Monday, July 2, 2012

Book Review: A Storm of Swords

Don't worry. No spoilers here.
     I just finished reading A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin. The book is the third in his A Song of Fire and Ice series made popular by the HBO series 'A Game of Thrones.'
     This book picks up where the second season (which was based on book two, Clash of Kings) left off. I'd read the first two books and loved them, so naturally I was eager to start the third. I was soon disappointed by the slow going and almost gave up. As I said, the pace was frustratingly slow (much like the first 100 pages of A Game of Thrones), but I stuck with it because I'd already committed so much time to the series. Well, I'm glad I did.
     After a few hundred pages, the story went from zero to sixty faster than funny car on nitrous oxide. Every other chapter, I was saying things to myself like, "No way!" and "I don't believe it!"
     This is when the reader is reminded why this series is so popular. Martin breaks all the rules when it finally hits the fan. If you've read many books or watched a lot of movies, you can usually see a plot twist coming a mile away. Not here. This book took me completely by surprise not once, but several times. And I enjoyed every minute of it. I promised no spoilers and will stay true to my word, but I will say that this book is like the other two in this: No one is safe.
     What a great read! As soon as I finished the book, I immediately gave it to my wife to start. She's seen the first two seasons of A Game of Thrones, but hasn't read the books. Luckily, she should be okay since the show stayed very true to the literature aside from a few side details.
     In case you can't tell, I highly recommend this book.

I give it four and half swords  * * * * 1/2. It would have been five, but having to slog through several hundred pages of boredom to get to the good stuff had to be addressed. If you take that out, it would be one of the best books I've ever read. Maybe it is anyway.

     PS: I'm a little wary about starting the next book, A Feast for Crows. The reviews for it are less than stellar and most have the same complaint: Too slow and boring. The most recent book 'A Dance with Dragons' has received similar critiques.
    Being a slow reader, (it took me weeks...okay read A Storm of Swords) I don't know if I want to invest as much time in the next books. I may just find a synopsis of them on the net to stay up to speed and wait for The Winds of Winter.

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