Nataliya's Reviews > A Storm of Swords

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
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Dec 04, 13

bookshelves: hugo-nebula, locus-winner
Recommended to Nataliya by: Vera
Recommended for: Fans of GRRM and epic unpredictable fantasy
read count: 2


This book made me want to throw it against the wall in anger and disbelief. It made me root for the death of a child (and then despise myself), love a hated character, cry angry tears, and bite my nails because of all the suspense.


**Pictograhically, all of the above was happening to me.**

I did not throw the book across the room. Instead, I put it aside and stared at the wall for a few minutes in grief and disbelief. If you read this, you know which part I am talking about *SOBBING* Then I picked it up again, because at that point I was so hooked that nothing could have stopped me. (I also MAY HAVE cut my neurobiology class to finish it. I know, I'm bad, very very bad.)


Ah, you guys... Look at you, all innocent, before this book rips into you...

A Storm of Swords is, in my opinion, an undisputed high point of the series so far. It expanded the story in delightful, wonderful ways. It gave it a truly epic feel. It delivered the cruel punch in the gut with the (view spoiler)(excuse me as I go and cry myself to sleep) and reinforced the axiom that nobody is safe in the world GRRM created. (*)
* It was heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, and unexpected. But it was necessary, even if just to remind how cruel and brutal this world is, and how little choices can have huge consequences.


I loved this book because of the amount of promise it brought to the series. It brought our characters to the brink of greatness, put them in the positions that were surely going to change the course of this entire story.
Examples: Jon and Dany. It was amazing to see how these two very young characters grew and developed due to all the battles, losses, and betrayals that they suffered. Both of them at the end of this story carry such potential for the future of this series. (view spoiler)

Ah, our favorite despicable Lannisters... Look at you BEFORE all the hell broke loose for you. Does it make you feel any sympathy for the Starks now? No? I thought so.

The character complexity parallels the story complexity - both are done masterfully. The characters feel alive and real. They are interesting and fascinating, and fluctuate between likable and despicable in a not too predictable fashion (*). The previously unseen connections between characters and events are mind-blowing. And seeing the select few skillfully manipulating so many others is unsettling.
* Let me use Jaime and Tyrion as my examples here:
Jaime became one of my favorites: understanding where he's coming from and seeing him humbled by his experience changed him from a monster to a deeply flawed but ultimately sympathetic man. (What he did to Bran was terrible - but child's play in comparison of all the other mindf***ery GRRM gives us in this book. What he does with his sister - gross, but they are competent and consenting adults, and it's not my place to judge them).
Tyrion, on the other hand... What he did to Shae reminded me that darkness can live inside everyone, even our favorite Imp. (view spoiler)
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Don't get me wrong. I gush about it, but this book is far from perfect. Just like its sequels (and predecessors) it suffers from overload of descriptions and repetitions, gratuitous bodily functions and banquets. Some storylines already begin to drag (Arya, for instance). But most of the faults were easily overshadowed by the great characterization, masterful story, and wonderfully built suspense. This is what I felt was unfortunately missing from the books that followed, and what I hope they return to eventually.

5 stars from my (many moons ago) yet-not-jaded self that happily gobbled up this delicious brain candy.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 64) (64 new)


[Name Redacted By Goodreads Because Irrelevant to Review] My friend decided he wanted to check out other fantasy novels, after a lifetime of only Tolkien. I reccommended the first book in ASoI&F and he adored it.

...right up until the end of GoT, at which point he was so pissed off at Martin that he DID throw he book at the wall and refuse to read any others in the series.


message 2: by Bill (new) - added it

Bill hi nataliya...you might want to try the legends of the red sun series which starts with Nights of Villjamur...i've read the first 2 now, and i think they are really great.


Nataliya Well, the book I was reading belonged to a friend, who would definitely be unhappy with me if I had damaged her copy.
And I would be unhappy with myself if I had damaged the wall of my rented apartment and lost my deposit.

No book throwing for the above reasons.


Nataliya Bill wrote: "hi nataliya...you might want to try the legends of the red sun series which starts with Nights of Villjamur...i've read the first 2 now, and i think they are really great."

Added! Will give it a shot.


[Name Redacted By Goodreads Because Irrelevant to Review] Ha ha, that friend had anger management problems -- he'd already dented the wall by throwing a mouse, a remote, a keyboard and a Wii-mote at it. ;)


Regina Amazing amazing review, really your intro captures everything I went through, "This book made me want to throw it against the wall in anger and disbelief. It made me root for the death of a child (and then despise myself), love a hated character, cry angry tears, and bite my nails because of all the suspense."

And bad bad girl for missing class!


