- Read my review of A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)
- Read my review of A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2)
A Storm of Swords takes readers into the depths of Westeros and explores some of the great cities further east on the continent of Essos. Coming in at a whopping 1,100+ pages, the world-building in this book is aptly expanded. Daenerys embarks on a conquest of slave cities in Essos (her dragons continuing to mature), Westeros grapples with the aftermath of the battle at King’s Landing, and mysteries are unveiled north of The Wall.
It’s hard to imagine A Song of Ice and Fire getting better with each book, but A Storm of Swords definitely takes the cake as the most eventful installment so far. Despite this being a work of fiction, the level of detail makes it feel as if you’re reading something truly important.
Once again, new character perspectives are introduced which add deeper levels of development for some of the key players in the story. One result of the diverse perspectives is the endless blurring of good versus evil. Characters and factions that you’d once believed were heartless or savage now take on new levels of humanization. And as the gritty realism of this series plays out, you’ll find yourself shocked at the brutality brought upon some of these characters.
George R.R. Martin’s obsession with adding hundreds of characters and references to family lineages is starting to make more sense. Not only does it add to the realism and world-building, but there’s something to say about how human phenotypic traits define our civilization-scale interactions with each other. Also, A Song of Ice and Fire has reached a point in the series where names really start to hold weight. Whenever a character is introduced with a certain last name, you suddenly understand the magnitude of their presence.
Maybe my mind has been buried too deep in the trenches of this series, but I’m starting to think that George R.R. Martin is the greatest fantasy writer to have existed. I’ve never been so excited to tackle such a dense set of books. Next up is A Feast for Crows.