I finally finished the third instalment of A Song of Ice and Fire series – A Storm of Swords. It is a huge book; it has a total of 1,216 pages (US Paperback). It is so long that in UK it was split in half and in France it was cut into four separate editions.
The opening of this book slightly overlaps with the ending of the previous book. The seven kingdoms are still in the grip of war. The players for the Iron Throne have reduced. The war is mainly between House Lannister, Stannis Baratheon and Robb Stark. Daenerys Targaryen is still in the free cities, gathering strength to take over the Iron throne. Meanwhile at the wall and beyond, things are not going so well. Black Castle is not as strong as it once was, Lord Commander along with most of the able brothers have gone to investigate the disappearance of Benjen Stark and the increasing threat from wildings. Jon Snow is now a double agent. We also get to witness the cold undead “Others”.
In this book Jaime Lannister becomes a POV character, which would mean he is no longer a bad character. His parts are interesting, we get to know Jaime Lannister and understand why he does the things that he does. I think Devos was the most uninteresting bit even though he gave a view into Stannis Baratheon . Catelyn’s moping was also a bit excessive; it could have been trimmed down. There is hardly any progress in Bran’s case, I was expecting something major happening to him. Tyrion still continues to be the most interesting character. The Wall and Jon Snow is the second most interesting bit.
I am trying to keep this review spoiler free, George R.R. Martin is undoubtedly a fantastic storyteller. Most of the characters, both heroes and villains, straddle the line between good and evil, and come out as grey. I hope we still are hoping for a House Stark win, but chances seem slim. Martin surely likes to kill of characters, first there was Eddard Stark, there is some unexpected, surprising killings in this book. The Red Wedding especially is haunting. Even though this book is lengthy, the pace is good most of the time and things remain interesting. There are some major events in this book and some surprises towards the ending.
I am not going to pick up the next book – A Feast for Crows any time soon because I there are lots of other book in my reading list.
On related news, one of the major reasons for starting A Song of Ice and Fire series was the HBO show The Game of Thrones. The second season of Game of Thrones is going to air on April 1 and it is based on the second book – A Clash of Kings. Checkout the awesome trailer below –