A Storm of Swords   by George R.R. Martin
Cover Concept by Lorenzo Princi, 27 December 2011

A Storm of Swords

Author: George R.R. Martin

Reviewed by Lorenzo Princi

In part three of A Song of Fire & Ice the war for the Iron Throne continues, however it is in fact quills which storm as no major battles are fought on the fields or waters. Witnessing betrayal after betrayal and learning the true nature of the 'game of thrones' we find that trickery is the sharpest blade. The fox (not featured in the long list of house sigils) now best describes the major players in the war of the throne. However it is not only the characters who betray our trust in them, Martin is the most untrustworthy of all, betraying our trust in a happiness for the those characters he makes most honest and noble.

Of the three books in the series thus far, A Storm of Swords is the major page turner (not to say the others are slow going) as Martin serves up course after course of blood and poison with twists of vengeance. Nothing can be seen coming, everything emerges from shadow. Villians become allies and allies betrayers as the characters we think we know begin to show us their true selves. Much like the world he has created, nothing is sacred as his characters break oath and tradion, so does Martin. Romantic fantasy is but the package he has dressed his story in but A Storm of Swords is anything but. The noble are oft the losers and shining white knights, the kin of murders.

Martin builds a bleak outward for his characters, seperation of family, death of allies, deformaty and isolation await them. Change is hard and mistakes of nature are punished, ones of mercy and trust are central. Martin demonstrates here, that a thoughtful approach is the wisest and those characters who re-think their ambition in one way or another are better for it, sheathing their swords and inking their pens.

A Storm of Swords is a magnificent book, if anything, it is a bridge in the series, shifting us away from what we thought was important, with major characters and houses becoming weak or ruined and also showing a change in the characters who break from their nature and persue other routes to victory - notably Stannis, Jon and Daenarys. If you've made it as far as this book in the series, then its safe to say you'll be in for the long haul after this one.