Book Reviews

Book Review (re-edit): A storm of Swords, by George R. R. Martin. 2000. Book 3 in the Game of Thrones series.

A Storm of Swords, authored by George R. R. Martin begins with five kings battling for the right to the Iron Throne, whilst long lost magic’s are slowly reawakening. The story picks up a little before the ending of the previous book, A Clash of Kings, and opens in a Prologue of Men at the Nights Watch, “brothers”, devoted to protecting the realm of the Seven Kingdoms from dangers beyond the too foot wall, marking the end of the civilized world.
The prologue sets the tone for the rest of the book, defined by death, dark magic, and gut wrenching tragedy; yet even this does not prepare you for some of the pages that follow. We are reintroduced to characters known to us previously, but in a new light as many of them now given their own point of view. Most notably Jaime Lannister, a lethal swordsman, secret father of King Joffrey born as a result of the incestuous union between himself and his twin sister Cersei. Until this point Jaime Lannister has been one of the worst enemies of the Stark family, however, A storm of Swords provides an intriguing insight into his actions and motives, somehow worming his way into most people’s empathetic side.

Other chapters in the book are told through the eyes of the Stark children Arya, Bran, and Sansa and their bastard born brother Jon Snow, who is now a member of the Nights Watch. The children have been separated since the murder of their father, and the uprising of their brother Robb as King in the North. Arya is crossing the war torn Westeros, heading for Riverrun, where her mother and brother seek refuge in the castle in which Catelyn Stark spent her childhood. Sansa remains trapped in King’s landing, where she is forced to behave as though she loves and is loyal to King Joffery, and his mother Queen Regent Cersei. Bran and the youngest Stark Rickon, have separated and are both crossing the North in search of answers, whilst Jon is beyond the wall feigning loyalty to the wildling free folk in order to infiltrate the army that intends on breaching the divide between the Seven Kingdoms.

Further into Westeros Lady Catelyn Stark releases Jamile Lannister ina bid to send her servant Breinne of Tarth, a female Knight, to see him safely to Kings Landing and exchange him for her daughter Sansa who Catelyn believes is one of her two remaining children. At Riverrun Catelyn watches her son Robb conduct his army making brave and foolish decisions. These chapters allow you a wonderfully maternal insight into the war, where Catelyn, desperate and grief stricken, will do anything to reunite herself with her remaining children.

Robb finds himself wed to a young girl, Jeyne, breaking a promise made to one of the least trustworthy lords. in Kings Landing Tyrion Lannister is locked in a constant battle for power against his sister, which he finds himself at the losing end off upon the arrival of his father, Lord Tywin Lannister , who takes up the role of Kings Hand instantly. He begins by forcing marriage upon Tyrion and Sansa, in a so called attempt to forge peace across the shattered Kingdom. However, this simply leads to more tension and tragedy within the castle walls and death that marks a turn in the fate of Tyrion Lannister forever.

So much happening with one novel can make a very exhausting read. It almost becomes an information overload, in that George adds twists and turns to no end, until the readers head is spinning faster than a top. I even found myself re-reading parts to make sure that I kept up with the story line. A Storm of swords, the third in the Game of Thrones series is filled with promise of even more adventure to come. A mesmerizing read filled with intrigue and excitement, I give the book a rating of 9.5/10.


Book Reviews

Book Review (re-edit): A Clash of Kings, by George R. R. Martin. 1998. Book 2 in the Game of Thrones series.

A Clash of Kings, by George R. R. Martin, is a fantastic second instalment to the Game of Thrones series. It begins with Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark dead; the crown resting with King Joffery. However, Robb Stark, Stannis Baratheon and Renly Baratheon all lay claim. The comet in the sky is seen as a sign of war and incest, fratricide and murder discolour the landscape. Winter is coming and the undead and Others are beginning to stir. Into this, from across the sea, comes the daughter of the Dungeon Kind to add her name to the list of pretenders to the Throne. With the disastrous and literally heart breaking conclusion to its predecessor, this book only continues the strife raging across Westeros, providing a total lack of end in sight.
The Seven Kingdoms have been plunged heavily into civil war. Five are vying for contention and naming themselves King, with none abiding the others. Stories and alliances are fracturing alike, and the reader is helpless before the onslaught of new characters, new plot lines, and revelations. As well as cliff-hangers that leave the mind reeling with the desire for more. The characters allotted chapters is increased to 9, promoting only one supporting character from book one to a fully-fledged lead, and introducing an entirely new character to introduce us to the inner workings of an entirely new plot thread.

Tyrion Lannister is once again one of the books highlights of the book providing a much needed breath of humour, as well as an intelligence that is not hindered by personal greed, ambition or idiocy. This in no way means that any of the other characters are a chore to read, but rather act in ways that leave the reader entirely certain they deserve to be smacked upside the head with a shovel! The sheer bastardry of some of the characters both introduced and returning is horrific at points. The loss encountered by some of the characters rends the heart stricken. Danerys Targaryen, who figured so powerfully in the first novel (especially in its astounding finale)gets little play in the book, occupying not much more than 100 pages of its nearly 1000. But her brief moments are crucial and point toward much more to come in future volumes.

This has to be one of the best written pieces I have had the pleasure of reading in a long time. George R. R. Martin is an author of note and promise of creative journeys ahead. I give the clash of Kings, by George R. R. Martin a 10/10 rating.