who has picked up the first book in the series has become a huge fan as well. I would only recommend this series for adult readers however, as there are intense and violent parts. ...more info
  • Will go down in history as one of the greats
    What can I say that hasn't already been said? This book is already legendary. This book is simply one of the greatest fantasy novels that has been written. You want lovable characters? Check. Story line that bleeds greatness? Check. And a world that is so detailed, and filled with such history that you wish our mundane world possessed such attributes? Check. If you enjoy fantasy and haven't read this book you need to be tried for heresy because this is what every fantasy hopes to be. ...more info
  • Buyer Beware
    You may die of old age before GM finishes this series. If it ever gets finished...more info
  • perfect as always
    perfect but all of his books are perfect. Translation of this books must be really difficult because when I read it in turkish, I hated him and when I read the same book -It was my only english choice in Sarajevo airport- in english I adored. ...more info
  • Great Book
    Minimum Maturity Level - Adult
    Strong violence. Strong language. Sexual situations.

    Previous Reading Required - Major
    Must read "A Game of Thrones" first, then "A Clash of Kings" next. Otherwise, you'll be lost on the plot.

    Reading Level - Average
    Easy to read, never a confusing paragraph.

    Rate of Development - Extremely Fast
    Picks up where "A Clash of Kings" left off.

    The Story - More major battles, more death and mayhem, more intrigue and conspiracies. Some mysteries revealed.

    My Suggestion - Highly Recommended
    This is by far my favorite book of the series. This one will definately shock you and fill you with joy all at once. The ending is very climatic. I can only describe the series so far as a neverending joy to read. 1000 pages? I wished it was 2000 pages. It's just that good.

    ...more info
  • This Series
    In my opinion, every book in this series gets five stars, mainly for the following reasons:

    Gritty without being gratuitous

    Real while still very original

    Gray characters that surprise the reader (you'll find your sympathies changing, along with whatever "side" you were last rooting for)

    No character is safe (there's no thinking, "This character won't die in this sword fight because he's the hero" - anyone can die, and it keeps every encounter thrilling)

    High emotion (horror, humor, suspense - Martin has it all)

    Everything you want without clich¨¦s (there's no, "The simple farmboy didn't know he had magical powers until he discovered he was the Chosen One named in the prophesy and received a sword of great, mysterious powers")

    I eagerly await his next book. :-) ...more info
  • A Storm of Swords
    This is the third book in the Song of Fire and Ice series. Many main characters are killed and new points of view are introduced.

    What was best: The plot had interesting twists and there was interesting character developments. Jaime Lannister seemed to be a generic cad in the first book, somewhat more interesting in the 2nd book and full fledged in the 3rd. Melisandre, the Red Sorceress, you wonder if she might be a flawed ally against the Undead of the beyond the Wall. Jon Snow may have joined the Wildlings at the end of the second book and could be facing consequences from the likes of Alisdair Thorn and Janos Slint(sorry for the spelling I listened to the Audio book). It is realistic in that the good and well intentioned make huge life costing blunders and the conniving coast by on looks and presentation. There is no escapism in this. The new King's Hand, Tywin Lannister, always does what is easy instead of right, and is none the worse. Danyreus is gaining more followers and makes her initial conquests but is unable to consolidate her holdings. Again this is a twist from fantasies.

    What wasn't good: Tyrion Lannister is one of my favorite characters. He shines when he is using his considerable intelligence and rolling the dice, in a figurative sense. However, in this book and in the others, he is given abilities with the crossbow, battle axe, and sword. Despite, having his aching legs and recent battle injuries, he wields these weapons with proficiency.

    New points of view I'd like to see in future books: Sandor Clegain, Ser Jorra Mormont, Mira or Jojen Reed.

    The book is a good long read and leaves enough unanswered questions to intrigue but not frustrate the reader....more info
  • More Fire than Ice, this series just keeps getting better...
    I was blown away by the first two volumes in this series and I approached the third with fear and trembling, wondering if it would live up to the precedent set and if so, which of my favorite characters may finish the book dead.

    On both counts I was not disappointed. No filler here. GRRM continues his story in full-throttle with even more plot twists and shocking turns than the first two novels. The story remains character-centric and what I love about it is the way the author expertly molds the clay of their personalities and actually manages to change my opinion of characters over time. Some of those I would have pinned for the most heinous in books one and two begin to show some redeeming qualities that are only countered by the "good guys" revealing their own demons within.

    In true ASOIAF form, no character is safe, regardless of galantry and "heroism" and some of those who don't make it to book four alive will undoubtedly prove to have been a favorite or two. That said, this is what makes this series so wonderful: the suspense is real. The question isn't "how is this character going to get himself out of this?", it's, "IS this character going to get out of this?". And often the question doesn't even have the time to be asked as a tragedy befalls a character like lightning from a clear-blue sky (which happens more than once in this volume).

    I've said it in my reviews of the first two, but it bears repeating: if you are looking for formulaic fantasy with all the usual suspects and archetypes, this one's probably not your bag. That said, this series is in my opinion, unequivocally the best series epic ever written, and by ever, I mean ever. You may not line up with me on that point, but as they say, if you shoot for the moon and miss, at least you land among the stars.

