If you’ve been dragging your feet through the A Song of Ice and Fire series, wondering why you’re even bothering with reading it, A Storm of Swords, the third and longest book of the series, will have you picking your feet up in no time.
Known by many fans as the best book of the series, I really cannot say a word against that claim. Although lengthy (over 1,000 pages), if you buy it in paperback you have the comfort of reading it in two parts, rather than lugging around a 1,000 page book. And if you’re like me, a woman who prefers to carry a book in her purse rather than makeup, you will think a two part book was a very smart idea.
Even before the book starts, George R.R. Martin gave the reader a note on chronology, explaining that, hey, these people are usually thousands of miles apart from each other, and that the stuff that goes on around each character may or may not overlap in time. So five chapters could equal a day in the different points of view of other characters (if that wording makes any sense at all). And as you read through, this is really obvious. It’s also exciting at some points when you know two characters are close to each other, and you’re sitting there wondering, Now is this the same day, or a week or month later?
The book doesn’t pick up after A Clash of Kings, but overlaps where that one ended. A Storm of Swords continues to follow the same characters, although some are focused on more than others. Bran’s journey only gets a little bit of telling, but what is told keeps the reader wondering where they are headed and what will happen to them next, while Jon Snow finally gets his chance to shine. A lot of the book follows the Nights Watch, and their journey through the forest, as well as the decisions Jon makes on that journey.
Daenerys’s chapters are a bit scarce, but what Martin reveals about her character in them may make you either root for her or shun her more, depending on whose side you’re on. And the fact that there are kings sprouting up everywhere brings in more action with more battles and more deceit as everyone fights over the iron throne.
But what I think really made this book possibly my favorite out of the entire series is the way that Martin tells it. His style doesn’t change from the other books, but he becomes more of a trickster in this book than in the other ones. He has the tendency to end every other chapter on a cliff hanger, which is good and bad. Good because if you can still stand an author that leaves you curious for 5 chapters, then you know they’ve done their job well. Bad, because he leaves you waiting for 5 chapters before telling you what’s happening with a certain character! Talk about double edged swords.
Then when he doesn’t leave you on cliff hangers, you either hate him or love him. Correction: EVEN if he leaves you on cliff hangers, you either hate him or love him. I will use a quote my friend said to me: This book will kill your soul.
If you let it, that is. I was destroyed at one point (hint: it has something to do with a wedding**), and there are a few other really depressing parts that make you want to tear your hair out from grief, but Martin isn’t so heartless, and he does let things even out so that you end up somewhat happy. Maybe.
But A Storm of Swords ends with the same results as A Clash of Kings: there will be characters you hate even more and there will be characters you love even more. And yes, I cannot leave out the characters that leave you going: WHY!?! I THOUGHT YOU WERE SO AWESOME!!!!!!
**There are about twelve million weddings in A Storm of Swords so I didn’t really spoil anything.