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

30 Jul

It took me three months to listen to this audiobook. For context, it’s 39 disks long. A normal book is around 10, long books are 15. This was 39. I believe it was over 50 hours of audio. I had to get a librarian to change my due date twice because I’d run out of holds. It felt so good to finally finish this book!

Cover image via Goodreads

A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3) by George R.R. Martin

Other books by Martin reviewed on this blog:

A Game of Thrones (#1)
A Clash of Kings (#2)

Summary from Goodreads:

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.

This book really took off. I looked at my ratings of the first two books (4 and 3 stars) and I’m surprised because this one was such a winner and I don’t remember disliking the first two. Maybe I’m going nuts. I was swept away with the story in book three. A lot of my favorite moments from several seasons of the show ended up in this book and the clash of them all together was very enjoyable. Each character is killing it and I’m liking the pacing a lot. Overall, I can’t wait to read book four. I’ve just got to carve out the time.

Martin builds amazing characters. As before, Tyrion is a favorite and I adore how he’s evolved in this book. Sansa is starting to become more likable and Arya is starting to feel less whiney. Most importantly, I’m starting to like Jaime. This book shows Martin’s amazing ability to build characters and I’m loving where it’s going.

Tyrion is again my favorite. I love how he appears to be evil and mean but it’s clearly a result of how his sister and father have treated him his entire life. I think his relationship with Jaime really shows a lot about him and in this book in particular. Jaime’s loyalty is very divided between the woman he loves and his brother when the two of them are at each other’s throats for most of the book. I think the brothers’ bond will be explored more as this goes forward, more so than the show did. I also loved the development of Tyrion’s first wife that we don’t get in the show. I won’t spoil it here, but I felt it showed a lot about Jaime that he told Tyrion the truth.

I can’t say I’ve been in situations like many of the characters in the story and that’s part of what makes it such a wonderful escapist pastime. The way they react in situations makes me think ‘I’d never do that’ or ‘I can see where they’re coming from,’ but their situations are not at all familiar to me.

George RR Martin
Image via

Arya and the Hound’s time together was my favorite of the book. I enjoyed the relationship they developed and being inside Arya’s head and hearing how she felt about Sandor and how that changed was really fun for me. She hated him but relied on him. She wanted to kill him but also wanted him to stay alive. I liked how she dealt with those mixed emotions and I think she grew a lot because of it.

There wasn’t a part of this book I disliked. I think it was all amazingly done and I really look forward to the next one now that Martin has kicked it into high gear.

Roy Dotrice was an amazing narrator yet again. I’m going to miss his voice when we finally get to books he couldn’t narrate. He does an incredible job with the mix of characters and the delivery of certain lines with deep emotion. He’s so talented and deserves the recognition he’s gotten for his performances.

There was a lot of loss and revenge in this book. Loss mostly from death but also other ways. Jaime’s loss comes to mind. Sansa is dealing with a loss of freedom. Revenge from Theon and Tyrion are prominent and the way the Northmen and outlaws are rebelling plays a large role in the balance of power in the realm. Revenge is often dark but we see how it can be so sweet in some of these cases.

Writer’s Takeaway: You rarely get a book as long as this one and it doesn’t drag at all. There wasn’t a down moment in this book, it kept rocketing ahead and I loved it. Martin does a good job of building to high points before switching to another character. This is something I’m trying to work into my re-write on my book which also uses multiple points of view. It’s great to see how it can be done well.

A great job and a middle book with no lag! A full Five out of Five stars.

This book counts toward the 1300-1499 period (assuming it parallels the War of the Roses) for the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

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Related Posts:
Review: A Storm of Swords | literaryelephant
A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin | Lighthearted Librarian’s Website
A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3) by George RR Martin | loudbookishtype