A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

A Song of Ice and Fire, #3

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. Together, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, victim of the sorceress who holds him in her thrall. Young Robb still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. 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. And as opposing forces manoeuver for the final showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost limits of civilization, accompanied by 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...

“We look up at the same stars and see such different things.”

My favorite of the first three books, A Storm of Swords sweep the lands and propels beloved characters forward, backward, and in some cases to their deaths or ruin. A few change their names and faces and flee, a few are betrayed, a few are killed, all in the name of war and the fun (or depression?) that is George R.R. Martin.

Weddings are a big theme in the story - there's an unexpected union and two deadly ones that are series changers. One tragedy is sad and the other one is long-overdue. As for the unexpected union - have no idea where that will eventually go due to events afterward. Maybe nowhere and they will never see each other again? Perhaps in a bad direction? I'm curious on that especially since it concerns the fate of one of my favorites.

My biggest surprise is probably that I like Jaime so much now. I disliked him in the first because of Bran, didn't care much in the second, but this third? Yep, a new favorite. His travels with Brienne turned out enjoyable, but he gets a depressing awakening and welcome home. Cercei is still one of my most hated characters of the story, as are a few others, but I'm happy to say I could say goodbye to a few others I disliked.

The wolves play a part with Bran, Arya and Jon - I'm curious on the paranormal elements of all this. As always Jon gets plenty of page time but, while I like him, his side stories don't interest me much. Arya had some of the most fascinating chapters and traveling companions - she's not a favorite but she does get some of the most fascinating parts of the book. Bran was around but still a wanderer, and my attention keeps wandering where he is concerned right now.

The Lannisters kept me interested. Tyrion especially goes through a lot of major changes and gets suitable revenge in the end that I was happy to see. No idea where he will go in the fourth book, but the series is a grim companion.

Finally, Daenerys is still a favorite. Her chapters were interesting and well-done, even if they took a little while to come. She has to show her vicious side a time or two and is one of those who progresses forward in leaps and bounds throughout the book with growth, but through tragedy and betrayal ends up semi-stuck in the end. Also curious what will go on with her story in the fourth, especially new blue-eyed companion. I was sorry to see one leave, though I understand and was dismayed by it.

That ending too? Yikes. Epic way to close the final chapter.

   Book Quotes:

“Every man must die, Jon Snow. But first he must live.”

   Cover Gallery: