George R.R. Martin





Book Three of A Song Of Ice And Fire
Bantam, 2000
Reviewed by Joy Calderwood


In George R.R. Martinís third book of the phenomenally popular Song of Ice and Fire series, our field of view begins to clear, as candidates for the throne of the Seven Kingdoms are eliminated. In fact, a more accurate title for this part of the series would be A Tide Of Attrition. The land is too ravaged by war and raiders to support the large armies of the original rivals. Treachery and personal defects kill nobles, starvation and cold kill peasants.

Writing any form of review for A STORM OF SWORDS presents a major problem. If I set up the opening situation for you, as I did in the reviews of A GAME OF THRONES and A CLASH OF KINGS, I would give away surprises. By this time, even letting you know who is still alive would ruin the suspense.

So, here is my attempt:

We become better acquainted with the situation north of the Wall. Why are the wildlings making an all-out push southward? We meet and make friends with some wildling people.

Someone with influence in the Seven Kingdoms begins to take an interest in the failing Black Watch, the northern guardians of the Kingdoms. Why, in a Martin-like turnaround, when the cavalry bursts over the hill to the rescue, are we unsure thatís what we wanted them to do?

Readers will get to enjoy some highly satisfying revenges. The power vacuum in the Seven Kingdoms leaves maneuvering room for hidden aspirants to power. Some are clever, some not so clever, and some too clever for their own good.

The dragon companions of exiled heiress Daenerys Targaryen are her proof of royalty, but she has yet to demonstrate her merit. Are her youth and high aspirations too difficult a combination?

Author George Martinís characters seem in every way to be real people responding to real surroundings. They react naturally to their situations, yet the author still manages to leave us stunned by unpredictable changes. Future plot turns are a closely guarded secret. According to Martin, any release date for the much-delayed sequel A FEAST OF CROWS could, so far, only be a guess.

Martin has a website, http://www.georgerrmartin.com , which links to a message board. There you can share your time waiting for the next book with fans who enjoy rehashing the many complexities of the series. Personally, I plan to fill my time waiting for A FEAST FOR CROWS by reading Martinís other books.

Better than surroundsound, better than IMAX, better than virtual reality, George R.R. Martinís world exists on a parallel plane. Allow yourself to be transported into it.

Nov 2003 Review

[Note: A FEAST FOR CROWS came out two years later.]


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