A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
Book 3 of A Song of Ice and Fire series
Unabridged, 47 hr. 40 min.
Random House Audio
Roy Dotrice (Narrator)
March 11, 2004
Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fantasy
Source: Started reading paperback from my fiancé’s collection; downloaded audiobook from library
“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 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 maneuver 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...”
There were times when this book was brilliant and times when it dragged – looking back on the experience (and after watching the most recent season of the HBO show) I would lean more toward the brilliant. Martin continues his epic story in which we are thrown right back into the civil war as all the contender fight for the crown. You have three sorts of story settings – the North and Beyond the Wall, the South and the seat of the kingdom, and across the sea. I really enjoyed what was happening on and beyond the wall, possibly because it is an area that hasn’t yet been affected directly by the war.
There are some GREAT scenes – and certainly things that you would NEVER see coming. This is something that Martin is great at, creating shocking moments. And as expected there are just a few deaths (not a spoiler as Martin has killed off MANY characters in the 3 books I have read so far). If you have seen the most recent season of the show you have some idea of what I’m talking about. Some people are turned off by some of these scenes or having characters they like dying – but I think it is the sign of a good author to be willing to kill of a character for the sake of moving the story forward.
With regard to characters, especially narrating characters – I have definite opinions on 4 of them (there are 12 narrators this time).
- Jon Snow: As mentioned above, one of my favorite sections of the book is the beyond the wall sections. I think Jon has evolved possibly the most out of all the characters and I find him very interesting.
- Jamie Lannister: Another character who makes some major life changes. He became a much more likeable character and someone who I’m cautiously considering rooting for in future books.
- Tyrion Lannister: He is a hilarious man and I could read his scenes all day long
- Catelyn Stark: I pretty much can’t stand the woman. She is always complaining, do the exact wrong thing, and I essentially have no sympathy for her at all. Harsh? Probably.
The rest of the characters are good, don’t get me wrong, but they just sort of fall somewhere in the middle.
I would say that I enjoyed books 1 and 2 more than this third installment (again the dragging chapters between big events), but still a great book overall and I look forward to reading the next book.
The narration was enjoyable – the length was incredible! I realize that the book is right around 1,000 pages, but I didn’t imagine it would be so long to listen to! That is a lot of time to commit to a listen.
Author George R. R. Martin has written these additional books in the series: A Game of Thrones (book 1), A Clash of Kings (book 2), A Feast for Crows (book 4), and A Dance with Dragons (book 5). The series has been adapted into a television series by HBO – which has been very faithful to the book. You can follow the production of the show on the following blog, Winter is Coming. You can also visit George R. R. Martin's website for additional information about the books.
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