It’s been two weeks since I finished reading the third installment of the A Song of Ice and Fire (ASoIaF) series, A Storm of Swords, and I’ve put off making a review ever since. Quite a time has passed, but I’m still in awe of what I’ve just read – by almost everything.
Well to start this post, I just want to say that making this review has not been easy. I would try to make this as spoiler-free as possible, but I cannot say, so I still need to warn whoever is reading this to watch out for them. It MIGHT spoil the fun.
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.. ~ via Goodreads
As per the ASoIaF tradition, the events in this book have been chronicled in the eyes of the characters. The tale was told through the POV of a total of 10 people: Jaime Lannister, Jon Snow, Catelyn Stark, Tyrion Lannister, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Bran Stark, Samwell Tarly, Davos Seawoth, Daenerys Targaryen. Plus two one-off characters, each during the Prologue and the Epilogue, Chett (a member of the Night’s watch) and Merett Frey (a member of the Frey Family), respectively.
I must say, the addition of Jaime and Sam’s POV has provided so much, at least for me – especially Jaime’s. A Lannister
always pays his debts POV is one thing
that I enjoy so much during the last two books (*coughs* Tyrion *coughs*), and
it has not failed me this time. With the POV of two Lannisters presented in
this book, it has been such a delight. It has comic relief, but on the other
hand, it also has this story. Reading into Jaime’s POV has made me understand
him better. And for reasons I can’t quite put out, I like him more than most of
the characters in the book now. He doesn’t care one bit how others see him,
which is quite sad because of the people he care about seem to think more of
what others think of them than what he feels in a world where everything you
show is being judged, especially when you’re the eldest son of the Lord of one
of the most powerful houses in the Kingdom. And his banters with Brienne! Oh
God, how I loved that. I am honestly shipping them so hard it’s not even funny.
Tyrion's POV as always has been my favorite, and is still not changing. Though Arya’s POV has also proven to be quite interesting – especially with her interactions with Gendry, and of course, the Hound. (Ship alert: Gendry x Arya). Bran’s was also interesting, especially in the later chapters. The little side/short story as told by Jojen Reed about the Dragon Prince and the Wolf Princess has provided me so much material for yet another formulation of my own theories. I’m quite excited, because I think I am guessing right, or even just close to it. But of course, you never know. It’s GRRM after all.
And just a side note, I don’t think I enjoyed Daenerys’ POV here. Well, except for that part where someone’s real identity was revealed to her in the later part of the book, I don’t think I appreciate every bit of thing she is doing in the free cities. I know that she is probably one of the most important leads in this series, but something was off with everything. I just don’t enjoyed her that much. The last time I think I was interested in her was in AGoT.
But surprisingly, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I honestly miss Theon. There’s so much that is revealed about him back in the last part of A Clash of Kings, that I’ve become somehow attached to the character. No matter how much of a douchebag everyone thinks he is, he has seriously grown on me.
I must say, reading this book has been such an emotional torture. People die, some survive. Those who deserves to die *evil laugh.jpg* from the very beginning has died, but then innocent people to whom I’ve invested so much also perished. This is one sort of a roller coaster ride where, as usual, you don’t know where everything is going – and when I say EVERYTHING, I mean it in the truest sense of the word.
When I think about, it seems the events in ACoK and AGoT just slowly built up to the climax of the story, which for me is A Storm of Swords (so far). The things that happened in this book were so crucial, that they drastically changed the game. “What game?” “The only game, the game of thrones” (I loved that line from Petyr Baelish). There’s so many things packed into this 1000+ paged book, that I think is the best book in the series so far. There’s no stopping with ASoIaF, it just keeps getting better and better book by book.
I made the mistake (again) of glimpsing into certain Wikis of A Song of Ice and Fire and I happen to read SO MANY spoilers on the way – even those that are so crucial and shocking, I hardly thought they would affect me when I actually read them again in the book. But even though I knew most of them beforehand, they still left me disturbed after I read them. There was this one time when I was in the later part of the book, I think it’s chapter 50, where one of the most painful event in the series happened – I can even say it WAS the most painful one so far (thinking about it now is still tearing me up), yeah, even more painful than Ned’s beheading and Bran’s goodbye to Maester Luwin. I swear I put off reading that, I think, for a week or two. I just can’t bring myself to. Because I fear for the emotional trauma that it could possibly bring me. But thankfully, I get by it nice and whole. Seriously, after I read that chapter, I put it down and stopped reading it for about a long time, because I just wanted to rest my mind and my feelings if just for a bit. (
And that, my friends,
is one of the reasons why I’ve read this book for such a long period of time.)
What’s amazing with George R.R. Martin is his ability to make an event so full of suspense. It’s gradual, but you can feel it building up. Like in ASoS, you know that there’s something coming up, something dreadful or perhaps something big, when there’s this alternating POV of those who are present in the event. When that happens, be prepared. Because it might leave you thunderstruck and speechless for a moment, or even an hour (in my case, yeah, happened several times XD).
There were moments when I just sit in my bed, staring into space because I can’t believe what just happened. And there were also moments when I was screaming like crazy because of how happy I am or something that came up. But most of the time, I am in awe – absolutely amazed, on how a very beautiful story was woven. Web after web, tangled up in one ball. That’s what ASoIaF is.
So much is revealed in A Storm of Swords, that even make A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings less revealing than they already are. I especially wanted to note the last chapter of the book. Something very important was revealed. Up until now, I am still confused and I don’t exactly know what I’m feeling about it. Heck, I don’t even know how to react to it. It changed how I viewed the whole book and all the events that led all of them up to that point – and a major player was revealed. Those who you think are the ones responsible were truthfully not, and those who you think are outsiders or even so just have little hand in events, were truthfully now. In their world, everything is not what they seem. In a world where deceit and politics is almost everything, watching these revelations unfold bit by bit is just PRICELESS.
I’m a goner for ASoIaF. The characterization was so layered. The foreshadowing was fantastic. It’s realistic. It doesn’t embrace convention. I don’t think any book series have affected me this much (
and I’ve read
Harry Potter and the Hunger Games, mind you). After months of reading this book, I’m glad
to say that I finally finished it whole. I struggled through 1000+ pages, but
it is really worth my time.
“Always keep your foes confused. If they are never certain who you are or what you want, they cannot know what you are like to do next. Sometimes the best way to battle them is to make moves that have no purpose, or even seem to work against you. Remember that Sansa, when you come to play the game.”“What... what game?” [Sansa]“The only game... the game of thrones.”~ Petyr Baelish“Why ask for truth, if you close your ears to it.” ~ Barristan Selmy“...the more we bleed each other, the weaker we shall all be when the real enemy falls upon us.” ~ Stannis Baratheon
This has been part of my 2012 Reading Challenge. Currently the 10th book I’ve read this year. And part of The Lit Bitch’s A Song of Ice and Fire Reading Challenge. This is the 3rd book of the series.