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Song of Ice and Fire III: A Storm of Swords

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Author: George R. R. Martin / Genre: Sci-Fi / Fantasy

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    5 Reviews
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      05.07.2012 17:23
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      A brilliant third installment to A Song of Ice and Fire

      The third novel in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, A Storm of Swords continues where A Clash of Kings left off. The saga is set in the medieval world of Westeros, and following the death of King Robert Baratheon in the first novel, the Seven Kingdoms have been at war, with four kings declaring themselves the true king.

      The main characters of the series are the Stark family. Robb Stark, the eldest son of Catelyn and Ned, has declared himself King in the North following the execution of his father by Joffrey, Robert's heir. His brothers and sisters are scattered throughout the Seven Kingdoms, each in danger and fighting their own war. The narrators are the Stark family, including Ned's bastard son Jon Snow, along with Daenerys (Dany) Targaryen, the last of the dynasty overthrown by Robert, who is raising an army over the sea to reclaim her throne; Tyrion Lannister, the Imp, brother to Robert's queen, Cersei; Davos, a knight in the service of Stannis Baratheon, brother of Robert who has declared himself his brother's true heir.

      The first thing to note about A Storm of Swords is that it is a long book. It is so long that it is available in two parts. The previous two novels were hardly short, but A Storm of Swords takes the term "epic" and runs with it.

      The story flows so seamlessly from A Clash of Kings, the preceeding novel, that it is hard to separate A Storm of Swords as another book. Events move on of course, and there is more excitement and heartache for the Stark family. In A Clash of Kings we are led to believe that family members have died, yet we learn that this is not the case - although other characters do not. You might hope that after that, the Stark family would have some respite from tragedy, what with the death of Ned in the first novel, but this is a saga about war in a medieval world, and so of course no one is safe. There was actually a point when I thought I might not want to continue if Martin kept killing off characters, but of course I did - I can't expect novels to run exactly as I want them to, and this is not the type of novel where you are guaranteed a happy ending. Indeed, given the state of affairs in Westeros, happy endings seem likely to be thin on the ground.

      One change that I noticed while reading A Storm of Swords was that I was no longer sure who the bad guys were. There are the obvious ones, such as Cersei and Joffrey, but other characters start to become blurred round the edges. I had begun to grudgingly like Tyrion in A Clash of Kings, and this continued in A Storm of Swords. He may be a Lannister, and his main aim is furthering his family's position, but he is also a good man, and cannot be wholly disliked; he's also an amusing character and fun to follow. His brother Jaime has not been present for much of the action of the earlier novels, but was talked about often by other characters. In A Storm of Swords he becomes a leading character and narrator, and turns out to be not the ultimate bad guy he had seemed. Although I couldn't yet say that I like him, it is not easy to hate him as I feel I should.

      This ambiguity of characters "sides" as it were is testament to Martin's skill as a writer. His world of Westeros is beautifully complete, his storytelling is superb, and his tale completely absorbing; now he starts playing with the readers emotions, making us question what we thought we knew and felt, and making us doubt our assumptions about characters.

      I read A Storm of Swords in one installment, but you can choose to split it if you feel daunted by its size. It is another stunning addition to the saga of A Song of Ice and Fire, and fans won't be disappointed. As always though, I would urge new readers to start at the beginning with A Game of Thrones - this is not a series you can miss anything of.

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      22.08.2007 17:33
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      Brilliant writing, the best of the series so far.

      Finally - getting somewhere! The first two ASOIAF books didn't enthrall me much 0 good story but just felt like the bad guys always won.... now at last the action moves wider.

      We see forays into the North beyond the Wall, the Lands beyond the Summer Sea, and new kings and usurpers appearing. Smaller characters have their own voice, vendettas are settled or made, and questions you had from earlier books are answered, whilst new ones pop up.

      This book grips til the end - if only GRRM could keep up with publishing them as quickly!

