Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Storm of Swords [Book Review]

#3 in Song of Ice and Fire saga
Paperback, Trade paperback Reissue, 1177 pages
Published May 28th 2002 by Bantam Spectra
ISBN: 0553381709
Find on Goodreads
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:
This one definitely reigns supreme in the three that I have read so far. I wasn't very far into the book when I watched Season 3, but after seeing the Red Wedding, I went into turbo mode, determined to finish this one and I made record time. Pretty much a week of active reading.

My favorite point-of-views this time were Tyrion and Jaime. I like Daenarys for the first half, but her chapters got slower in the second half. I love how the characters all cross paths or nearly cross paths throughout the book. This one was packed with TONS of events, very detrimental events to the storyline.

Big events in this book included:
and not in chronological order...

[highlight to see giant spoiler:- The three horn soundings started this book off with a bang, although there wasn't really much more about the Others in the book, other than Samwell killing the one.
- Brienne swore to bring Jaime to King's Landing and return her daughters safely. I absolutely love the back-and-forth banter. I think I liked Jaime right off the bat when reading his POV. It is very hard to hear him speak so highly of his sister when she's sleeping with anything that'll get her ahead. The scenes of with that nasty dude Vargo Hoat and the bear trap are just as good in the book. The tub scene with Brienne is so sad. I like him and Brienne and how they play off each other. It's such a bummer when he returns to KL that he tries to go for Cersei again and joins the Kingsguard.
- Davos Seaworth is my least favorite POV and I almost want to skip over them, but I know I'd be confused if I did. I don't like Stannis and I especially don't like Lady Melisandre. He washes up on shore, goes back to Stannis, is thrown in jail, learns to read from Stannis' daughter, is made hand of the king. Lady Melisandre does some creepy leech stuff. Blech. Stannis ends up heeding the call of the Wall and aids the Crows in fighting off the Wildlings.
- Jorah in the books and the show annoys me as well. He's such a creeper. It doesn't surprise me that he was the spy and I'm hoping Dany sticks to her exile of him.
- I started off liking Varys in this book and then went to not liking him at the end. Shae is very unlikeable in the books for me and that didn't change.
- Olenna Tyrell, grandmother of Margarey and Loras Tyrell, is the sassiest, most hilarious granny ever. She's probably one of my favorite characters in the series. They cast her well in the show. Although in the books, Sansa is promised to Willas, not Loras. It was sad for it to fall through.
- Robb marries a pretty girl and betrays the Frays, but Late Walder Frey is such a dickhead anyways that he'd do anything to screw someone else over as long as he's on the winning side. Including going completely against their traditions towards guests at the wedding of Edmure Tully to one of his daughters. Bad things are coming his way and I cannot wait. Obviously, the Late Walder Frey joins up with the Lannisters and Roose Bolton and slaughters the Northmen, including Robb and Catelynn and Grey Wind. In the book, Catelynn threatens to kill his handicapped son, which he still doesn't give a crap about. And Jeyne Westerling is not present at the wedding because Catelynn advises it is not wise to rub his wife in Frey's face.
- Arya is "taken" by the Brotherhood without Banners. At some point, Sandor Clegane "The Hound" is also taken. He fights Lord Beric who has been brought back to life countless times. They let the Hound go and when Arya makes a run for it, he snatches her up to bring her to the Twins on the day of the Red Wedding. When they realize something is wrong, Arya tries to take action, but Sandor knocks her out. Arya ends up having a wolf dream, where Nymeria pulls Catelyn's body out of the river. This is the first time you really are told Nymeria is indeed alive. But it was so sad. They run into some of the Lannister's men and the Hound is wounded badly. Arya leaves him to die and finds a ship to sail to Braavos, since she has nothing left in Westeros (except her sister in the hands of the Lannisters and Jon up on the Wall). There is a fake Arya who is being taken to Roose Bolton's bastard son to be wed, so they can secure the north.
- Sansa is quickly becoming one of my more favorite POVs to read. In ASOS, she becomes unbetrothed to Joffrey, wed to Tywin, accused of murder, but luckily smuggled away by Petyr Baelish away to where he meets up with Lysa. Petyr and Lysa have a shotgun wedding and they head back to the Eyrie. Lysa tries to arrange Sansa to marry her son (and Sansa's cousin) - which is so many levels of disgusting. Lysa is cruel as all get out and talks horribly about Sansa's late mother. Petyr gains super creeper status and kisses Sansa even though she pushes him away. Lysa sees this and tries to kill Sansa. Petry talks her down and then pushes Lysa through the Moon door. #hellyeah I am sad about her being separated from Tyrion, who whilest he is a Lannister, has kept her safe. I do NOT trust Petyr. Oh and he says that Lysa poisoned Jon Arryn and blamed it on the Lannisters.
- Speaking of Sansa's husband, he is no longer hand of the king, but now master of coin. Joffrey is poisoned at his wedding in an argument with Tyrion and Cersei immediately points the finger at him and he is thrown in jail. Tyrion is betrayed by Varys and Shae. Oberyn Martell is the only person willing to vouch for Tyrion and he has a trial by duel. Oberyn and Gregor Clegane duel. It looks like Oberyn will win for Tyrion, but he is ultimately killed. Gregor is mortally wounded and has a horrible infection and not expected to make it. Varys helps Tyrion escape through the tunnels - he ends up killing Tywin on the crapper (well played, Martin) and Shae who is restrained to Tywin's bed.
- Joffrey's death is pinned on so many people. Sansa & Tyrion, Olenna (Petyr mentioned her messing with Sansa's hair net that had a stone to kill Joffrey in it - said he planted the idea for Margarey to wed Tommen), and Oberyn (in Dorne law, Myrcella would be next in line for the crown and she is in Dorne). My personal opinion is it was Lady Melisandre - since Balon and Robb are dead.
- Bran and Jon's chapters were so boring. Bran is a warg and on his way north of the wall to find the 3-eyed crow. Jon does what Quorin Halfhand asks and kills him to gain the Wildings' trust. He, Ygritte, and more Wildings climb the Wall and plan to attack the wall. Jon gets away and heads to the Wall. He helps defend the Wall against the Wildling attack until Stannis shows up. He is made Lord Commander of the Wall (thanks to Samwell).
- Samwell is really wishy-washy until the attack on Craster at Craster's Keep that leads to everyone losing their mind. He takes Gilly and her newborn son and escape. They run into Bran momentarily and hand off some dragonglass. Then he heads back to the wall with Gilly.
- Oh! And Catelyn is a zombie (not an Other) come back to life to avenge her family's deaths.

Major Deaths: Hoster Tully, Catelyn, Robb, Balon Greyjoy, Lord Commander Mormont, Craster, Maester Ludwin, Joffrey Baratheon, Oberyn Martell, Tywin Lannister, Ygritte, Lysa, and Shae.

Previous Review:
The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch [here]

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