Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Book Thoughts - A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

A Storm of Swords: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3 by George R.R. Martin
1008 pages *and audio*
published May, 2002

Synopsis from publisher:

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey, of House Lannister, sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall. But young Robb, of House Stark, still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Robb plots against his despised Lannister enemies, even as they hold his sister hostage at King's Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. 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....

But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is 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...

My thoughts:

I read the first few hundred pages in this novel, and decided I would try it in audio format instead - mainly because if I kept reading the physical copy, I felt like I would be reading it for 6 months! It's still a great read, but there is just SOOO much of it. I am happy with the switch to audio - the narrator is quite good, and does a remarkable job at giving each character a distinct voice. (Those of you familiar with the series know what a feat that is - this story has more characters than any I've ever read.) My only complaint is that now I REALLY don't want to go in to work after listening on my commute each morning. =)

Jan. 5 - Oh.my.jellybeans. I just finished The Red Wedding. I feel like I am stunned. Of all the things that I could have imagined happening, this was infinitely worse. I've long since let go of the idea that anything good will happen to these characters - this is not a "happily ever after" story by any means, but this.....

Something that has surprised me in this novel is just how much I am coming to like Jaime Lannister. I mean, he's still arrogant, and self-serving, and cruel;  but he's also funny, and strangely gentle, and the story behind how he came to be called Kingslayer was quite unexpected. Jaime and Tyrion Lannister are such complex characters - I really want to have more scenes with the two brothers together, because their chapters are quickly becoming some of my favorites.

And, of course, Dany. She is climbing to the top of my list of favorite female characters of all time. She is continually surprising, and wise beyond her years, and if she doesn't wind up being the queen of Westeros I will be very unhappy.

Jan. 22 - I think I am just going to give up trying to NOT be astounded at what comes next in this series. I thought I couldn't be more shocked than I was at the Red Wedding - and then came the epilogue, and WHAT?? WHO?? I was planning to hold off on the next two books until closer to the release date of the next in the series, but there is no way I can wait now.

Martin continues his pattern of holding no character sacred -  some of the biggest and baddest meet their demise before this novel is over. My husband reassures me that the bad guys are only getting out of the way so that REAL bad guys can take the stage - I can't wait!

There were a few things I found slightly strange in this novel - how many times do we have to hear that Brienne is ugly? And that Tyrion is disfugured? Really, I haven't forgotten from 20 pages ago. And would members of the nobility of Westeros really use the word "tummy"? Really? For some reason, that one word choice seemed so jarring that I literally noticed every time it was used.

There is an interesting discussion on the interwebs about whether or not Martin and his novels are misogynistic - I'm not a feminist scholar, so you can take my opinion with a whole spoonful of salt, but I don't think they are. The world he has created most definitely is, as are many (most) of the men who populate it. But the "traditional" female roles that should be held sacred are not the roles that are rewarded in Martin's story - the women who transgress those roles, who take the cards their lives deal them and work against the accepted norms are the women who find ways to succeed, and I for one am enjoying Martin's strong, unexpected female characters.

As I've said before, if you don't enjoy fantasy this series is not for you. It is most definitely for me, however, and I can't wait to see where Martin takes us next.

Finished: 1/22/12
Source: my shelves/Audible.com
MPAA rating: hard R
My rating: 9/10


bermudaonion said...

My son loves this series but I'm pretty sure it's not for me.

Zibilee said...

My husband is loving this series, and he keeps telling me that I will too, but I haven't had the time to pick up the first book yet. It is quite an investment, and I am not sure when I will be able to get to it. It certainly sounds interesting and complex though! Great thoughts on this one!

Lisa said...

This is a series I really want to read. All I need is a little spare time!