A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow by George R.R. Martin
I read this novel after I had watched the end of Game of Thrones Season 2. The novel picks up slightly before the end of A Clash of Kings and it’s so hard to put down.
Tthe Seven Kingdoms are still being fought over by Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy, Stannis Baratheon and Joffrey Baratheon and we join the same characters from the previous novels in their adventures across the World of the Game of Thrones. Arya Stark has escaped Harrenhal and is trying to get back to her mother in Riverrun but Civil War means there are bandits and desperate common people along the way who pose a risk to her safety and her journey home. North of the Wall, the Brothers of the Nights Watch are attacked by Wights and Others leaving them battered and in shambles whereas Jon Snow is finding it hard to stay loyal to the Nights Watch whilst he spies on the Wildlings whilst masquerading as one of their own. Tyrion Lannister wakes to find his face hideously scarred, his place as Hand of the King usurped by his father and his position of power gone, but he will not allow himself to be so easily cast aside. Stannis is reeling from his defeat at King’s Landing but he continues to make plans to retake the Iron Throne while Jaime Lannister is still travelling to the capital on the orders of Catelyn Stark to be used as an exchange for her daughters. Meanwhile, in the North, Robb has suddenly married even though he was engaged to one of Walder Frey’s daughters. The sudden marriage endangers his alliance with house Frey and thus his position as king and his crown sits heavy upon his young head.
All in all, this novel is to the same standard as the two prior novels in the series. The plotline is packed with action and unexpected twists to the point where it’s hard to put the novel down at all. It’s a well written book that drags us into the world and allows us to live and breathe beside the characters. That said, at times it becomes hard to keep up with all the different characters we’re following. I often found I had to look back and check on prior events which can get quite confusing at times and one observation I will make about both the book and the series is the excessive use of bad language – namely the C word. I’m sorry, but even in a context this word is used far too freely. Maybe it’s because that word isn’t as bad in America, but either way I don’t enjoy that kind of thing but all in all, this is a good read and I’d recommend the series.