It took me quite a while to read the third volume of A Song of Ice and Fire because I chose to read the version split into two paperbacks, making it easier to carry around and also enabling me to take a little break half way through. And I honestly needed the break because this is one of the most epic books I've ever read. It's by far the best of the series and there's no way I can gush about how fantastic it is without mentioning spoilers, so consider yourself warned!
So many dramatic events take place - it's like Martin spent books one and two building up to this epic, clearing the decks type of story. By the end of the second paperback there was a game-changing event in practically every chapter and I was completely and utterly hooked. I read the last 250 pages in one night, staying up much later than I should have done but I honestly could not put it down. Reading the book made me feel happy, angry, frustrated, shocked and amazed all at once.
The most shocking event was of course Robb's death during the Red Wedding. It was at this point that I realised that George R.R. Martin's world really isn't a safe one for any character, even one that the author seemed to have been grooming to be the eventual winner all along. It's been a while since I've felt actual anger at the direction a story was taking (I put the book down and complained to my husband, who has already read it) and it's a sign of how involved I was in the story. Up until that point, I had thought Martin was working towards the Starks being the eventual victors, but now I'm not so sure. The realisation that any of my favourite characters could be next in line for the axe made the story seem much more real and immediate.
After Robb's death, there were many other deaths but I was a bit desensitised. I wasn't expecting Joffrey to actually die and will miss him in an I-loved-to-hate-him way, he was such a great villain. Likewise I wasn't expecting Jaime to lose a hand or Tywin Lannister to be murdered. I knew Littlefinger was not to be trusted, but the last chapters at Eyrie revealed just how sinister and calculating he is. And the ending with Catelyn was unexpected to say the least!
One thing I admire about George R.R. Martin is how he can make me completely revise my opinion on a character by offering their point of view. In books one and two I thought there was nothing likeable about Jaime but through his story-line with Brienne he actually became one of my favourites. Likewise the Hound. I'm still not keen on the Wall story-lines (although I do like Jon) and was secretly hoping Mance Ryder and the wildlings would win as that would have been more interesting. Daenerys is an interesting character but I'm getting impatient for her to actually arrive in Westeros so her plot can link with the others.
It'll be interesting to see where Martin goes in the next book as the wars of the five Kings are well and truly over, with all but Stannis dead. I have a feeling the pace will slow and the story will start to build up again before reaching a crescendo like this one in a few books time.
Verdict: I haven't loved a book like I loved this one for a long time.
Source: Personal copy
Score: 5 out of 5
If you said this is very good it must be really good! I can't quite pin down the genre of this book, is it fantasy? because I am not good with Games of thrones and likes.ReplyDelete
It is fantasy but it's mainly about political intrigue and human elements of the story, with some fantasy bits alongside. I'm not a massive fantasy fan but I'm loving this series :)Delete
I loved this book so much despite throwing it against the wall when Robb was killed. And I'm totally with you on the hating Jaime until his perspective was revealed. But don't be getting too excited about the ending of the war - you never know what can happen!!ReplyDelete
I wanted to throw it against the wall too!Delete
It's true, you never know with George Martin - characters aren't dead for sure until you see the bodies (I thought Arya was dead at one point), and even then they could come back to life (Catelyn!).
After such a great review... I guess I should get these books. EVERYONE keeps telling me too... Ugh.ReplyDelete
They are fun, but only if you actually want to read them! :PDelete
I've only read half the first book in the series so far, but you can't be a tumblr user and not be majorly spoiled about it, so I knew all of this. And still, I'm likely to put off reading this book until I'm sure can cope with Robb's death (that is to say, never). Oh, well. It is a great series from what I've heard, I'm glad you're enjoying it.ReplyDelete
It's a shame you're spoiled for Robb's death because it's such a shocker. I knew about what happens at the end of book one before reading it and it did lose a bit of power. But I'm sure you'll still love the books, they are awesome :)Delete
Oh my god, ROBB'S DEATH. What?!?! As you said, NOBODY IS SAFE. Except for Bran and Arya right, because I JUST CAN'T HANDLE THEIR DEATHS. Or Danaerys. But they just can't die, because it wouldn't make sense. RIGHT?! By which I mean to say, yes, these books are ridiculously addictive and GRRM is GREAT at using POV. Because Jaime is totally relatable as soon as he stops being an asshole and sometimes even while he's being an asshole.ReplyDelete
As for the pacing...I think it is (intentionally or not) supposed to be like a chess game: everyone spends a lot of time slowly and carefully getting into position and then BEHOLD the carnage.
Hmmm...I don't mind Arya but I find Bran incredibly annoying and almost wish it was him dead instead of Robb. I'm sick of reading about his third eye and mysterious crows - nothing actually happens in his POV!Delete
I have my theories about where Martin is going but I'm one book ahead of you so I'll reserve my opinion until you catch up. You're in for a treat with A Feast for Crows. It's a quirky novel in comparison, but good nonetheless. Enjoy!ReplyDelete
Can't wait to discuss theories, that's surely part of the joy of books like this. I'm expecting Feast for Crows to be slower, but I'm sure I will still enjoy it.Delete
I have enjoy this sagas very much. And yes, A storm of swords is the most epic one, and you just feel shocked after finishing it. The Red Wedding make you say What?? This can't be happening!!ReplyDelete
The next two are a little bit slower but interesting anyway.
I'm also looking forward to seeing Daenerys in Westeros, when will it happen??? It's been a long wait ;)
I am not the kind of person whose jaw drops easily (not even in case of Martin), but I must admit, as a result of the Red Wedding, I had to pick it up from the floor :pReplyDelete
I was indifferent towards Jamie L based on his appearance in the first book(s), but since he got his own point of view, he has become very interesting and one of my favourite characters.
Glad you are enjoying Martin! :)