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        22.12.2002 21:28
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        A Storm of swords is a worthy followup to its two predecessors. Like them, its written from several viewpoints. As there;s alot of political intrigue and plotting in the story, this makes things rather interesting. At the start you know that Catelyn, mother to King Robb Stark, has released an enemy on condition that he gets her daughters released from captivity. She thinks her two youngest sons are dead. But you know from her daughter Arya's point of view that she's already escaped, and so you also get to see things from her supposedly dead son Bran's viewpoint. Each character enables you to see only what he or she sees, so many events come as a complete suprise. The political power is now squarely in the hands of the lannisters, family of young King Joffrey and rivals to the starks. What neither family is aware of is that the wildings beyond the wall in the north are preparing to attack, the vanquished queen of dragons is raising an army of her own, and King stannis, aided by a sinister priestess, has his own plans. Suffice to say, there are enough battles and machinations to keep even Richard III happy! Whats great about Martins's writing is that his characters dont autumatically know what's wrong and what's right, and their motives are often quite complex. All to often novels and films are tedious because you know who the goods guys are, that there self-sacfrificing and they are going to win. Although the Starks are presented as the best option in these books, their victory is uncertain. Plus martin's not afraid to hurt people you like. Other seemingly irredeemable characters show a merciful side - although they may well be plotting for the future. If the people they interacting arent sure then neither are you. This is a complex story, so its best to read both earlier volumes. But dont let coming to late in the series put u offl A song of Ice and Fire looks like being one of the great fantasy series!

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        15.11.2000 01:32

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        Song of Ice and Fire Written by George R.R. Martin Synopsis Beyond bringing back a few lost for dead characters, and totally ignoring certain major characters from previous books, there is little to be said for "Storm of Swords". We get a lot of Jaime the Kingslayer, who it seems is not the evil sod he was made out to be. Self-interested, perhaps, but not evil. Note - this is NOT a spoiler. We've learned a lot about King Aegon, but he probably won't pop up in the next book! :) The problem with the book is this: by the end all the major plot threads are tied up - the 4 Kings, and so on. But the minor conflicts are unresolved - there is no climax or "end" as such. It all kind of peters out, that's all. Review Martin is the best writer of modern Fantasy fiction - his works are vastly superior to those of Eddings and Feist. However, he sometimes glosses over things the same way they do. Let us examine the world that Martin shows us. The wall is apparently 700 feet high. A single storey of a building is 10 feet; most apartment blocks are less than 20 storeys [200 feet]. Yet Wildlings on the ground can shoot up at [and hit!] people on top of the wall, 700 feet above!!! A lot of things in this book seem slotted into the Universe. For example, a song called The Rains of Castamere plays an important part in the third book. Because it was never mentioned in the earlier books, it gets many, many references in this one. The book is very open-ended. At least 3 of those presumed dead in Book #2 are alive in Book #3 - which means that those presumed dead in Book #3 may be back for book #4! lcoulson@gcfn.org (Lori Coulson) wrote: >How long should we wait to do spoilers? Until the book comes out in the US? It's not out in the US? Jeez! murgen@att.net (Randall Miyashiro) wrote: >I consider ASOS his be
        st novel to date. I preferred ACOK, actually. ASOS is too .. unfinished. OTOH, I only just found out that there is a 4th volume in the writing - which explains quite a bit! :) I thought the series was meant to be a trilogy: now it's a never-ending mountain of books like the heel of time! :) Game of Thrones was written as Book 1 of a Trilogy. Clash of Kings was written as Book 2 of a 4-part series. Storm of Swords was written as Book 3 of a 6-part series. Dance of Dragons will be written as Book 4 of the series. It will be set 5-6 years after the end of Storm of Swords.

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        11.09.2000 22:00
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        This is the latest in Geroge R. R. Martin's groundbreaking A Song of Ice and Fire series. And a great book it is too. The book follows on directly from the events in A Clash of Kings and manages to keep the level of tension high and dramatic. In effect this is a turn back towards the first book in the series with a lot more fast paced action and quick moving plot. The great thing about Martin's books are the way that he will sacrifice characters, and not to give anything away, let's just say Eddard Stark's is not the last major character to go bye byes. Battles come and go and the events in Westeros sweep by leaving not only the characters in a wake of surprise, but the readers as well. Martin stands out from recent offerings by other fantasy authors (Robert Jordan for example) by actually resolving plot threads and introducing new ones but only when others have been resolved. In this book the world is pulled deeper into the realm of magic, and there is a shift of focus further North to events taking place at the Wall. There's less intrigue in this book, but in a way this reduction is necessary for the surging forward of the plot. Once again Martin manages to make you feel sorry for almost all of the characters while at the same time realising that none of them have been innocent. The stark (no pun intended) reality of the previous books returns once again. All in all a definitive thumbs up for this book, and we didn't have to wait half so long for it. Also, the book is just over 900 pages of text. Brill!

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