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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 28 November 2005
The confrontation among the different candidates to the throne in this third book in the series is heating up, and the supernatural elements begin to have more and more relevance. Joffrey Baratheon is currently sitting as acting king, but there are several challengers to his power, including his “uncle” Stannis, Robb Stark, the king in the north, and the last of the Targaryen, Daenerys, who is coming with her three dragons! (Reader’s should thank Phyllis too for making Martin put in the dragons)
This setup, together with an abundance of interesting sub plots make this the most entertaining fantasy series I have ever encountered. For example, Jon Snow is beyond the wall in the north and has proven his loyalty to the wildlings by killing a brother. He is acting as a spy but without the rest of his brothers from the Night Watch knowing it, and while the Night Watch prepares to defend the wall against the wildlings and the Others (terrifying undead creatures), Jon needs to find a way to help them. But at the same time he needs to keep the wildlings’ trust and deal with the added inconvenience of love.
One of the characteristics that make this series so remarkable is that the author establishes extremely interesting situations in which the characters need to be extremely cunning to succeed in their quest. In this regard, one of my favorite characters is Tyrion Lannister, the Imp, who is a dwarf that was almost killed in the previous book and in the process was disfigured and left even uglier than he already was. He has only one weapon, his intelligence, and seeing him use it is a true pleasure. The fact that as happens with many other characters in the series, it is hard to determine if Tyrion is “good” or “bad”, makes him even more interesting. The match of brains between Tyrion and Littlefinger will satisfy the most demanding of readers and leave you smiling with pleasure. To sum up this idea, there is nothing better than to let Tyrion’s father express it in these simple terms: “Some battles are won with swords and spears, others with quills and ravens”.
The second aspect of the series that is a true delight is Martin’s willingness to let go of characters, and by this I simply mean: he kills them without remorse! Some people may find this to be a negative point, since you may become attached to a character and the author kills it when you thought he was going to be the hero of the story. But I find this extremely refreshing and makes the books even more interesting for me, because the author keeps us on our toes and constantly wondering what the next surprise will be.
Finally, I enjoy the non-linear aspects plot, with the author jumping around from one character’s viewpoint to the next. In this installment, besides alternating among characters and locations, he goes a back and forth in time due to the long time span of some events, but the action it is still easy to track and enjoy. Besides those characters I already mentioned, this novel deals mainly with Arya Stark, the youngest sister of the king in the north (Robb), who is on the run from Joffrey’s claws; Sansa Stark, the oldest sister, who is still trapped in the castle from which her sister escaped, Catelyn Stark, the mother who is desperate to get her daughter’s back, Jaime Lannister, Tyrion’s brother who is the real father of king Joffrey and not his uncle, and many others colorful characters.
Martin has created and developed an amazing setting for his story, and the situations that he continues to present keep us constantly engaged and eager to know what will happen next. With the recent release of “A Feast for Crows”, some of the storylines that are left in suspense in this novel will be resolved, but since this new book deals only with events in the south, we will have to wait until the next installment to know what is going on in the north. One thing is clear to me, as long as George R. R. Martin keeps them coming I will keep reading them.
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on 3 October 2002
I was momentarily disappointed and puzzled to see that there's still only one customer review for ASoS, two years after its publication, but of course there's a good reason for this. The ASOIAF readers who are full of missionary zeal for the series (approximately 95% of the total readership, at a conservative estimate) are focusing their efforts on getting all their acquaintance to read the FIRST book of the series, not the third. They reckon, understandably, that their job is then done, and that any normal person will only need to know that the second and third books exist to be rushing out and acquiring them, and then be frustrated to fever pitch that they have to wait another half year till A Feast for Crows. It's a little difficult to say anything much about the later books without betraying spoiler information about the earlier ones - and these are books where surprise is crucial to the first reading experience. Which won't stop you REreading the books repeatedly and finding fresh delight in them each time.
So no spoilers here either. If by some chance you've read A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings but not this, then lose no further time. It is in my opinion the best yet - if only because it's the longest and so provides the reader with even more hours of pleasure than the earlier two! Another reason for my opinion is the sheer brilliance of what Martin does with one of the two new character viewpoints he introduces here. To say more would give away too much.
If you've read all three books and just want to see someone else's thoughts on them, because you're still on a high, and everything but the book seems dull and unimportant, what you need is the A Song of Ice and Fire message board on ezboards, where you will be able to discuss the books at whatever intellectual level you are capable of,in minute detail, with hundreds of otherwise sane fellow addicts.
And if you haven't read any of them,and have found your way here by some accident or whim, waste no further time. Order A Game of Thrones from amazon right now, pausing, if you like, to read some of the customer reviews for it. It should take you only a week or so before you are ordering the rest of the series.
