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Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Book review - GOT A Storm of Swords: 1. Steel and Snow

Before I went on holiday I finally completed completed the third book in the Game of Thrones series (yes I know there are seven and an eighth on the horizon but I'm not quite there yet).  My husband bought me the box set for Christmas 2013, and with all the books I have to read with my Uni courses, I barely get time to read a long book for pleasure so I am only up to this book so far.  I did study the first book in one of my BA modules and I thought it was great. It was an easy read and I loved following the different characters however the only way I can describe Clash of the Kings for me is PAINFUL.  It took me so long to read it and I just couldn't get into it.  It was hard work and I found Ser Davos' chapters tedious!  I think that's why it took me so long to finally pick up book three.

OK, so I started book three and I read it in just over two weeks.  There are 769 pages so I don't think it was too bad for me, however I did read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in Three days (the hubby was quite annoyed actually as I was falling asleep in bed with the hard-backed version and I kept nodding off and hitting him with it, haha), I suppose it did take me some time but I didn't have three children back then or work the unsociable hours I tend to now.

I enjoyed Arya Stark's and Jon Snow's chapters the most. Arya was on a journey through the lands during a time of war disguised as a boy.  Jon Snow was working under cover with the wildlings for the Castle Black, and both his and Samwell's characters introduce the white walkers in more detail.

Both Sansa and Catelyn Stark were quite interesting as both had difficult times, and difficult decisions to make as women.  Tyrion Lannister was brushed aside in the story by his own family and I must admit although I thought he deserved the role of Hand of the King, I thought he was a more interesting character when he was demoted and discriminated against by his family.  His chapters never failed to amuse!

Arya's Brother, Bran, was also on a journey but this was more a self realisation of what he has become since his third eye opened and he became a Warg.  He chose to separate himself from his younger brother and go to find his destiny.  The character of Daenerys also developed well as she gained control of her life after the loss of her husband and child, and freed slaves.  Her Queen-like prowess certainly grows well in this novel as she struggled through and seemed to lack direction in book 2.

Reading from the point of view of Jaime Lannister was a good addition to book three.  He has always came across as the villain but in this book my opinion of him alters.  He and Brienne become friends, he becomes a more humbled character, less arrogant.  He loses his sword-baring hand and he has a lot to contemplate in relation to what this means for him as a knight.

All of the characters in the story have suffered huge losses, and although I didn't find book 2 an important read, I do think it set the scene for the development of the characters in book 3.  George R. R. Martin writes from a different point of view per chapter so the characters are the key to the novels.  I find I'm more excited to read the next book now because Storm of Swords part 1. Steel and Snow, from my point of view was easy to get lost in, it was an easy but interesting read with strong character development.  It was easy to imagine how the characters had gotten older in comparison to the first book and I think that Martin has a talent here as from a creative writing point of view, this is not an easy thing to do and it could go either very well, or very badly.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.  I also like the series and I am up-to-date with that so I do have characters implanted in my head already.  I am not sure if that actually enhances the experience or hinders it.  What do you think?  Have you read any of the GOT series?  I've heard book 7 is quite hard to read as Cersei's chapters are quite tedious and difficult to bare.  What do you think of the character per chapter layout?  Do you find any parts of them difficult/easy to read?

I did like this book much more than A Clash of the Kings, and more or less on the same level as A Game of Thrones, personally, but it would be great to share views?

PS. If you haven't seen the series or read the books and like Fantasy as a genre, you should certainly give it a try!

Laters, Janet :)

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