Regina Ian wrote: "My friend decided he wanted to check out other fantasy novels, after a lifetime of only Tolkien. I reccommended the first book in ASoI&F and he adored it.

...right up until the end of GoT, at whic..."


My husband did this with the end of #5. He was so frustrated -- I have no idea way b/c I am slowly going through the series and only up through Storm. The ending of Game of Thrones is a harsh intro to GRRM's brutal world.


Nataliya Thanks, Regina!

Oh, and the end of Book 5... I know exactly the source of your husband's frustration. You will see... And we all will find out how THAT ultimately plays out soon in 6-7 years, if the current book release trend is any indication.


Seak (Bryce L.) You explained so well my exact reaction to this book, especially with Jaime, which is also why this series will always be tops for me.


Lainyalady I know exactly which part you are talking about because I just passed that part and I had the same reaction! Ahhhh! Must keep reading. :)


Idunsses was I the only one who cried a little when Jon and Ghost was reunited? God I dont how I'm gonna make it through AFFC without them =(


Nataliya Idunsses wrote: "was I the only one who cried a little when Jon and Ghost was reunited? God I dont how I'm gonna make it through AFFC without them =("

The Jon-less AFFC was not as fun of a read. At least Jaime's chapters made it worth reading for me. But at least now you have the option to immediately move on ADWD for more Jon-related action (I wish I were that lucky years ago when I read AFFC).


Joseph Ahh, jesus. you could've said the spoiler was for a future book, rather than the one you're talking about(that also happens to be one of the ones I've finished)


Nataliya Joseph wrote: "Ahh, jesus. you could've said the spoiler was for a future book, rather than the one you're talking about(that also happens to be one of the ones I've finished)"

Joseph - which spoiler are you talking about? I tried to be careful and vague enough to not give away any of the plot points of the books that follow this one. I can't pinpoint the particular spoiler you're talking about, but please let me know so that I can remove it or put a double warning there.


Joseph "Both of them at the end of this story carry such potential for the future of this series. [Having read book 5..." It's not too revealing, so don't worry about it too much, it just hasn't let me rest easy and has made it even harder to resist going on asoiaf.wikia, to find out what happens. I may have misinterpreted it though (and am clinging onto the hope that I have).


Nataliya Ah, really? I did not think of it as really much of a spoiler. The thing it, shortly before writing this review, I was venting on GR about book 5 which I did not care much about (too many POVs, too little story progression, too much of the same thing going on, in my opinion). This is really what I was referring to - the set up for the story of both Jon and Dany was excellent in book 3 but in book 5 Martin did not follow up that much on what book 3 promised, getting caught up instead in side plots. In my opinion, book 5 would have benefitted from heavy editing and gentle but firm redirecting of Martin's naarrative flow (or should I say, narrative stagnation). That's the wasted potential, without further spoilers.


Joseph Oh ok. Glad to hear I misinterpreted you. I kinda got the impression was wasted due to a sudden death. I probably wouldn't have made that mistake if we were talking about any other author, but it was enough to get me worried.


message 18: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Phew, I immediately interpreted the book 5 spoiler to mean that both Jon and Dany die!! At least I've come to expect that no character is safe... :D


Nataliya Emma wrote: "Phew, I immediately interpreted the book 5 spoiler to mean that both Jon and Dany die!! At least I've come to expect that no character is safe... :D"

Oh, I wouldn't so casually spoil something as huge as THAT! it's just that Martin's writing in the last 2 books is becoming too clogged by filler - that's what I'm griping about.


message 20: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Even if it HAD been a casual spoiler it serves me right for reading it after you'd hidden it, haha! But, yeah, I figured it was just my overactive sense of pending doom (that I always have to shake off after reading these books) which was making me assume the worst. I'm glad to know ahead of time that the next books won't be as well-paced as A Storm of Swords, that way my expectations won't be so disappointed. Thanks for that!!
I can't believe how much GRRM is trying to juggle. Maybe my next review will make a list of all the side plots he didn't need :P However, I hold high hopes that the next book will lend them some more importance...perhaps nothing is as mundane as it seems at first glance, but I might end up being guilty of some skimming.

Great review ;)


Nataliya Thanks, Emma! I agree with you on all the side plots. I think he adds way too many of them, and expresses them through too many POV characters. It gets tiring to read, honestly. I think he needs a firm input from his editors redirecting him in this series towards the finish line.


Lauren Great review! I loved how my opinion on Jamie changed after reading this book. i just wish it didn't take the whole book for (view spoiler)


Fenixxx Great review, imagine my shock to discover after 700 pages or so... That Jamie Lannister had become one of my favorite characters! also i can't question what the imp does in the last pages you mess with the imp you're gonna get impslapped, it is known.