WARNING A few pitiable souls are unable to appreciate it, and although I know of many younger readers who adore the series I wouldn't recommend it unreservedly to those under fifteen, due to Martin's readiness to inflict harrowing experiences, injury or death on sympathetic characters, the explicitness of the descriptions of sex and violence, and the language of some of the characters. Some would find it disturbing. But this explicitness is not in the least gratuitous. It is part and parcel of the story. Others find it disconcerting to switch between multiple viewpoints, and don't have the patience to persevere until they adjust to each different "voice". But whether your taste is for comedy or tragedy or romance, action or dialogue or description, noble idealistic heroes or cynical flawed anti-heroes, realism or escapism, you will find plenty to satisfy you. Your sympathies will be broadened, and you will be stimulated into thinking for yourself, and adjusting your opinions in the light of later information, not just passively absorbing what you read.
If you like good fantasy, you will like this. If you like good historical novels you will like this. If you like good writing of any kind you will probably like this.
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on 27 September 2000
The best heroic fantasy series in the world keeps getting better. Though nearly 1,000 pages long, I had the feeling that it could easily have been 500 pages longer. Complaints about the Bran and Arya chapters never popped into my head. Yes, they move less decisively than some other plotlines but they all do progress significantly near the end and there's some very good character interaction to keep us engrossed. But of course the main focus of the book is on the political fallout of the war between the Starks and the Lannisters, and what a fallout it is. I defy anyone to predict more than 25 % of Martin's plot twists, and when he DOES go for the more predictable resolution it is because it is the RIGHT one. Robb Stark is finally on stage again (his lack of presence was the main drawback of Clash Of Kings as far as I was concerned). Jaime Lannister develops incredibly well as a character, and Tyrion remains as magnetic as ever (slight caveat : a few too many mentions of how people stare at him even more since he was scarred). The magical subplot increases in strength, Stannis is an absolutely fascinating creation - a decent, stern hero who is unlikable. The religion of R'Hllor doesn't seem to be what we thought it was - or is it? The way the battle between Light And Dark will be fought (probably) in the next three books shapes up to be very interesting and frightening. In fact, this is one of the aspects I like very much in the series : behind the scenes, a true Evil is at work, yet the ones who might be able to halt its advance are busily exterminating each other over what amount to petty squabbles, greed and jealousy. A wonderful mix of real-life medieval politics and heroic-fantasy themes. Of course, like everyone else here, my complaint is that it's going to take two years for GRRM to write the next novels and six years (at least) before the series is finished. And like many, I too fear that like Jordan and Goodkind he may lose his way and be lured to the Dark Side of Eternal Sequels Which Really Do Not Further The Main Plot Of The Series Anymore. But at this time his writing is so strong, his characterization so refreshing, and his plotting so audacious, intricate and satisfying that I have faith. Read it and be blown away.
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on 21 January 2003
... I was momentarily disappointed and puzzled to see that there's still only one customer review for ASoS, two years after its publication, but of course there's a good reason for this. The ASOIAF readers who are full of missionary zeal for the series (approximately 90% of the total readership, at a conservative estimate) are focusing their efforts on getting all their acquaintance to read the FIRST book of the series, not the third. They reckon, understandably, that their job is then done, and that any normal person will only need to know that the second and third books exist to be rushing out and acquiring them, and then be frustrated to fever pitch that they have to wait another half year till A Feast for Crows. It's a little difficult to say anything much about the later books without betraying spoiler information about the earlier ones - and these are books where surprise is crucial to the first reading experience. Which won't stop you REreading the books repeatedly and finding fresh delight in them each time.
So no spoilers here either. If by some chance you've read A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings but not this, then lose no further time. It is in my opinion the best yet - if only because it's the longest and so provides the reader with even more hours of pleasure than the earlier two! Another reason for my opinion is the sheer brilliance of what Martin does with one of the two new character viewpoints he introduces here. To say more would give away too much.
If you've read all three books and just want to see someone else's thoughts on them, because you're still on a high, and everything but the book seems dull and unimportant, what you need is the A Song of Ice and Fire message board on ezboard, where you will be able to discuss the books at whatever intellectual level you are capable of, in minute detail, with hundreds of otherwise sane fellow addicts.
And if you haven't read any of them,and have found your way here by some accident or whim, waste no further time. Order A Game of Thrones from amazon right now. It should take you only a week or so before you are ordering the rest of the series.
WARNING A few pitiable souls are unable to appreciate it, and although I know of many younger readers who adore the series I wouldn't recommend it unreservedly to those under fifteen, due to Martin's readiness to inflict harrowing experiences, injury or death on sympathetic characters, the explicitness of the descriptions of sex and violence, and the language of some of the characters. Some would find it disturbing. But this explicitness is not in the least gratuitous. It is part and parcel of the story. Others find it disconcerting to switch between multiple viewpoints, and don't have the patience to persevere until they adjust to each different "voice", or are frustrated at not having things neatly wrapped up at the end of each volume. But whether your taste is for comedy or tragedy or romance, action or dialogue or description, noble idealistic heroes or cynical flawed anti-heroes, realism or escapism, you will find plenty to satisfy you. Your sympathies will be broadened, and you will be stimulated into thinking for yourself, and adjusting your opinions in the light of later information, not just passively absorbing what you read.
