Saturday, August 20, 2011
BOOK REVIEW: A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow: Book 3 Part 1 of A Song of Ice and Fire
Author: George R R Martin
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: July 2011
The Seven Kingdoms are divided by revolt and blood feud, and winter approaches like an angry beast. Beyond the Northern borders, wildlings leave their villages to gather in the ice and stone wasteland of the Frostfangs. From there, the renegade Brother Mance Rayder will lead them South towards the Wall.
Robb Stark wears his new-forged crown in the Kingdom of the North, but his defences are ranged against attack from the South, the land of House Stark′s enemies the Lannisters. His sisters are trapped there, dead or likely yet to die, at the whim of the Lannister boy-king Joffrey or his depraved mother Cersei, regent of the Iron Throne.
And Daenerys Stormborn will return to the land of her birth to avenge the murder of her father, the last Dragon King on the Iron Throne.
A Storm of Swords, by author George R.R. Martin, is the third installment in the 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series, and has become a must-read series for fantasy enthusiests at this point.
The Battle of the Blackwater is finished, but the Seven Kingdoms are hardly at peace. This story continues with the aftermath of the slaughter outside the walls of King's Landing and the ongoing campaigns of the kings to lay claim to Westeros. Tywin Lannister has arrived at King's Landing to take control of the kingdoms through his grandson, King Joffrey Baratheon. Robb Stark continues his campaign to unite the west and rid his mother's homeland of the Lannisters, but must now contest with the Ironmen taking control of his kingdom in the north. Stannis Baratheon sits defeated back in his home of Dragonstone, but plots his next move with the help of the Red Priestess, Melissandre. Meanwhile, Daenerys Targaryen, mother of the last dragons, plots, maneuvers and rampages her way through the Free Cities in the name of justice. All while Jon Snow contends with infiltrating the massive, reckless barbarian horde as an agent for the Night's Watch.
The Red Wedding chapter was by far the hardest thing to read. You would think the Starks would eventually learn to STOP TRUSTING PEOPLE THEY KNOW WHO WANT THEM DEAD. SERIOUSLY. Catelyn is just as bad as Eddard, it's so infuriating! Although it opens the door for an interesting plot segue, or at least I'm assuming it will. The final page of the book was pretty darn cool as far as that whole thing is concerned.
It's true enough that Martin is asking a lot of us. With each book, the lines between protagonist and antagonist blur even more, and it seems less and less clear who we should want to see victorious. That demands a certain level of faith from the reader, faith that Martin will present a resolution that, if not the happily-ever-after we are so trained to expect, at least crystallizes the series into a final, definitive state. I can see why this type of demand would give some readers pause. The fact that Martin makes it while continuing to deliver stories replete with intrigue and plots, promises and betrayal, and love and war means that I am willing to wait and see where he takes us next.
As usual, another page turner for me and I will be starting on the next book right away. I need to finish this series so I can go return to my normal life already.