Nataliya Fenixxx wrote: "Great review, imagine my shock to discover after 700 pages or so... That Jamie Lannister had become one of my favorite characters! also i can't question what the imp does in the last pages you mess..."

Thanks! Yes, I had the same shock with Jaime - Martin does do an excellent job turning a villain into a quite sympathetic character, doesn't he?


Katharina wow! I felt exactly the same when IT happened. I thought I had misread or something. I just sat there, book falling shut on my lap, not able to comprehend how he could've written such a thing!! I didn't want to read on being so cross but I just couldn't stop either. worst thing was not to spoil my boyfriend who awaits me having finished storm of swords.


Nataliya Yes, when IT happened it was pretty soul-crashing. I still resent him for that a bit. It was so senseless, honestly!


message 27: by Jeff (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jeff Laino Are we talking about the IT from ADWD..? Because I DID throw my book against the wall! Still holding out hope that IT wasn't truly what it seemed. :(


Nataliya No, in this case we are talking about IT from A Storm of Swords (view spoiler).

I don't really think IT from ADWD is actually real ((view spoiler)). I'm sure IT will be reversed with a help of a certain Red Priestess come book 6. Because otherwise the whole long 5-book plotline including the character involved in IT would have been entirely pointless, and that would be beyond frustrating.


Anton I think this is the best book in the series


Nataliya Anton wrote: "I think this is the best book in the series"

I agree; it's the strongest of the five so far.


Hermione I read the same as you! I had to get up and pace the room, make a cup of tea and get over the shock of what I just read!! AMAZING BOOK!! xx


Nataliya Hermione wrote: "I read the same as you! I had to get up and pace the room, make a cup of tea and get over the shock of what I just read!! AMAZING BOOK!! xx"

I clearly agree :D


message 33: by Kris (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kris Excellent review! Unbelievable story!


Nataliya Kris wrote: "Excellent review! Unbelievable story!"

Thanks, Kris!


Abdulaziz Almadi Then tell me, if your heart still aches when you listen to "The Rains of Castamere" by The National. Because, like you, I'm still in disbelief.


Nataliya Abdulaziz wrote: "Then tell me, if your heart still aches when you listen to "The Rains of Castamere" by The National. Because, like you, I'm still in disbelief."

I had no idea it was an actual song...


Abdulaziz Almadi I never knew that until I got the 2nd season's OST.. it's part of the official soundtrack so I guess they will play it in the next season. :(


Penelope Agh! I thought the spoiler was for this book, not for the next books. With GRRM's track record, I take it to mean one or the other dies (or both). This series is killing me! Anyway, thanks for your review! I just finished reading it a few minutes ago and ran to Goodreads to see what others had to say. You put my exact thoughts into words in a way I couldn't have. :)


Nataliya Penelope wrote: "Agh! I thought the spoiler was for this book, not for the next books. With GRRM's track record, I take it to mean one or the other dies (or both). This series is killing me! Anyway, thanks for your..."

Thanks, Penelope! And as for the spoiler - I tried to be vague, but it does not necessarily mean death (I'm still trying to be vague as you only read the first three books). Basically, book 5 disappointed me - maybe because I spent so many years waiting for it, and it just did not live to the promise this book hinted at. There was a lot of meandering and plotting but very little in the way of happenings and resolutions, including the storylines of Jon and Dany. That's really the wasted potential I'm referring to. ADWD was not a bad book, really, but it could have been easily edited into a much more compact volume, and could have been easily combined with Book 4 given how little either of them moved the story forward.

I wonder, however, if the experience of the people who did not have to wait for the long years between books 4 and 5 will be different than mine. But right now, for me book 3 remains the high point of this series.


