A Storm of Swords – George R. R. Martin

This is the third of the bestselling sword and sorcery (fantasy) series. As with the second book, this is more of the same stuff that was in the first book.

Same stuff: several claimants to the throne competing by, er, sword and sorcery. And political chicanery. Oh, and there’s winter coming and trouble up north. In fact, trouble all around as outlaws and deserters take advantage of the gaping cracks in the rule of law and order.

Same stuff: you may get hungry reading the book. The author is keen to give you the details of what his characters ate. I don’t know why, but this approach brings to mind the phrase: “The condemned man ate a hearty breakfast.” Many of these characters are, indeed, condemned.

Differences? Of the three books I have read, this one dragged the most. There is still plenty of action, and still characters of note falling by the wayside, but to my mind there was an abundance of padding.

For example, there are several cases where characters ruminate about their history, family, predicament, and so on. And then they ruminate some more. Are such ruminations needed? Although I truly do not know – since once minor characters may rise and fall – the distinct impression I repeatedly had was that the author was showing off how much work had gone into his world. In other words, all his family trees, histories, and other background material was extensive, and wasn’t he a clever, hard working, and entertaining author?

Maybe he is, but I am not making the effort to wade through any more of his world. I’m going to watch the TV series.

Read the first two and if enjoy them and you really, really, really must have more, read the third. But don’t expect it to be as good. Of course, you may have different tastes.

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