If you like good fantasy, you will like this. If you like good historical novels you will like this. If you like good writing of any kind you will probably like this...
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on 3 September 2011
So, on to book three in the series, and as expected the quality is just a little bit less than the book before. It's still good, still enjoyable, but it's beginning to look a bit worn around the edges. Like the previous volume, the sheer number of people and factions gets confusing, and the amount of magic in the story is slowly increasing. Magic is a crutch for bad fantasy writers and for good writers who've run out of ideas, it's just Treknobabble dressed in bearskins. The first book didn't really have any of it at all, but in this one there's quite a bit. It's still stuck lurking on the edges, and not having any significant impact, but more importantly, it's not having any impact at all that couldn't have been achieved without. Therefore it only detracts from the book.
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on 24 December 2012
This is probably the high point of the series. I loved book one and would encourage everyone to read it, if they don't get further than that then fair enough at least they tried. I think it is unwise to give up after book 2 as this book (the third) is probably the highlight, afterwards they are a little more so-so. What makes the series strong as a whole is the characterization, I think this is the single greatest strength of his writing. The plot is good, and in many cases full of intrigue, although at other times it feels grindingly slow.

Even in this book there are times when the book feels like it is grinding but this is the minority rather than majority. There are twists and turns as there are in all of the series but I felt that they were less numerous than in book 2. You never quite know which characters are going to die and which are not, the suspense keeps you turning the pages to find out. The author is willing to beat up and kill his heroes, sometimes with too much fervour, but there are too many authors that make their heroes invincible.

In this book there is a scene called the Red Wedding which is one of the most moving scenes of any novel, I didn't predict it coming and was completely stunned when I read it. I had that knotted feeling after reading something awful, I don't want to say any more but this is truly great story telling. Once you've read this book you can Google up the author's own thoughts and feelings about this book, it is interesting to hear his thoughts too.

Any of my complaints in this book are overshadowed by the better parts, one of the few absolutely solid 5 star books.
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on 23 September 2000
I simply love this series. I could not wait for the book to come out here in America, so I had a friend buy it and ship it from the U.K.! This series is that good, and this book does not let me down one bit. Martin's books are the only "big time series" books by an author who has not only kept me coming back, but made me want to devour each and every word! He has not made the mistakes of Eddings and Jordan by making his characters too powerful, and his character development is so much better than Goodkind's. I normally read books so fast that my friends aren't use to seeing me come in with the same books more than two or three days. They kept on asking me what was taking me so long with this book- I was taking my time to savor every word, like you savor a great meal. I also read it twice, in a row. Something I have never done with a book until now! I only have three compaints: "Why can't more people write like this?", "Why is it that all of these books seem to end too quickly?" and, "How long do I have to wait for the next one?" If you haven't started reading this series, start now. I have gotten all of my friends around the office hooked and all it took was putting A Game of Thrones in their hands and telling them to read at least fifty pages...
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on 13 July 2002
This series is amazing. And it keeps on coming. I've read many fantasy series but this one has held my interest the most. The plot is so intellectually intricate it keeps you reading til the final chapter. The charachters are also very developed which makes reading about their hardships and triumphs even more exhilarating! This series is so down to earth and realistic especially for a fantasy series, which is the way I like it! The people seem real, the plot is real....it never lets you down. It definitely has its sad points, but it makes you urge the characters on even more to come back on top. I'm definitely looking forward to the next books in the series!
Also: The Price of Immortality is an awsome read!
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on 17 July 2016
OMG I am hooked on Game of Thrones, I have watched the series and hate that you have to wait a whole year to see the next one. So I decided to read the books. This is brilliant, although the books and the series are set on different paths the overall background to the characters and areas in the 7 kingdoms makes much more sense to me now. Nearly finished this one and onto the next!
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on 30 October 2000
I must say that when I read A game Of Thrones I was astounded by the sheer complexity Martin brought to the characters in it. A Clash Of Kings went a little further in that direction as it added more suspense and intrigue. But with A Sword Of Storms I think he out did himself completly as the plot has gone multifaceted to the extreme. A spellbinding saga it joins the dark, cunning and evil texture of character ie ( the lannisters and the greyjoys ) with the more heroic and sensitive side of what is generally seen as the "good" characters ie. ( the starks ). It's brilliance though lies in it's sort of grey area where you can't decide if the character is just plain evil or of a very weak temperment. But for all it's fantastic achievements in the genre of epic/heroic fantasy it can be very irritating.In these three books just like in Jordans series some of the characters don't fit so well into the plot and when they do pop up thay can cause the plot to falter and lose some of it's flow. And also with this book the disregard held for the "so called" main characters is incredable. I'm telling you now you have no idea what is going to happen to anyone in these books. Nothing is an immpossiblity. But for the few irregularities in the books the raptly paced writing and excellent character devotion martin brings fort make this a must read to the many readers of this genre.
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