A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3 Part 1) Paperback – 7 Apr 2003
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‘Nobody does fantasy quite like George R.R. Martin’
‘Colossal, staggering… all the intoxicating complexity of the Wars of the Roses or Imperial Rome’
‘The sheer mind-boggling scope of this epic has sent other fantasy writers away shaking their heads… Its ambition: to construct the Twelve Caesars of fantasy fiction, with characters so venomous they could eat the Borgias’
From the Inside Flap
The third volume, part one of A Song of Ice and Fire, the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age. GAME OF THRONES is now a major TV series from HBO, featuring a stellar cast.
Winter approaches Westeros like an angry beast.
The Seven Kingdoms are divided by revolt and blood feud. In the northern wastes, a horde of hungry, savage people steeped in the dark magic of the wilderness is poised to invade the Kingdom of the North where Robb Stark wears his new-forged crown. And Robb's defences are ranged against the South, the land of the cunning and cruel Lannisters, who have his younger sisters in their power.
Throughout Westeros, the war for the Iron Throne rages more fiercely than ever, but if the Wall is breached, no king will live to claim it.
Top customer reviews
I have mixed emotions about this book. But generally, I think there are more positives than negatives.
George RR Martin does a very good job of the world building, and I have to say I sometimes believe that what I am reading really happened. The main characters have their own personality and these have changed with the events that have happened over the previous books. I do like how all of the characters (except Joffrey and Cersi etc) are very different to the ones we met in the first book.
However, A LOT of this book was uneventful, and I feel that not much has happened over nearly 600 pages. Most chapters were people walking to wherever they're going and just talking and then they'd be diverted and then keep talking, and nothing really happened.
My favourite storyline in this is Danerys' by far. It's interesting, fast paced and exciting. My least favourite has to be Sansa's. God she irritates me so much! Yeah, I feel sorry for you but I call it karma for all the whining we got at the beginning. And again, nothing much really happened. I can only think of one thing significantly added to the story.
Like I said at the beginning, this is half of the story, so I am praying that the crescendo isn't too far away. The last 2 chapters were about Bran and Jon, and were 2 of the best in the book, so it has made me want to pick up part 2 almost straight away. I just hope that it is more eventful and interesting as part 1.
3 stars - Not bad, but not great by a long shot.
An Angel's Alternative
Cold Steel on the Rocks
We Are Cold Steel
As with all the other books in the series this one has a helpful section listing the characters and their relationship to each other and a (slightly difficult to read) map of the land. It is set up so that a right or left click on the navigator button on your Kindle will take you forward or back a chapter so that you can remind yourself where you last left a character
One of Martin's habits, or at least it is getting into a habit, is to introduce into each of his volume some new features of his fiction world. In this one, we get at least two. The first is linked to Daenerys and to Slavers' Bay, where we get introduced to the brick slaver cities, with their square pyramids and their slave merchants. I couldn't help trying to guess what inspired him here. Perhaps it was the Phoenicians and Carthaginians. Anyway, the slave soldiers seem to be a bit inspired by the Turkish Mamluks and the Ottoman janissaries, except that they also seem to be eunuchs. Another nice piece that most "fans" have probably loved (me included) is that we see the dragons in action, fire and all.
The second piece that interested me is what is happening in the war-torn central part of Westeros in the absence of major battles: the "day-to-day life" in a war-torn zone infested with marauders from all sides. This is heavily inspired by the Hundred Years War and the Wars of the Roses, with war bands from both sides digging themselves into the various castles and fortresses that they might have taken, living of the country, and raiding whatever territory is controlled by the other factions. This is very much the situation that prevails between the Twins and Kings Landing and we get a glimpse at some of the various bands of warriors and mercenaries serving on each side, and sometimes changing sides.
Regarding the characters, there are a few comebacks, such as Beric Dondarion and Thoros of Myr, the Red Priest, both of which are much changed. We also see quite a bit of the Hound, Sandor Clegane, who, after escaping from King's Landing and the Lannisters, travels with Arya and runs into the two characters mentioned above. The main comeback, however, is that of Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer, who manages to get back to his side but is no longer the dashing, rash and near-invincible swordsman that he used to be. Finally, we have the continuing adventure of Jon with the wildlings which he manages the get rid of at some cost.
Anyway, volume 1 of Steel and Snow is still rather good, if perhaps slightly less so than the previous instalments.
I definitely agree with another reviewer on Amazon.co.uk - this is bordering 4 stars, but not quite that - although we happen to be coming at it from two opposite directions.
Having watched the excellent Season Three of the HBO TV serries (much enjoyed) I'm now trying to read ahead before the next season. Obviously there are differences, notably Gendry's TV character having been substituted for Edric Storm.
All I can say is that I'm enjoying it so far and look forward to reading the rest of it.
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