A Storm of Swords (Review)

A Storm of Swords (Review)

It’s 1am, I’m in the epilog, and com’on, George, let’s wrap this thing up.

924 pages.

Not that it isn’t good.

The Storm of Swords is the third installment (some 1800 pages in) of The Song of Ice and Fire saga, a massive and sprawling tale from George R.R. Martin. It moves well, and most chapters always have a reason for being. Better yet, he engages in a practice I most fully approve of – killing off main characters. But that’s the joke I’ve seen on the net – “Whenever a fan asks Martin when the book is coming out, a Stark dies”.

The book does have that one fault of fantasy novels, those of the long wandering travel. Characters start out on “quests” and wander across landscapes vast and empty and distancy. Days pass. Seasons change. Power rises in the east or wherever. Christ, if only they had a car or something.

But that’s the nature of the genre – the long trek. You pretty much have all the main characters, at mid-book, walking or riding somewhere. Which is really the problem with this installment: the characters appear to be locked in their little vignettes. Arya and Sandor Clegane are walking in Circles, Sam is stumbling through the snow, Jon is riding with the wildlings, Bran is being carried north on Hodar’s shoulders, Daenerys is leading an army slowly around Slavers Bay, most of Jamie is finally getting back to King’s landing, Sansa is going from one hostage situation to another; only the Imp is stationary, but that’s because his legs are too short and he’s locked in a cell.

But eventually the book finds its legs (or get’s off them) and the latter quarter offer us some significant plot development. And that’s good. I wasn’t sure what to make of this – my late father told me the third book stank, so I came into it with trepidation, but it settled down well enough.

I’ll read the next one in a month or so. For now, I’m going to go back to enjoying those zippy 350 page novels…