A Storm of Swords is the 3rd book in the series, A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. Much like the first two books, it uses the perspectives of different characters to give a more or less complete picture of the events taking place in the novel. As in the first two books, the perspectives of the Starks are still largely present: Arya, Sansa, Catelyn, Bran, and Jon Snow. Davos Seaworth from Dragonstone is still present, as well as Danaerys Targaryen. In addition, new perspectives were added: Samwell from the Night’s Watch, and Jamie Lannister, the Kingslayer, uncle to King Joffrey of King’s Landing.
A Storm of Swords is longer than the two novels which preceded it, and is a much more intriguing read by far. This 3rd book is more action-packed and revealing that it’s hard to write about it without giving away some juicy spoilers. Its plot still centers largely on the ongoing war, but it also shows a more personal side of many of the characters. The characters in the book are transforming little by little – those once innocent, naive, and harmless are fast becoming hardened and weary, while those who seemed vile and terrible in the beginning are showing that they are capable of kindness; that they are human.
A Storm of Swords differs a bit from the first two novels. Sex and love come into play a bit more in this 3rd book – indeed, at least 5 marriages takes place and many betrothals are formed between families. The presence of magic and the supernatural become more prevalent as we see more of the Others, and a preview of the power of the Lord of Light. However, it is the number of shocking deaths among the main characters that sets this book apart.
The novel starts off slow, still going in the same direction as the first two books in the series. Things start to get interesting in the middle as the pace of the story picks up, but towards the end, the plot seems to somewhat veer off its original course, taking readers to a different path – the path where the real story of the series lies.
From the first book up to A Storm of Swords, the main plot centers mostly on King’s Landing and on the conflict between the Lannisters and the Starks, with the Baratheons as a side story. Many characters and Houses have been introduced along the way, but only in relation to their alliances with the 5 kings at war. Little attention has been given to characters outside Westeros and those not in the general vicinity of King’s Landing. Though as the plot shifts away from King’s Landing and the war of the 5 kings, I think Danaerys and the sworn brothers of the Night’s Watch will become more prominent characters in the succeeding books.
Having just finished a Storm of Swords and being so far into the series, I’m torn between continuing on to the next book or taking a break from it to cleanse my palate. A Feast for Crows is next in line, followed by A Dance with Dragons, published only 2 months ago. At my snail’s pace, I’m sure to finish the series just before the year ends, and I will finally have time to read other novels. Hopefully the next installment in the series won’t come out anytime soon.