    Don't miss this one....more info
  • Book # 3 in not "a" but "THE" Dynasty! Just read ALL the reviews here!
    I got hooked on the series after buying Game of Thrones in ~1998 for $1 at Barnes and Nobel based purely on the dustjacket...basic and Authurian. Prior to this, the only "fantasy" I had read in my life was Tolkien and T.H.White's Once and Future King.
    Not only did I later find I had a new coveted 1st edition that was worth, arguably, in the $100's...I was hooked immediately on Martin's writing. I gobbled up all the books, including this one, (disappointing to say the covers slipped briefly into some artwork that looked like Harlequin Romance vs masculine novels) and unfortunately, but easily, caught up with Martin's writing in real time.
    My wife gets annoyed with my whining about how long it is taking Martin to write, but Martin himself laments this fact.
    Martin slightly sells out to timelines vs quality in 'A Feast for Crows' by deviating from his timeline vs character style of writing, but there is no one that writes like Martin alive on the planet today. He "levels up" Tolkien, exceeds Bradbury or Asimov's storytelling, and thrashes the supposed peers he has (I tried them, they can't hold Martin's jockstrap) Robert Jordan and Terry Worse... er Goodkind.
    Martin is a consumate sports fan as well, making him more likeable. Okay, he hedges his bets on Jets and Giants, but NY won't have a contender for 3-4 years in anything but baseball so we forgive him.
    Martin rocks as a writer, storyteller, and dialogue guy. Finish the series George, it's all I ask! -Skip...more info
  • Best Fantasy Series Ever
    From my experience there seems to be little quality control by fans of fantasy fiction. People will give 4 and 5 star reviews to just about any pile of junk containing swords, wizards and dragons that gets slapped into publication. So when a truly great piece of literature is released it doesn't stand out among Amazon reviews. George R.R. Martin's Song of Fire and Ice is a truly great piece of literature. Unlike many fantasy writers who crank out books assembly line style Martin crafts his meticulously over the course of years. His books are so good I honestly worry that something might happen to him before the series is complete. There are three books in The Song of Fire and Ice series that have yet to be published and given his rate of output I estimate that seventh book, "A Dream of Spring" will arrive a year or so before 2020 at which point the author will be in his seventies and he's not the healthiest looking fellow on the planet. The point is the series is so good I actually fear its non completion.

    There are some caveats when reading the Song of Fire and Ice Series.
    1. The good guys don't wear white and the bad guys don't wear black. The bravest, most selfless act in `A Storm of Swords' was done by one of those rotten Lannisters. Martin is so good at invoking sympathy for a character that I actually found myself wishing that Sandor Clegane would recover from some vicious wounds he received in battle despite the fact that he had previously been one of the most despicable characters in the series.

    2. There are perhaps no safe characters in the story. Eddard Stark was the main character from "A Game of Thrones" and he was beheaded before the book was complete. A handful of major, and I do mean major, characters do not make it to the end of this book. Two of the deaths dramatically changed the dynamics of the book and I wasn't happy with the new path the story was going down but as if in answer to my displeasure Martin ended the life of a character who was sorely in need of a violent death and I immediately forgave Martin for his prior transgression.

    3. This series is a major investment in time. The first 4 books average over 1000 pages apiece so this isn't a series for the feint of heart.

    George R.R. Martin has been called the American Tolkein not because he has in any way ripped off Tolkein. In fact, besides both being fantasy writers, their stories couldn't be any more dissimilar. He's called the American Tolkein because the quality is high and the quantity is low. The Song of Fire and Ice continues to be the best fantasy series I have read and after 1128 pages Martin still offers up an ending that caused my jaw to drop. I can't say enough about this series. It truly rises far above other fantasy fiction and it would be a real shame if it never reaches the highest pinnacle of recognition as C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia or Tolkein's Lord of the Rings have achieved....more info
  • The fight for Westeros continues
    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.

    =part three of the A Song of Ice and Fire series=...more info
  • Martin....Always leaves us wanting more!
    I am not that far along in this book yet, but I LOVE IT!! Mr. Dotrice does a fantastic job of reading it and helps bring Martin's characters to life (I have the audio edition). As always, Martin leaves you hanging with one character as he then wets your whistle by catching you up on a character he left you behind with earlier. I cannot wait to get in my car every day just so I can follow along on the next journey.
    I am actually not a fantasy reader by nature and started the series not only because my co-workers recommended it, but I got tired of being out of the loop as they discussed it constantly. I started the series believing I would dislike it because it was a fantasy book. However, Martin really grabbed me from the start and I have needed no further proding to catch myself up to speed.

    *Side notes: This is the third book in a series that begins with A Game of Thrones. The second is A Clash of Kings. Martin can get graphic, gore and sex, in portions of the novel and this series may not be for younger readers or those who may find those scenes offensive....more info
  • The Adventure Continues
    If you've read the first two installments of this series, then you know what to expect. I don't see how you could possibly be disappointed. If anything, I tend to appreciate Martin's writing even more as the story progresses.

    After reading Book II, I took a short break and read several other works before returning for Book III. I found myself becoming impatient to return to A Song of Ice and Fire. The subject matter intrigues me and Martin's style is right up my alley. Though there is never an "ultimate resolution", each chapter results in a kind of cliffhanger that leaves you looking forward to a return of the just completed thread. I can honestly say that none of the threads fails to entertain, some on radically different levels.

    Martin can write as many installments as he wishes and I'll read them all....more info
  • Exceeds the first two books in emotional involvement and character depth
    Could George R.R. Martin be related to J.R.R. Tolkien? Let's look at the facts:

    They both have two "R"s in their names.
    They both wrote exceptionally well-written and detailed fantasy.
    They both wrote a fantasy series that got better and better with each book.

