Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.

- Graycie Harmon

Friday, May 13, 2011

Book Review: A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

Sorry this post is so very late. Blogger was having issues and I couldn't log in until now. To make it up to you, there is a book review and today's Forgotten English.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I put down this book for many, many months when I was about halfway through. I'm ashamed to say that I picked it up again only after starting to watch HBO's A Game of Thrones, the TV series based on the first book. In my defence, I was knee deep in several projects at the time I laid aside this book, and had very little spare time.

I remedied this oversight a fortnight ago, and I'm very glad that I did.

This is by far the best of the three books I've read thus far. There are some things that happen that really, really upset me (Spoiler Alert: Robb Stark). There are other things that really, really pleased me (Spoiler Alert: Jon Snow, Arya and (major spoiler) Cat Stark).

The fact that I so quickly became so deeply emotionally involved in this story after such a long time away from it is a tribute to George R.R. Martin - the finest tribute I think I can possibly offer.

His world lacks the complexity or cultural/anthropological genius that I so much admire in Steven Erikson, however the world is rich and vibrant and still very much alive. The characters are thoroughly believable and, so very importantly, many-faceted.

Characters I despised throughout the first two books have grown on me. A good sign. Characters I thought were brave and noble turned out to be rather foolish, really, and prideful. Another great sign.

Sufficed to say, a very solid four stars. If Goodreads would allow it, I'd have given 4.5 stars.

Oh, and one more piece of advice for those considering or currently reading this book: read the Epilogue. You won't be sorry.


Originally, a rhyme or piece of poetry used in charming and killing rates. The term... came to mean halting metres, doggerel, a tirade of nonsense.
- David Donaldson's Supplement to Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary, 1887

The fanciful idea that rats were commonly rhymed to death, in Ireland, arose probably from some metrical charm or incantation used there for that purpose.
- Rober Nares' Glossary [of] the Works of English Authors, 1859

Rhime them to death, as they do Irish rats/ In drumming tunes.
- Ben Jonson's Poetaster, 1601.

Edit to add: If anyone from blogger is reading this, Thursday's post is missing. Kindly put it back.


James said...

I've just finished re-reading A Storm of Swords (in preparation for the release of A Dance With Dragons in July), and I agree that it is the best book in the series so far. You're right that it's the charcaters that make George R. R, Martin's novels so compelling. Jon, Arya and Tyrion are my favourite of the point of view characters, but I have built up an emotional attachment to all of them, and I really seem to care about their fates (a dangerous thing to do, as none of the characters are 'safe' in this series).

S.M. Carrière said...

You're very right. If you haven't ever watched the 80's TV series Beauty and the Beast which George R.R. Martin was heavily involved in, one might not be familiar with his tendency to kill off characters that one had grown attached to.

You can ask my flatemate about my reaction when I read what happened to Robb Stark. I was not impressed, and I stormed around the flat fuming at Mr. Martin for days.

I think that is a sign of well-crafted characters. I hope that people would become so attached to the characters I create.

I'm also very excited to read Dance of Dragons. I'm also a little nervous (and happy to note that my favourite characters will be returning to POV, characters which were almost entirely missing in the last book, namely Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister).

Yeah - I'm a little too attached...