A Storm of Swords might just be my favourite book in this series. So far. Westeros is still at war. Winterfell has fallen, leaving one of our kings without a kingdom. Stannis has been defeated, and while he may have a kingdom, he does not have any army.
As the war continues, the reader is left to continually wonder just who are the good guys and the bad guys here anyway. All the major characters are tested. Some pass with flying colours, others fail miserably. And yet others do not survive.
The best part of A Storm of Swords is by far the deepening of the magic. Now more than ever it becomes clear you are reading fantasy. The dead do not always stay that way. Dragons live again. Bran Stark is really coming into his own, too. Once a weak and whiny character (not his fault, when the story began he was eight years old and newly crippled), Bran is now discovering the full extent of his abilities and if off on a quest of his own, North of the Wall.
Joffrey becomes even crueller a king than even I anticipated. Even his mother begins to doubt his ability to rule. Jon returns from his time with the wildlings, more mature and experienced for it, but still quite young and naïve. Catelyn’s world crumbles around her, each moment more tragic than the next. The chapters she narrates are heartbreaking, and the choices she makes lead to one of the most interesting plot twists yet: releasing Jamie Lannister, the Kingslayer, under the protection of Brienne of Tarth.
By the novels end, two kings are dead, and the Night’s Watch has a new Lord Commander. And I could not wait to get to the next book. Bad news: it’s the last one available. Good news: book five will be published in mid July.
Mass Market Paperback: 1216 pages
Publisher: Bantam; 1 edition (Mar 4 2003)