    That last statement is certainly true in the case of "A Storm of Swords," which is the third book in Martin's "A Song of Fire and Ice" series and follows A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) and A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 2). This is not a standalone book. If you have not read the first two books, you have no business starting here because you will only be confused. So, assuming now that you are experienced with this series, I will skip over expounding on Martin's literary merits and simply say that this book is better than it's successors.

    As usual, the main draw to this novel is its unpredictability. I should have known better after all the characters Martin killed in the first two novels. This book is no exception, as he continues to off MAJOR characters and take the plot in directions that the reader would never have considered. A Storm of Swords focuses heavily on Jon, Tyrion, Jaime, Arya, and Daenarys, and there is no lack of action or deceit. I am a very slow reader but this book was so fast-paced that it only took me about 3 days to finish what would normally last me a month. The interesting thing is that by focusing many chapters on Tyrion and Jaime, Martin gives us their viewpoints of the past events and I found myself actually empathizing with the Kingslayer. At the conclusion of the book, I've found that I have no idea who the "hero" and "villain" is in this novel. The correct answer is that there is none, which is just the way Martin would like it. Even Sandor Clegane, possibly the most evil character from the first novel, begins to earn a bit of respect from the reader.

    "A Storm of Swords" does not have any of the climatic battles from the previous book, but will rather appeal to those who are more interested in the political intrigue and backstabbing that goes on among the characters. My only frustration with it is that Martin will end a chapter with a climatic event, and the reader is forced to wait several more chapters to pick up with that character again. But maybe this is what makes it such a fast read. Anyone who enjoyed the first two books will like this one even better, but be warned, many of the main characters in this novel do not even appear in the fourth book A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire), and will not be picked up again until book five, A Dance with Dragons....more info
  • Does not disappoint as a follow up to the first 2
    This is another great book from Martin. If you liked A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings, you'll certainly want to read this next, and you won't be able to put it down. One word of warning for people who haven't yet started the series though: There are only 4 books out right now, with another 1-3 expected to complete the story, and these books are not exactly coming quickly. If you're someone who wouldn't want to read part of a story and then pause for several years, you might want to wait to pick these up. Certainly I want Martin to take the time he needs to do it right, but from another perspective, you're basically buying part of a product here, with no finished product available....more info
  • 3,000 pages are waiting to be read
    I have just finished reading the whole "A Song of Ice and Fire" saga cover to cover. It took me about 3-4 months and the stroy did not lose its grip at any point. I was compelled to keep going till I knew and understood more and more about the characters, and the narrative revealed itself during this process.
    What more is there to say? Just that it is a true literary achievement, by any standard.

    I do have only one slight "complaint". As you read the three books consecutively you notice that Martin does not change his writing technic regarding the timeline of the chapters themselves. Each one of them is opened in the wake of a recent activity which was implied to in a preceding chapter (of the same character). Then, after a page or two the narrator flashbacks and speaks of that recent activity. What we have in the end is an ever recurring cycle of:
    Present-> Flashback (recent past)-> develpoing present...
    I am positive that had Mr. Martin wanted to be more versatile regarding the structure of the narrative he would have added to the saga a new dimension, which would have kept the readers on their toes, a bit more.
    ...more info
  • A real escape
    This series is really entertaining. George Martin kills off all his heroes and heroines with abandon. Just when you sense order being brought to the world of these characters, he rips it up and starts over. What a great way to keep the story fresh.

    I bought all three one after another. I'm waiting for the paperback for the forth, but might have to buy the hardcover. ...more info
  • If you haven't read this yet, you must.
    Martin is a storyteller par excellance.

    He takes a genre which is riddled with formulaic plot and characters and turns it completly upside down.

    If you read fantasy novels so often that you know the beginning and end before you open the book and you are just looking for some entertainment in the middle, don't read this book!

    Every chapter will astound you, confuse you and frustrate your every effort to predict the future.

    In all, this book is a ride on a rollercoaster with the lights out and the seatbelt a little too loose. A blast!!...more info
  • Great Addition to the Series!!
    "The horrible monster with red glowing eyes made its way towards the heroes, howling in a manner that was quite evil and horrifying!"

    That, friends, is an example of what you will NOT find in a George R. R. Martin book (although you probably have a 50% of finding a similar sentence in most any other contemporary fantasy novel). That's because Martin is a genuine writer, a true storyteller who just so happens to love fantasy. If he were to change genres, I have no doubt that he could be heralded as the next John Irving.

    Now, if you're reading this review, chances are you're a fan of the genre. If you're like me, though, you've had your fill of dime store heroes and villains, quasi-desperate quests to regain a lost sword/ring/crystal/deep fryer, etc, and you want something more--like, say, an author who actually operates under the assumption that his readers are reasonably smart! Well, at long last, an author with imagination AND the ability to craft a coherent sentence has arrived to revitalize this ailing genre.

    In an age where near-illiterate plagiarizers like R.A. Salvatore laugh all the way to the bank, I am heartened by the number of sterling reviews written for THIS book--a true book, in every sense. You've probably read at least a few of these reviews before coming to mine, so I won't waste your time with an additional rehash of plot points (such as Martin's great use of POV). Suffice to say, Martin has a poet's ear for alliteration and rhythm, which gives his prose a smooth, vibrant feel. He also steadfastly avoids the usual deux ex machina tactics so often employed by today's hackneyed fantasy writers, in which a cackling wizard SUDDENLY descends from the clouds on his carpet/chariot/flying frog and SUDDENLY blast the heroes with lightning/fire/tapioca pudding then, while cackling maniacally, SUDDENLY steals the princess and soars off to await the sequel. Nope, none of that.

