Thursday, May 9, 2013

Review: A Storm of Swords

Title: A Storm of Swords
Author: George R.R. Martin
Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2/5 stars



As I said in my review of A Game of Thrones, I stepped into this series with some trepidation. I wasn't sure I would like it, because usually when half the world is in love with something, I'm in the camp that isn't all that impressed. While I was pleasantly surprised by the first book, each successive book has been slightly less enjoyable. By the end of A Storm of Swords, I have decided that I am probably not going to continue this series.

It's not that this book is terrible so much that everything I liked about the first book is absent. One of the reasons I really liked the first book was getting to know the characters, especially the Starks. And well, let's just say there aren't very many Starks around anymore. This wouldn't bother me so much if so many other people weren't also dead. I feel like this book just cut the list of major characters in half, and hardly gave importance to characters whose stories I wanted to hear. Instead, I got long-winded stories about characters I once liked, but now no longer connect with (Jon Snow and Arya, that means you). I did like seeing things from Jaime's perspective, because he's not quite the monster he has been made out to be by everyone so far. I also thought Sansa's story took an interesting turn, and she has grown so much since the first book. Still, the number of disappointments far outweigh the good parts.

Another complaint I had was that the plot was very convoluted. While there were many points of view in the first two books, the plot kept moving and every chapter moved the story as a whole forward. In this book, there were a lot of unnecessary or weak chapters that either showed what I already knew from a different perspective or didn't go anywhere. There is so much happening with so many people that many stories take a giant back seat to others. I wish there had been more of Bran and Daenerys in this book, and less of Jon Snow and Tyrion. I do like Tyrion's chapters, because they are always interesting and unexpected, but I really don't think he should be the focus of the novel.

I distinctly remember saying about the first book that while the women were pretty messed up and weak, the men were flawed too and so I did not take offence on the feminist front. This book made me pretty angry though - almost all the women are pawns who are manipulated (usually through political marriages) or forced to do things they don't want to do. The women were objectified and used, and the men just went about their business as if it was perfectly normal to do so. Yup, I'm definitely offended now.

The last straw for me was the epilogue. People who are dead should stay dead - it's a major pet peeve of mine when people come back to life (be it zombie, spirit, or other form).

Perhaps if these books weren't so long, I would consider finishing this series, but seeing as I have four 1000+ page tomes (two of which won't be published for quite a while), I think I will just end things here.

2 comments:

  1. Oh, dear. I've heard such great things about this series, but I have trouble with fantasy sometimes, and the length and your comment about the convoluted plots make me think I'm probably okay with not reading this...for now. Totally understand why you're leaving it as is, those are huge commitments if you're not thoroughly enjoying them.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    Replies
    1. This series reads more like historical fiction than fantasy for the first two books; you don't even really see magic until halfway through the second book. I really like both genres, and after a glowing recommendation from a friend I decided to give it a try.

      I guess your enjoyment of the series depends on which characters you like the most, because they will either continue to be awesome or they will die. Unfortunately most of mine are dead, but that doesn't mean I'd warn other people off this series. I think you should give the first book a shot when you have the time.

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