Wordsmith Great review Nataliya! I too loved this series, very quickly becoming a gushing fan, my praise would gusheth-over at times, into phrases going well past the praise stage, bursting out of me sounding more like a stalker, a freaky, awe-ish, babble, my heart-felt attempt to convey just how high the heights could be, where I had placed this pedestal for Mr. Martin to sway amidst my reverent and fan-gushing love. I tell you true, I fell hard for these books.
Now—delayed gratification as a concept, a philosophy of day to day living is one I studiously avoided most of my life. But of course people change as they get older, hopefully getting a little wiser. These changes are not only internal, but external as well, visible in ones circumstances and what have you. NOW I do subscribe to every worthy value inherent in delayed gratification. It doesn't always have to be "now," or even soon. Or let's say, I'm capable of doing so, when the need arises.
So... I read Books 1-4 in like 2 weeks, maybe 2 1/2, a crazed, reading, madwoman, I couldn't stop. (No DG there!) I was hooked! However, realizing Book 6 wasn't even written yet, realizing only God and GRRM has a clue about any of THAT, I decided to wait on Book 5 until Book 6 got here, as I'm sure I'll go back and read them from the beginning, whenever that day comes. (When—Not IF—I *BELIEVE*)
Funny though, this is not a book I would have read. I had ignored it for years..."Not my genre," I'd say with a yawn. Then it (Book 1) came up in a book club I was in. And Oh Wow, was I hooked! Looking back though, several of us were of an opinion this was one of those rare books that weren't right for a BC read, especially if trying to make it a stand-alone. Because if (some of) you have gone on to Books 2, 3 or 4, it's hard to keep the discussion relevant only to Book 1, as things change so quickly and are no longer relevant if you HAVE gone on.
You said:
"The previously unseen connections between characters and events are mind-blowing"
Absolutely. I always say it's like chess on acid. Stacks of chess boards, connected at the corners making a huge tower. All these boards. All these games. All these pawns/players/characters. All these lives. Every move affects another. But no one knows where that move is coming from or who will be affected by it. What will be affected? How will the who or the what be affected? And with all these pawns/players/characters moving all the time, sometimes (ofttimes) at the same time, the world can (and does) change on a dime. The turn of a page. Nothing is ever as it seems.
Between you and Steven I feel this compelling urge to re-read a few of my (longer) books. Arghh, no time, at this time. I'll have to make-do with your great review.


Jenni I can't wait to finish this book so I can read the spoilers!! :)


Ana Paula What a fantastic review! I was also as pissed as you were. When I finished reading the mentioned part it was 3 a.m. and I really needed to sleep. I couldn`t! I was for 1 hour on my bed hating everything like it happened in real life. I came back to loving the book later, though.


message 43: by Arielle (new)

Arielle An amazing review. Thank you for hiding spoilers. I've just purchased "ASOS" and "AFFC" yesterday and would rather not see the spoilers, as many people have up on Goodreads. Your review really makes me want to read the book! Crossing my fingers that they'll come quickly!


Nataliya Arielle wrote: "An amazing review. Thank you for hiding spoilers. I've just purchased "ASOS" and "AFFC" yesterday and would rather not see the spoilers, as many people have up on Goodreads. Your review really make..."

Thanks, Arielle! Hiding spoilers was a rare feat of self-discipline for me, actually (I'm one of those readers who does not mind being spoiled - but it seems that we are a minority in the book-reading world).


StoryTellerShannon ASOS is my favorite novel of the current five even if bad things happen to "good" people.


Nataliya StoryTellerShannon wrote: "ASOS is my favorite novel of the current five even if bad things happen to "good" people."

I agree - I thought it was the strongest entry in the series so far, the high point before the (relatively) much-disliked fourth book.


StoryTellerShannon I agree that AFFC was a drop but I'd still give it a B to B plus, especially if you like the world building. The big issue with that one was that GRRM used the "B Team" and slowed down the story pace and then you get some people saying "Nothing happens" which really means they wanted the plot to move along faster and probably with their one or two favorite characters.


Nataliya The slowing of the pace was a big issue in AFFC - I think mostly due to expansion of the storyline to include the sizeable side cast. By the time everyone gets a POV, there's not too much room to move the story forward.

I'm in a camp who wishes he'd just split the AFFC-ADWD book in two based on chronology and not geography - it would have been a tad more bearable to go through the slow pacing knowing that Tyrion or Jon (or even Dany) chapters were to come.

Had GRRM not taken so long between his books, the slow story progression after the events of ASOS would have not seemed so frustrating. But the long wait between volumes invariably leads to readers building up so many expectations that it's near impossible to meet them all.

Off topic, I'm rereading Druon's 'The Iron King' which apparently GRRM calls 'the original Game of Thrones' - and my childhood wide-eyed impression of it still stands. Nice intrigues - no wonder they have inspired GRRM. (And all seven books have been finished for decades, and we can always consult history textbooks to learn what happened after the end of the series ;)


StoryTellerShannon I'll check it out with the other twenty billion books. Thanks.


message 50: by Arielle (new)

Arielle Nataliya wrote: "Arielle wrote: "An amazing review. Thank you for hiding spoilers. I've just purchased "ASOS" and "AFFC" yesterday and would rather not see the spoilers, as many people have up on Goodreads. Your re..."

You're welcome, Nataliya. I'm about thirty pages away from starting A Clash of Kings. I literally flew through Game of Thrones (the first book). I'll have to check out 'The Iron King' in future, for future reading! Sounds awesome!


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