    Instead, Martin gives you complex characters riddled with hopes and insecurities, pride and shame, grief and exaltation. This comes at a price, though. As other reviewers have stated, this is NOT "beach reading", nor is it for the faint of heart. The villains here actually ACT like villains, meaning they do more than just cackle as they stroke their dark crystal balls (no, don't reread that). If you want a quick read in which you can pretend to be the lone, flawless hero fighting an inexplicably evil force, you best look elsewhere. This is a brutal book, the kind of book that--if you let it--will coax you into investing more than just your time, then shake you to the core.

    These books are written with what could be called a "tender mercilessness", a kind of raw wisdom that is both entertaining and enlightening. Take, for example, this quote from the character, Tyrion Lannister, who is a dwarf (no, not the subterranean kind) and often the object of ridicule: "Never forget who you are, for surely the world won't. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you."

    Not saying George R. R. Martin is the first author to have one of his characters speak such a sentiment, but you'd be VERY hard-pressed to find a character in any other novel--fantasy or otherwise--who says it more eloquently than that. Eloquence aside, though, we also see a lot of wisdom in Martin's writing. There's wry wit here, too, like this statement from Varys, another complex character: "There is no creature on earth half so terrifying as a truly just man."

    There are many more grand quotes in this book (and the others) but I don't want to spoil anything. I'll wrap this up by adding that, honestly, I'm a very tough audience. I read a lot of contemporary fantasy and poetry and I probably toss aside or loathe 75% of what I read because it's riddled with cliches and/or just plain badly written. Martin's books, on the other hand, kept me reading until dawn more than once.

    "A Storm of Swords" is also, in my opinion, one of the most emotionally draining (in a good way) and satisfying novels of the series thus far. Again, I won't spoil anything for you; let's just say that the last few chapters of this book contain some of the most jaw-dropping moments yet in the series.

    Sidenote: I've also listened to some of these books on tape during car rides/business trips. Makes the time fly! ...more info
  • Fantasy that goes Mainstream -- Very enjoyable
    What do I mean by mainstream? I suppose you could also define it "literary fantasy." What drives all of George R.R. Martin's magnificent segments in his epic are the characters and how they develop across this colorful tapestry of war, greed, lust -- all the standard themes of truly great literature. He handles it oh-so-well and without a doubt Books 1-3 of A Song of Ice and Fire are among my favorites, at least the equal of The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien) and my new favorite Derek Armstrong's Song of Monts¨¦gur trilogy (although so far I've only read/reviewed the first book The Last Troubdour.)The Last of the Troubadours, Carl Michael Bellman (1740-1795), although I'm about to order book 2, The Last Quest.The Last Quest: Song of Montsegur A fantastic journey, and I would recommend this to anyone over the age of 14 (after all it is a lusty, violent tale). This is one book you almost want to read on your Kindle or E-Ink reader simply due to the sheer weight of paper, even in the mass paperback, but I'd take it anyway I can get it. Just for the record, the first book in the series (separately reviewed) is actually my top favorite in this series. A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)...more info
  • The best fantasy series I've read in a long time
    George R. R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series only gets better with each subsequent volume. Martin has a flair for character development that surpasses all expectations. After 3 volumes it is a delight to see real change in characters, especially when you assumed they were typical fantasy archetypes. Not spoil the read, but readers of the series can expect profound changes in both characters and plot. This is a book that will hook you and keep you reading "just one more chapter" no matter what time of night it is. Martin is the Tolkien of the modern age (and actually more readable than Tolkien). Anyone who loves fantasy should give this series a try....more info
  • Guilty Pleasures!
    I picked up this series after reading all the enthusiastic reviews on Amazon. I have not been disappointed! Took me a bit of time to get into the first book - but once the plot started to roll, it was really good. These books are well written - yet 'pulpy' enough to be a guilty little pleasure. Have to say though - hauling around any one of these will increase your upper body strength - they are weighty! With Storm of Swords - Bk3 - The story continues - in epic form - thank goodness there's a guide in the back to keep track of the characters and how they're interrelated!...more info
  • A+ Fantastic!
    A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3)

    Story- A+, Prose- A, Dialogue- A+, Romance- A, Action- A, Plot- A+.

    This Series, "Song of Fire ad Ice," is by far the best modern fantasy written today, period! In a rich and vibrant fantasy world, George R. R. Martin, creates a complex and intricate story of war, intrigue, and betrayal that is similar to the historical War of the Roses, but only much grander, and vastly more compelling.

    The story has something for everyone, mystery, romance, and action, but even more it creates a reality that is believable, with characters that seem real to live, some you like, some you loath, but all wonderfully interesting!


    This is the third book of the series, and I liked it somewhat more than book 2, yet this book is wonderful just as a whole, it completely holds the reader and demands you to spend hours lost in this vibrant world of intrigue and conflict.

    There is some violence, yet is no more than many comparable works, less than "The Return of the King," by JRRT, and it certainly fits into a medieval fantasy war story.

