WARNING - SPOILERS AHEAD. A Storm of Swords is the third book in George R. R. Martin's book series, A Song of Ice and Fire. After reading the second book in the series and watching the second season of the HBO television adaption, I was a bit weary when picking up this book. I was weary for a number of reasons. I enjoyed the second book however was told by a few people that the series continually gets worse and worse with every book. I have to say I disagree. I don't think the series is getting worse as it goes along however I do not think it is getting better either. Maybe I am a bit biased since I miss Ned so much and love the first novel, A Game of Thrones, but that is just my opinion. This book, I can say right away, was fantastic but it lacked what I loved about the first book and unfortunately I am unable to put my thoughts into words as to why I feel this way. I think this book is better than the second. Another reason I was weary was because I really didn't like the adaption of the second season of the show and was afraid that reading this book would get my hopes up only to be crushed while watching my favorite scenes be trashed. The reason I fell in love with the show in the first place, beside the amazing plot, characters, actors, cinematography, etc. was because of how well the adapters stuck to the book. Season two proved me wrong.
My experience reading this third installment was much different than reading the second. For one thing, I had refrained from watching the show before reading. With the first two books in the series I had watched more than half of the adapted season before reading. Another thing that differed this reading experience was the fact that I had begun listening to a Game of Thrones podcast (titled Game of Owns) and had a much better understanding of the plot, the characters, and the setting than I did with the second book. This helped me a lot because when reading the second book there were many times when I was lost after reading certain chapters and Game of Owns helped set me straight.
A Storm of Swords is said to be a fan favorite. In fact, many of the TV show's creators said that the specifically wanted to adapt the show for this book alone (which is a bit worrying but I digress). Anyway, I can see why it is a fan favorite. There are a ton of epic scenes, epic deaths, and epic surprises. To name a few, and remember THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS, Catelyn's corpse, Little Finger shoving Lysa Arryn out of the moon door, Joffery's death, Daenerys freaking Targaryen freeing slaves and burning cities, Tyrion's marriage to Sansa, Jon Snow's sexy time, Stannis saving the Night's Watch, Jaime and Brienne, and Arya's chapters in general - they were all wonderfully brilliant. I know, you thought I was going to mention the Red Wedding. Unfortunately, since the event was so huge on the television show, I was spoiled. I know, bummer right?
I can't really think of any negatives about this book other than it being really hard to get through since it was so long. The writing was excellent, per the usual, and the story was just incredible. I think it is of utter importance that aspiring writers, especially of the fantasy genre, read these books. They are very well crafted and thought out. I guess the only thing left to say is...5 out of 5 stars!