A Storm of Swords
Having read two of the books in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice series, I was absolutely hooked and couldn't wait to read the next one. I decided that this would be my vacation book as A Storm of Swords is over 1100 pages. Thanks to some uncontrollable factors, my read lasted long past my vacation, but what a read it was!
A Storm of Swords takes place shortly after the events of A Clash of Kings. The Stark family is scattered. Catelyn has arranged for the escape of sworn enemy Jaime Lannister in exchange for her daughters who she believes are still captive at King's Landing. Sansa is a prisoner of sorts there, forced to bow to the boy king Joffrey, but Arya is on the run, having escaped the Bolton camp. Robb is King of the North, but finding it difficult to keep his allies at his side. Bran and Rikkon are believed dead at the hands of Theon Greyjoy. Little is known of Rikkon's whereabouts, but Bran is in hiding with Hodor and Jojen and Meera Reed who travel north in search of help from the brothers of the Night's Watch. At the orders of Night's Watch Qhorin Halfhand, Jon joins the Wildlings in hopes of thwarting their planned attack on the Wall.
Meanwhile, Tyrion Lannister, having won the battle against King Stannis Baratheon, is recovering from serious wounds, much to sister Cersei's happiness. His father, Tywin, has taken over as the King's Hand. Jaime Lannister is attempting to make it back to King's Landing with Brienne of Tarth, his sworn protector assigned to him by Catelyn Stark. And across the sea, Daenerys Targaryen continues to grow her army as her dragon hatchlings begin to mature.
If you thought that the novels before A Storm of Swords were bloody, you haven't read anything yet! This is the book containing the Red Wedding. The color has nothing to do with what the bride is wearing and everything to do with what people are swimming in after the betrayal and ultimate carnage. And that is not the only wedding in which betrayal and murder occur in this novel. By the middle of the book, two kings are dead and one man is place on trial for a murder he hasn't committed. By the end, one Stark finds themselves on the road to becoming an assassin while another finds themselves on the run, also accused of a murder they didn't commit - and where they end up...well, let's just say that this Stark may wish they were back at King's Landing once they arrive. A Lannister returns to duty minus a limb while another decides he's had it with the Lannister family as a whole. Daenerys Targaryen finds herself becoming protector of all those formerly enslaved, but also learns that she may have been trusting the wrong people to help her lead her army. And Jon Snow finds himself in a position he could never have dreamed of and isn't quite sure he wants.
A Storm of Swords is an amazing novel, full of twists and turns and incredible treachery. Just when you think you know what is going on, you realize you have no idea! This is evident in two big reveals in the novel - the source of the assassin sent to Bran Stark's room while he is in a coma and the source of the poison that killed Jon Arryn...and we all thought we knew who that was, right? I wish someone had been filming me as I read this book. The expressions on my face as I reached these WHOA! moments must have been priceless. The character development here is amazing and you can't help but feel a kinship to some of the characters. As certain reveals are made and we get to know some of the characters better, we start to change our opinions about them. Can you imagine having sympathy for Sandor Clegane? After this novel, you will. And the battles with the wights and the wildlings, what epic events those were! Any fan of fantasy novels will love the battles, action and intrigue to be found in this book. I can't wait to get my hands on the next novel in the series!