    The sexual content touches on adult themes, but it is not anywhere as graphic as most aimed at an adult audience, anyone over the age of 16 should be able to handle this book. In fact the most disturbing sexual content in books 1 thru 4 is a retelling of an event that happens years before the events of the story.

    p.s. Soon to be an HBO series, they bought the rights, hopefully we will be able to watch these characters before too long!



    ...more info
  • 3rd Best Book Ever!
    A Storm of Swords Review

    *****

    I now respect George R.R. Martin as an amazing writer. Recently I learned about the realism of this book via historic info on Age of Empires II. It really is true that practically everyone could be betrayed, or thought guilty of another person's crimes. Rarely were people learned resulting in a tumbleweed society, education spinning up and down on the scale of importance.

    The following may contain spoilers:
    This book is dominated by court intrigue. The closest we come to a battle is when Daenerys's army of Unsullied attacks a city in surprise. That even isn't really a battle. Robb Stark marches around the countryside, but doesn't do anything, while Joffrey Baratheon doesn't have any military movement at all. While Stannis chooses a new Hand, the threat of Others and the Wildlings appears.

    Plot:
    Of the character Jon -
    Jon has decided to go with the Wildlings, while secretly spying on them. After killing Qhorin Halfhand at the man's death orders, he has convinced Mance Rayder he is trustworthy. Or has he? A slight flaw in his plan is that he never expected to come upon romance with the Wildling girl Ygritte...

    Of the character Tyrion -
    Tyrion spends the first part of the book recovering from the wound he took at the Battle of the Blackwater that hacked of half his nose. While he has been demoted from Hand of the King to Master of Coin when Littlefinger leaves to try and make truce with Lysa Arryn, he is still glad it's over for then. But when he is married off to Sansa Stark, what might go wrong but everything...

    Of the character Samwell (new) -
    Sam is fearing after when the Night's Watch was slaughtered at the Fist of the First Men. He considers himself big, fat and sissy till he kills an Other with his dragonglass blade.

    Of the character Daenerys -
    Daenerys spends ASOS getting troops for her army, including buying 10,000 slave warriors called "Unsullied". She does also conflict with Ser Jorah Mormont and spies, tricksters and fools.

    Of the character Jaime (new) -
    Jaime Lannister is traveling to King's Landing with Brienne (female warrior servant of Catelyn Tully) but runs into a couple of problems in the way like the Brave Companions.

    Of the character Catelyn -
    Catelyn is the point-of-view that tells the ventures of King Robb Stark. As his mother she is worried about him dying in battle. She also is covered in grief as her sons are "dead", her daughters lost and gone.

    Of the character Bran -
    Bran has opened his third eye. As he makes his way to past the Wall to find the three eyed crow, with Hodor, Meera and Jojen at his side he runs into some familiar company...

    Of the character Sansa -
    Sansa has several adventures throughout the book. She marries Tyrion Lannister, much to her dislike, and sees a strange and brutal murder...

    Of the character Arya -
    Arya plays the main role in this book. She leaves Harrenhal and is almost immediately captured by outlaws serving Lord Beric Dondarrion and Thoros the Red Priest. Everything goes fine until Sandor Clegane is found and captured...
    Spoilers End Here.

    Ratings
    Pictorial ability - 9/10
    Flow - 10/10
    Action description - 10/10
    Story advancement - 9/10
    Climatic moments - 8/10
    Overall - 9?/10

    Name: A Storm of Swords
    Author: George R.R. Martin
    Illustrator: None
    Publication date: 2000
    Favorite booklist #: 3

    M¨ªsha S. Linnehan
    ...more info
  • Gritty, engaging, realistic - fantasy at it's best
    A Storm of Swords is the third book in the ongoing series titles A Song of Ice and Fire. The first book is A Game of Thrones and the second book is titled A Clash of Kings. This series is in no way connected to the Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance. A Song of Ice and Fire can be easily described as adult fantasy, there are elements in this series that you will be pressed to find in other fantasy series on the market today. If you are a fan of fantasy, you really need to give this series a chance.

    Martin has structured this book, in a way that is slightly different from most authors. Each chapter is a different point of view. Each chapter focuses on a different characters. The benefits of this are that you get to see multiple things going on, you are able to see a very large plot that slowly takes place, and you are able understand each of the characters in ways a traditional book would not allow you to do so. There are several character points of view in this book, and each chapter has a point and a purpose.

    This is truly a character driven book. A great plot is nothing without good characters. The characters in this book you will either love or you will hate - sometimes those feelings will change between chapters too. If you are looking for truly good characters, or truly evil characters, this may not be the series for you. However, much like the world we live in, the characters in this book look out for themselves and their families and their choices and actions are based on that. They make choices they regret, they make choices that get them in trouble, and they make choices that have ripple effects throughout many characters. Another thing about this book, is Martin does not become attached to his characters. If the death of a character would benefit the story then a character will die, regardless of how `important' that character is within the story. I wish more modern authors would understand that some characters need to die at times. You never truly know who is safe in these books, which makes it that much more real.

    The plot in this book is book is really several plots at once due to the multiple points of view throughout the book. I would like to list them all, but some would be spoilers and I wouldn't want to do that to you. There are some plots from the first two books that are continued on, such as the continued fight to who will be king. Some plots are resolved from the first two books as well, yet, just as quickly, new plots pop up. With all the talk of multiple plots and such, one might think they would get lost or confused. This is not the case. I don't think I was confused at any time as to what was going on, who was where, etc. It's a well written plot, but the reader needs to pay attention at the same time.

