At this moment, I'm knee-deep in a work event that won't end for another few hours. Luckily Fernando agreed to help me fulfill today's post quota. We are temporarily moving Random Tuesday to Friday. In the meantime, here is a post in the on-going yet randomly occurring series of book reviews from Fernando, my webmaster/taste tester/getter of things on high shelves. He doesn't read a lot of novels, thus the title of the series. However, if he continues to enjoy the books he reads, I might turn him into a reader yet!
A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice & Fire #3)
George RR Martin
Bantam Books (2000)
1,100 pages is a big book by any measure. I have now read three of George RR Martin’s books. Each volume has built incredibly on the other, expanding the characters, plot and world of Westeros. If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know that I am a huge fan of the show and these books. That adoration seems to only have magnified after reading this book.
A Storm of Swords has a slight overlap with some of the events in its predecessor, A Clash of Kings. Having read the second book during a week-long vacation, I can say that helped me through some of the more verbose chapters. This book on the other hand I read over the course of a few weeks. The added time actually made the book far more enjoyable. In both the first and second books, I barely noticed the passing of time; the months that went by in the book actually did have the proper weight. Reading the third book over the course of several weeks really helped me digest the passing of time. I bring up this notion because the same thing plagues the TV show I enjoy so much. Part of the brilliance that I have been missing has been the true epic nature that the passing of time plays in the book.
Several characters evolve greatly over the course of this book. As I talk about some of the traits in these characters it is worth noting that the subtleties take time and happen over the entire coarse of the book that spans many, many months. There are mild spoilers a head. Nothing plot specific, but if you have not read the books or want to steer clear of spoilers for the show, consider yourself warned.
Jaime Lannister: skilled knight, incestuous, alpha male - all traits that the "King Slayer” has. Jaime has the largest transformation of the book. His journey as Brienne of Tarth's captive is an evolution. Week by week his morals, knightly honors and self-worth are all tested. By the end of his journey back home, Jaime actually begins to find a different kind of inner peace that he has never known or knew he wanted. It is a peace that is not found in Cerci's arms or in the heat of battle as some might expect. Instead he finds a new slate on which his history can continue.
Arya Stark continues her journey into the wild; however, her transformation is parallel with her new found maturity and ruthlessness. Arya has always been tenacious to a fault. Her bravery has always been shielded by her highborn birthright. "I'm a Stark of Winterfell," her cry and defense which has now completed eroded away in this book to a harsh truth: all men can die. Arya starts to understand that her limitations in strength and size can be overcome by stealth, guile and patience.
Danearys Targyren is beginning to amass her kingdom. Along her quest she has gained many new followers. Her new hoard gives the young Khaliesee people to protect, fight for and defend. Dany also discovers that the hole Khal Drogo left in her heart needs to be filled. Dany’s journey brings her to her own self-discovery and understanding of the things she must do in the name of justice and her quest to regain her realm.
As with the previous two books I enjoyed this novel beginning to end. Right now it is the best of the three books. Originally Martin had planned this book to be the end of the first of two trilogies. In that respect it ties up many of the previous books’ story lines. It also begins new mystical plot lines as magic deepens its hold on the world of Westeros.