Thursday, 8 March 2018

Book Review - A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin

I finally finished reading A Storm of Swords  by George R. R. Martin. Continue reading to find out more about the book, my thoughts and whether or not I would recommend it.

This review contains spoilers. In order to give my complete review of the book I have to give away some major points in the storyline. Scroll forward if you have already read the book or knowing the storyline does not bother you!

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A Storm of Swords is the third book in a successful series called A Song of Ice and Fire written by George R. R. Martin. Continuing the story after A Clash of Kings, the book describes the ongoing War of the Five Kings in Westoros, the increasing threat of the Others (ghostly creatures of the north beyond the Wall protecting Westeros), and the strengthening army in the East led by Daenerys.

Through the perspective of 12 different characters, the book immerses the reader into a world of political scheming, war, loss, love, family loyalty and conflict.

The Wall in the north is finally faced with a large army of Wildlings who are escaping the rise of the Others beyond the Wall. Forced to deal with this threat from spilling into Westeros, the Night's Watch finds themselves in a battle to protect the Wall and prevent an invasion. An unlikely hero emerges.

In King's Landing, following the Battle of the Blackwater in the War of the Five Kings, Tyrion tries to win the favor of his father, who replaces him as Hand of the King. Tyrion struggles to cope with with the scheming of his family and remain alive. Sansa Stark, freed from her duty to marry King Joffrey, continues to plot her escape, however, circumstances become more complicated.

In the North, King Rob continues his war against Lord Tywin's armies while fortressed in Riverrun. After returning home with a wife, he is forced to reconcile his political relationship with Walder Frey, Lord of the Crossing, who had betrothed his daughter to him. Robb and his mother Catelyn Stark travel to the Twins to undo the damage and maintain the alliance of the spiteful Frey's with heavy consequence.

In the East, the exiled queen, Daenerys Targaryen, and the only 3 dragons in the world, continues her journey across the East, stopping at cities where she adds to her army by freeing the people of their slavers.  

Elsewhere in Westeros, King Stannis struggles with the guidance given to him by the "Red Woman", and where he should be focusing his army. Arya Stark, continuing to evade the Lannisters, travels towards Riverrun in search of her brother but is impeded by outlaws and unlikely characters who force her to travel with them for ransom. Jaime Lannister makes his way back to King's Landing with Brienne of Tarth, however, the road is not easy and he runs into many adversaries that will have a permanent effect on his future as Commander of the Kings Guard. Lastly, Bran Stark, along with his companions, make their way to the Wall as a result of a vision of a three-eyed crow.  

Spoilers below!



I loved A Storm of Swords, despite complaining the whole time that it had taken me two months to finish its 1177 pages! In comparison to A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings, this book moved the storyline forward in some significant areas and there were moments in the book that were so intense it caused me to put the book down and take a break because I was flabbergasted.

We finally see more of the wights and Others! They are talked about in the first two volumes, with very small appearances to foretell their incoming destruction and Old Nan's storytelling but they do not make a major significant appearance until volume three. We finally understand why the Wildlings are moving for the Wall - to escape the Others. We also learn that they can be defeated with weapons made of dragonglass, which gives hope that Westeros has a chance against these otherworldly creatures.

I was also completely shocked with the deaths of many of the main characters. King Robb and Catelyn Stark, Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, King Joffrey and Lord Tywin Lannister, and Lysa Arryn just to name a few. After reading the moment of the "Red Wedding" in which Walder Frey plotted successfully the assassination of King Robb and Lady Catelyn, I was shocked and didn't pick up the book for two days. It was brilliant and so Shakespearean that it had a huge impact on me as a reader. The other section of the book that affected me similarly was the epilogue in which we learn that Lady Catelyn Stark's dead body was resurrected after several days of her death resulting in a disgusting decaying mute living corpse - I yelled out "ew!", the imagery in my mind was ghastly, George R. R. Martin's writing was amazing.

I also wish the author would have explored the marriage between Sansa Stark and Tyrion Lannister a bit more. Despite the Lannisters being awful scheming people, we see their good side occasionally and in this case it was Tyrions treatment of Sansa following the forced arrangement of their marriage. Of the three Lannister siblings, Tyrion appears the most fair, which almost makes you feel bad for him. I personally wish Sansa had been more kind to Tyrion and the author allow that union to continue rather than Sansa escaping from King Landing with the disgusting Peter Baelish. Though it makes sense, the Lannister's have made such a bad name for themselves that it has affected the reputation of even the lesser of the evils.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in fantasy and medieval literature. The size of his books and length of the series can be discouraging to some people but the world George R. R. Martin has created, the intertwined stories of all the characters and the scheming makes for a really good fictional story.

I gave A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Let me know your thoughts on the book. What stood out the most to you? Were you as shocked as I was? Comment below!


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