    This book, and series for that matter, is not your typical fantasy. The reader does need to pay attention and can't simply coast through reading. You need to be in the right frame of mind to tackle this story, but if you are and you give this series a shot you will not be disappointed. It's a fantastic read and one I would certainly recommend to most fantasy fans.

    I feel the need to say that I found the first half of this book a grind to get through. Not in the sense that it was bad writing, just that it took a long time for things to shape up. It was a plodding plot and characters for awhile. However, once the actions starts, about the last third of the book, it really picks up and flies past. There are a great deal of fantasy elements in this book, but as of right now most are rather subdued. While they are present they have yet to become in your face type elements that are common in Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance etc. This is not a bad thing, it just depends on what you are looking for in a book.

    Overall, I enjoyed this book a little less than the first book in the series. Mainly due to the slowness of the first half of the book. Yet, I did enjoy it quite a bit. As with the first book I can see most fantasy fans really enjoying this book. This is adult fantasy and as such has sex and violence in it. It does not throw it in the reader's face though, it just happens and fits in with the book. I would highly recommend this series to anyone looking for some epic fantasy.
    ...more info
  • return to fantasy
    I thought I had finally closed the cover on my last fantasy book and would thereafter move onto more "mature" reading. The genre had worn itself out--I thought I was just too old for it. These books, however, are surprisingly sophisticated. The difference is the approach that the author takes to his story. Instead of a plotline with a single hero, the story is told from the subjective points of view of many different characters. It focuses much more on character development than I have usually seen in fantasy. The characters' perceptions are often inaccurate or at odds with each other. A character does not turn out to be what another character thinks he is. My own perceptions of the characters were also constantly shifting as a result. In a more typical plot, I would subconsciously know that the hero, whatever the odds, would make it through, so long as there were additional pages to go--otherwise the book would just end. In Song of Ice and Fire, since there are so many "heroes," the author is free to kill them off, and does so. Good people don't necessarily triumph over evil ones. Or their triumph turns out to be temporary. Or they fail miserably. Or their plans are delayed, go nowhere or switch directions. The plot is completely unpredictable. It is difficult to figure out who is good and who bad. In fact, no one is truly either, and each character has its own, carefully delineated personality. In other words, much like real life. I was grateful that (at least so far) the facile use of magic to facilitate plot hasn't played a significant role, and that no sappy, overly simplistic romances have developed. (Due the Harlequin romance covers, I had expected it at every turn, and wrongly predicted a number of outcomes as a result.) My biggest complaint was that I couldn't seem to focus on anything else when I was in the middle of one of the books. Reading fantasy novels is, after all, frivilous and immature, and there are much more important things to do.
    ...more info
  • The Best of the Best
    I tore through this series, and while I would obviously recommend all the books, as they are essential to progressing the tale, A Storm of Swords seemed to stand above the others just slightly. I will not get into spoilers, as I would have hated to been spoiled on some of the plot twists that occur (there are quite a few!). I will say that at one point in the book I couldn't get to sleep because my heart was pounding so hard from the dismay and utter disbelief of what turn the plot took. A Storm of Swords is one of those books that you will pick-up to read before bed, look at the clock, and suddenly it is 3am in the morning... which seems like a great time for just one more chapter. If you have made it this far in the series, you owe it to yourself to pick-up this book, and continue on the epic journey through Westeros, the far east, and beyond the Wall....more info
  • Unbelievable
    It is incredibly difficult to put into words how you feel after reading George RR Martin's work. There are many before me who have written extensive reviews of the books in A Song of Ice and Fire and I feel there is little I could really add or detract from any of them. To put it simply, if you are a fan of fantasy, and I mean from a casual reader who picks up a novel every couple of years or a die-hard fanatic, Martin's books are worth their weight in gold. The story is incredibly rich with detail, history, action and most importantly, intrigue. It is not written in the epic nature of the Lord of the Rings but challenges Tolkien's great work by instead offering a reader a world of fantasy that is startling similar to our own. Martin's realism, proven by his extensive historical research and adept knowledge of human nature, is what raises these books toward becoming classics. Like any other fan of the books, I can't say enough how much you should read them. Do not feel intimidated by their size as you will quickly move through the books once you are entrapped in the stirring stories. Go buy this and the other books.

    Hopefully Martin will finish the series within the next ten years......more info
  • I love the books so far! I would give it 5 stars but I havnt finished reading it
    This series is AWESOME! I love the first two books. I havnt finished this book; however, I have already ordered the fourth book. This book and the others is not for the weak of heart! Lets just say- George R. R. Martin is not afraid to kill of characters. I start to fall in love with a character and before I know it, he or she is dead. It has many plot twists and paraphrasing an underlying theme , "Life is not a song." I'm hoping the series has a happy ending where the main characters are avenged. Anyone who read this book will agree with me- I hope the Freys burn in hell....more info
  • The already fast-paced series picks up speed!
    My struggle here will be trying to express things about book three of a series that I have not already said about book one or book two. It is very difficult for me to try to write my thoughts on the book without either saying things I have already said or tripping over my excitement for the series while trying to give you a down-to-earth recounting of the book.

    I can tell stories about me sitting up at night reading in bed and getting entirely too animated with my reactions to things Martin wrote...or I can compare it with the first two books of the series. When put that way, I think I'll opt for the latter.

