"A Storm of Swords" by George R.R. Martin | Book Review
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire (Book #3)
Page Count: 973
First Published: August 8, 2000
Where do I even begin talking about A Storm of Swords? In short, I loved it. In my experience, sequels are almost never as good as the originals, but this book was definitely an exception—it's just as amazing as A Game of Thrones. I already knew that I loved George R.R. Martin's writing and his characters after reading the first two books, but the plot and all of the action in A Storm of Swords exceeded my expectations. I went through a wide range of emotions reading this book: excitement, happiness, heartbreak, despair, hope, fear, wonder, surprise... What are you doing to me, George R.R. Martin?!
Since it's book three in the series, the story is in full swing for everyone involved. It got my attention right from the Prologue, and as the things progressed there was a perfect balance of political scheming and personal story lines. The last third of the book had me up way too late at night, and every time I thought I read the last major event, I got hit with another one a chapter or two later. I'm not joking, even the final page of the Epilogue will leave you thinking "What in seven hells?!..."
There is a lot of character development for almost everyone in A Storm of Swords, but something that you may not expect is changing your mind about a few people. First of all, we have two new PoV characters: Jaime Lannister and Samwell Tarly. Sam's PoV is more or less what you would expect, but his perspective is actually quite interesting and has some very intense moments. Jaime's perspective on the other hand is a bit of a game-changer, not just because of what happens to his character from this point on, but also because of who he is as a person. As his past is slowly revealed and his story takes unexpected twists and turns, you can't help falling in love with him. A Storm of Swords made Jaime Lannister one of my favorite characters, which is a concept I would have laughed at during the first two books. On the other hand, Tyrion is someone who reminds us that there is darkness is every person. I'm also continuously more interested in Jon and Sansa—both of these characters are very introverted, so the only way to truly know what's going on with them is through their inner monologues. The PoVs I was underwhelmed by were Daenerys (again) and Bran: Mother of Dragons and little warg are clearly being set up for later action, so right now they're not the most interesting characters.
As for your emotional health during the course of this book... We may have some issues. No spoilers (of course), but GODS! I very rarely cry when I'm reading, but that ONE scene (you know which one it is, if you've read the book) got me good, and had me taking a break to compose myself. The funny thing is, I knew what was going to happen because I watch the TV show, so I thought I was going to keep it together... Not a chance! And if you're a sweet summer child like me, don't delude yourself thinking this is the last time during this book you will simultaneously want to break something and drown your sorrows in Dreamwine.
I could talk about A Storm of Swords for a very long time (especially if I start bringing spoilers into this), but this review is getting long. The last thing I want to say is that I love the slowly building aura of magic in this series. This book touched on some very interesting mystical things that really stir my imagination. It's not really clear what's going on with that just yet, but there is a lot more to the world of A Song of Ice and Fire than you may have thought from the previous books.
In the end, A Storm of Swords deserves all the stars. George R.R. Martin's writing is great, the characters are fascinating, and the story is captivating. My interest in the series is definitely at its highest point at the moment, and this is easily one of the best books I have ever read. Valar morghulis!