Book review – ‘A Storm of Swords, I: Steel and Snow’ by George R.R. Martin

This review is for the first part of the third book in a series and may therefore contain spoilers for the preceding books. For my review of book one please see ‘A Game of Thrones’ and for book two, ‘A Clash of Kings’.

Rating: 5/5 stars

“Winter approaches Westeros like an angry beast. The Seven Kingdoms are divided by revolt and blood feud. In the northern wastes, a horde of hungry, savage people steeped in the dark magic of the wilderness is poised to invade the Kingdom of the North where Robb Stark wears his new-forged crown. And Robb’s defences are ranged against the South, the land of the cunning and cruel Lannisters, who have his younger sisters in their power. Throughout Westeros, the war for the Iron Throne rages more fiercely than ever, but if the Wall is breached, no king will live to claim it.”

From the fickle, nothing to do with the book but matters anyway viewpoint, this book was more comfortable to read than the earlier two. Part of me wonders if my hands are just getting better at stretching around a tonne of pages but I know that it’s that this instalment is shorter than the earlier parts due to the whole book being split… I’m still not complaining as anything that stops the cramps when reading is a good thing! I also got what I think is a newer cover and it’s quite different to designs I had previously encountered, showing a photograph of a building on a cliff. I really, really dislike this cover design and feel that it’s not really right for the style of book. I mean, it doesn’t really matter but on some level the design does matter and yeah, I’ll talk about the actual writing now, shall I?

Something that really struck me in this book is how my interest has changed course. To start with, the Night’s Watch bits really didn’t catch my imagination but, of course, they were leading up to this point. As the war wages on in the south sinister things are afoot the northern side of the wall and things were genuinely rather creepy at times.

I said, in my review of ‘A Clash of Kings’ that I was having some (negligible) issues with some of the point of views. Davos has really grown on me, probably because his situation was more human as opposed to military in this book and I found it easier to associate with. Theon’s not here so no problems there. The two main new POVs in this novel (that I can think of off the top of my head!) are Jaime and Sam and, frankly, I loved both of them. Jaime was what one would expect of the character but allowed us to see behind the façade and also to see the development of him through the book. Sam was quite unexpected, for me, as he really allowed you to see the things that had previously been experienced through Jon’s eyes from a totally different angle. 

The ending, as always, wasn’t an ending at all. I mean, I guess you can justify it with this one as it’s technically the first half of one book but seriously… the suspense at the end of these novels. I suppose that’s part of the charm, the books aren’t stories but chronicles of a ‘history’ and, like all histories, it isn’t obviously episodic. 

I have a physical copy of this book but, as always, a kindle version is also available.

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