    By starting, or continuing, the series through book 3 you will not be disappointed. Not on a grand scale anyway. (One thing about George Martin is that he is not afraid to kill off main characters. As with the first two books, in book 3 main characters die. If you were attached to one or more who is killed/dies then you may be disappointed on a smaller scale.) The series is not new to me anymore; I no longer have the honeymoon feeling with the books. Gone is the initial excitement from finding something I loved, but my devotion is renewed at the end of each book.

    The excitement in the series slowed somewhat in book 2, but not in book 3. A Storm of Swords is aptly named for the fast-paced action. There is a lot that happens, and you may find yourself (as I did) going back and forth trying to decide which is my favorite character. Sit tight, it is going to be a bumpy ride, but it will be a fun ride. With George R. R. Martin, I am consistently entertained.

    I guess it boils down to this: If you have read the first two books, I would imagine you were somewhat eager to read book 3, but do not want to be let down. Don't hesitate. Get your copy of book 3 today and start reading. I tried to pace myself through the first three, knowing that there are still unwritten books in the series, to spread out the amount of time between books more evenly. I have given up on that idea. Book 4 here I come!
    ...more info
  • A great read, despite sluggish pacing
    All of the comments I made about book 2 apply here as well ... although in this case, even though the book seems more complex and fragmentary than ever, the pacing seems slightly faster, and the amount of gratuitous sex and gory violence is a bit less. Unlike book 2, books 1 & 3 doesn't go quite so far enough overboard on those elements to merit a "Mature Reader" warning.

    I think the pacing seems faster because GRRM got busy resolving a lot of dangling plot lines in rather ... ahem ... forceful fashion. Yes, that's a backhanded reference to my comments in book 2 regarding his tendency towards excessively high mortality among his main characters. This book reads like a Greek Tragedy at times.

    Anyway, despite the incredibly fragmented storytelling, I still found it to be a gripping and highly entertaining read ... due in large part to the growing sense of depth in some of the main villains**. It's not often I finish 3,000+ pages of books in such a short period of time.

    [SPOILER ALERT]
    ---------------
    I like how the author gave added depth to the characters of Jaime & Tyrion Lannister, by introducing nostalgia, regret, remorse, and a latent need for redemption and having a legacy. Tyrion got repeatedly screwed by his own family, no matter how hard he tried, and would up exacting some long overdue revenge. Ditto to a lesser degree for Jaime, who took a refreshingly introspective turn after his maiming.
    ---------------
    [/SPOILER END]

    Highly recommended ... albeit for patient readers with a longer than average attention span.

    [EDIT] Ok, here's something else that bother's me about GRRM's writing style that I forgot to mention in my review of Book 2 - he seems to take undue pleasure in describing people going to the bathroom. Yes, it's a perfectly normal reality of daily life, and we all go to the bathroom .. but he describes it with such regularity that it's almost like he's doing it to make a statement - like he's flaunting his commitment to hyper realism.

    I actually remember the very first time that the sound of a toilet flushing was allowed on American TV ... it was the infamous flush by Archie Bunker on "All In The Family". People at the time yelled and screamed and talked like the world was ending. Well, it didn't ... but it definitely paved the way for an ever deepening spiral into unnecessarily graphic (and base) entertainment - which brings us back to GRRM, who, in one scene, has someone get shot in the groin with a crossbow, while they're on the privy ... and he goes out of his way to describe how the person's bowels loosen and empty down the chute into the moat below.

    I realize we'll never go back to 1950'ish sensibilities of Tolkien (in which the author created a vast body of perfect 10 fantasy work that didn't incluide even a single needlessly graphic reference to voiding one's bowels or raping corpses), nor should we ... but there comes a point when enough is enough. I think GRRM repeatedly crosses that line at times. Eddie Murphy demonstrated some time ago that although the word "f*@k" is funny, there comes a point when it's possible to overdo it, and it's just not funny anymore. GRRM does the same thing at times in his writing, with excessive references to bodily functions.

    I'm still forced to give the book 5 stars however, despite my plethora of pet peeves. ...more info
  • Excellent series!
    This series was recommended to me by a friend and I fell in love with them. They're not always the happiest of books, but that keeps me guessing as Martin seems willing to part with some general fantasy norms. Definitely a good read....more info
  • Wow. . .
    Just when you think you know where the plot is going Martin throws a monkey-wrench (axe, sword, etc.) into your plan and pow! The first-person narrative style always leaves you guessing but also gives you the juicy stuff too. The end of this book blew me away. Starting Feast of Crows today....more info
  • A magnificent work....
    I thought that with so many pages and being the third book it was going to decrease in interest and action.... Surprisingly, I found again that Martin is able to surprise me with every single chapter.... It's a really good work.... Congratulations to the author. Highly recommended. ...more info
  • Wickedly-Entertaining, Breathtakingly-Captivating
    George R. R. Martin has outdone himself in this, the third tome in his wickedly-entertaining "A Song of Ice and Fire" fantasy series. Yes, the series started off at a ploddingly slow pace with "A Game of Thrones", but the second book, "A Clash of Kings" picked up the pace and the plot got better. This third book improves on the previous two, on just about every aspect. The pacing is faster, the plot is "tighter", and the story is finally moving forward.

    The land of Westeros is still in chaos and turmoil. The smallfolk continue to suffer as the Great Lords play their "game of thrones". Meanwhile, against this epic backdrop of war and political maneuverings, characters both great and small gradually reveal their own desires and motivations. Through many twists and turns, the plot will delight you, surprise you, shock you, and might even anger you. Old values, beliefs, alliances, and friendships will be shattered. New alliances are built. The old Gods now give way to the powerful flame god from overseas.

