Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin

Title:  A Storm of Swords
Author:  George R. R. Martin
Pages:  1261
Genre:  Fiction, fantasy
Source:  Kindle - Personal copy
Why I picked it up:  This is another recommendation from Dennis - I'm working my way through the series!

I've been slowly pecking away at this series after Dennis got me hooked last year!  I have no desire to go straight through the series because 1) I hate doing that - I get bored, 2) the books are loooong, and 3) the author hasn't written the whole series yet... so what's the rush?

Side note - this review officially catches me up!  Yay me!  So nice to be back on track.

The books are long, but they are so worth it.  There's so much to love about this series.  Fantastic writing, great characters, a setting that is fantastical yet not too far out there.

I think that last characteristic is something that I love the most.  The book mostly feels like it's set in the 1600's.  Europe.  Then something whacky happens, and you're like "oh yeah, this is a fantasy novel.".  I like this element because there's so much familiarity, yet elements that are completely foreign.  If you don't typically read "fantasy", I think you need to give this series a shot.  There are not elves and wizards at every turn.  There are subtle things that make it fantasy throughout, then every once in a while there is some big stuff that make it fantasy.

This paragraph may technically contain a spoiler.  So skip if you're so inclined.  I respect an author who isn't afraid to kill off characters.  It's no big secret that Martin does this.  I was browsing the web and find a side-by-side of Martin and Rowling.  The caption under Rowling said something like "I find it so hard to kill a main character." and the caption under Martin said "You're adorable."  Don't get me wrong, it's depressing when your favorite character dies, but it makes for suspenseful reading.  How many times have you been going through a book, a main character gets into a sticky situation, but you keep thinking to yourself "this person can't die.  They're the whole story!"?  To Martin, everyone is fair game.  It makes for very exciting reading!

In my opinion, the characters are the greatest strength of this series.  I wouldn't say that each character has a distinct voice, although they are certainly different.  The characters are deeply imaginative.  They are all different and interesting.

I love Tyrion.  He's my absolute favorite.  I love him in the books, and I think Peter Dinklage is doing an amazing job in the HBO series.  (We don't have cable, so we're a season behind.  Netflix!)  In a family that values power by force, he's had to make his own way.  He doesn't fit the Lannister mold.  His father or siblings are not dull-witted in any way, but Tyrion is certainly the wittiest and most clever of them all.  He has had to rely on it.  He's a slippery character because I always am convinced he can talk his way out of any situation.

My runner-up is Arya.  She's one tough kid.  Her circumstances are making for one jaded adolescent.  She's been through a lot.

I'm anxious to get Daenerys to a different setting.  I feel like the story is happening in one place, and she's somewhere else entirely.  Okay, that is not just how I feel, it's what's actually happening.  When I get to her chapters I feel like the story is not progressing enough for me.

Which brings me to Bran.  Am I the only one who just does not enjoy reading from the point of view of Bran?  Does it get better?

I loved book 3.  Can't wait to see what book 4 has in store!  But first a break because I hate reading a series straight through.  I do it rarely because I know myself.  :)

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