Each one of these humongous books has managed to completely captivate me. I have loved listening to the characters evolve with this series as their fantastical world changes around them. Nothing is off-limits and nobody is sacred. As anxious as it makes me, the fact that I never know what to expect next is a big plus for me. When you read as much as I do, it is rare to be surprised, but Mr. Martin manages to keep me guessing.
While the second book had multiple kings rising to power and fighting for their piece of the Iron Throne, this book took the story in an entirely different direction. What goes up must come down. In this epic saga full of scheming and betrayals, the power players are constantly changing. ‘A Storm of Swords’ completely changes the landscape of this story yet again.
Aside from the fall of kings, the way the characters are presented had me rethinking my previous judgments. As each character’s thoughts and actions were explored, it became clear that there is no “good” or “bad” person. Even despicable characters had redeeming qualities and/or motivations that were understandable, if not admirable. Similarly, the less than pure intentions and actions of some of my favorite characters were brought to light. Everyone is flawed and vulnerable in some way.
The only exception to this was Joffrey. I couldn’t find a single redeeming quality in that evil brat. Maybe it was there and my hatred for him just wouldn’t allow me to see it. Nonetheless, he remained true to his role of “ultimate villain”.
As with the first two books in the series, be prepared for plenty of blood and gore. Characters will die, sometimes gruesomely. Don’t get too attached. This definitely isn’t a series for the faint of heart.
Now that I’ve finished the third book, I can begin to spot some of the inconsistencies between the books and the HBO series. There are some omissions that have been made, but nothing that I thought was critical to this story so far. I’ve also noticed that a few things are presented out of sequence. Again, this didn’t take away from the enjoyment for me, but it was noticeable if you’re reading and watching subsequently.
Overall, I am still loving this story. It is still confusing at times, with an extremely complex storyline. However, I feel like I’m getting a better grasp on things. It’s on to the next one for me.