    Jon Snow returns to Castle Black, with a wildling woman he has taken under the sheets. Meanwhile, his trusty side-kick, the self-described craven, Samwell Tarly has taken it upon himself to rescue a wildling woman from a band of rebel crows. The Young Wolf, having made a very foolish mistake attempts to right his wrong and repair a broken, and vital, alliance. The Kingslayer, under the escort of Brienne the Beauty, slowly reveals himself through a series of conversations with the maiden from Tarth. Tyrion, ever-clever, slowly tries to regain his political power within King's Landing, and gains himself a new paramour in the process.

    Daenerys Stormborn, the last of the Targaryens, continue to gather followers, admirers, soldiers, and enemies. As her power grows, so do the list of those who would stop her. Stannis, the King in the Narrow Sea, has been broken, with no one to turn to but the priestess and sorceress, Melisandre.

    Many, both high and low, will fall. And the dead will rise again. Winter is coming. The long night is coming. Old heroes will die and new ones will rise to take their place to face the new evil that is about to unleash itself unto the world. And your friend and reviewer, the ever-humble Citan, can only look forward to the next installments in the series with great hope and excitement.

    ...more info
  • A Song of Ice and Fire series
    This is a thrilling science fiction series that has it all -- king, queens, dragon, war, love, passion. You get caught up in the action. Martin captures your interest by telling the unfolding saga through the eyes of different characters.

    It is a great series. I certainly hope he has finished the fifth book before I finish the fourth....more info
  • Hooked.
    Wow, axes fall all over the place in this one. It's no secret that in a Martin novel no character is given a free pass to survival, but I was amazed by how many went down in this one. Jaw dropping, really, and brave of the author.

    That's the first thing that comes to mind, but there's a lot of other great stuff about this book. I still have my favorite characters - I think everybody does - and that's a lot of what kept me turning the pages. Jon Snow's stuff is particularly good. He's beyond the wall and in love and torn about it. And then the seige on the wall is just amazing, finally giving us those promised giants and mammoths for real. In early novels, I'd thought that Martin skimped a bit on the battle scenes. Not so in the one. He makes the wall itself awesome and brings the battle to life with vigor.

    Tyrion is a lot of fun, as always. But Daenarys is my other big favorite. I love the way she's developing, and I love that's she's got brains enough to pull off some major victories - unlike Arya and Sansa. And Jaime is quite interesting as well. He's strangely sympathetic, although with all the stuff that happens to him he deserves some sympathy.

    Anyway, hell of a book, hell of a series. I'm a little worried about A Feast For Crows, considering what I've heard about it. But I'll probably give it a try before long. There's still so much promised to come. I'm fairly hooked....more info
  • Truly phenomenal books.

    The Kingdom of Westeros is still being torn apart by Civil unrest. The fighting between many key players has torn the world into 5 distinct factions. Joffrey is being supported by the house of the Lannisters owing to his Mother, Cersei, and natural fathers, Jaime. Stannis Baratheon has succumbed to the influence of the Red Priestess, Melisandre, who is still maintaining that he is the reborn messiah, Ashai. Robb Stark fights for the North, while Balon Greyjoy fights for the Iron Islands. Renly Baratheon, who was the fifth player in the story, has been killed by magic in the previous book.

    But there are many other parts to be played in this grandiose story of intrigue. Brienne of Tarth is escorting Jaime Lannister to King's Landing on Catelyn Stark's orders in the hopes that it will encourage the Lannisters to free her captive daughters, Arya and Sansa. Robb Stark meets with Catelyn to question her of her releasing Jaime and she discovers that he has forgone his promise to the House of Frey to wed with one of their own in favor for a woman named Jeyne whom he fell in love with. Arya has been taken in by a group of mercenaries who want to ransom her to the highest bidder. Bran Stark is busy trying to get to the wall with Jojen and Meera Reed. Sansa bides her time in King's landing where she becomes a major pawn by virtue of her having reached marital age. Jon Snow is posing as a turncoat of the night watch by infiltrating the wildlings under Mance Rayder where he has also taken to a girl named Ygritte, and Samwell also has a part to play in the north. Davos Seaworth continues to watch Stannis and Melisandre, constantly suspect of her motives. Tyrion Lannister maintains a watchers position in King's Landing and even becomes involved with his sister's and father's nefarious scheming. During all of this Daenerys Targaryen is doing her utmost to secure an army fierce enough to throw into the fray.

    Once again the narrative is divergent in that it is told from the point of view of many different narrators. Catelyn, Jon Snow, Daenerys, Bran, Arya, Sansa, Tyrion, and Davos return to convey their stories. Added to this are the voices of Jaime Lannister, Samwell Tarly, Sir Merret Frey, and a brother of the night's watchman named Chett. Though the story is choppy because of the many different narratives the magnitude of the characters, the strength of the overall story, and the compelling nature of the characters work to make this manner of narrative seem driven, and not in a frenetic way.

    I rather enjoyed the third book in this epic saga. To me it's the strongest thus far, as many points of impact occur which really drive the plot along. Could it survive on its own outside of the first two books? Likely, but it would be less rich without them. I fully recommend this series. These are truly phenomenal books.
    ...more info

 

 
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