Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Storm of Swords

A Song of Ice and Fire just keeps growing and getting better. A Storm of Swords is the third installment in the George R. R. Martin's epic fantasy series, and it is just as powerful and edge-of-your-seat un-put-downable as the previous two.

It has a lot of the same wandering-across-Westeros type journeys as the previous two. People in this series spend a lot of their time travelling from place to place, and the author uses this as an opportunity to develop the background of the story. We still don't officially know what triggered Robert's rebellion, or who Jon's mother is, but hints are being dropped left and right, and you pretty much know what happened.

I'm going to immediately start reading the next book. Part of me just wants to get it all read so I can safely look at the Internet references to the series without getting spoilered*. This is seriously one of those series where the plot twists take you by shock, even though they have been foreshadowed so heavy-handedly. It's not a plot that develops linearly, where you can look at the current situation and figure out where it's going. Characters keep taking sharp, 90 degree turns, sometimes several times within a few chapters, and so it's hard to know what will happen next. Some things you can see coming, but holy crap I was given some surprises in the last half of this book. And every time, you then recall the leadup, and think, "oh, of course this was coming".

Of course, I could just be an idiot. I'm somewhat notorious at missing hints in literature. Allegory and symbolism? I miss them every time.

It's bloody hard to write this Half-Arsed Review(tm) and not put spoilers in. The plot developments cry out to be talked about directly. But I won't, because it'd suck for you if you haven't read it and were going to. So here's some abstracted spoiler-free spoilers (which you might want to skip anyway if you're reading or about to read this book):

Holy crap, why did they have to die? Who thought that guy would end up with that job? Who knew you were such an evil bastard? Did you do that thing deliberately? Wow, you're not actually an evil prick for doing that thing to that guy - you had a good reason. Oooh, he had it coming. Gosh, that's sad how they were that shitty to you. And you, also, are much more of an evil prick than everyone thought. Holy crap, you're back! Oh dear, that's not good news.

Anyways, now I've got that out of my system, my final summary: at least read the first book. If you like this sort of thing, it'll blow you away.

*Also, it'd be good to be able to focus on my PhD studies again.

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