A Storm of Swords: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others, a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords....
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|Listening Length||47 hours and 34 minutes|
|Author||George R.R. Martin|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||March 11, 2004|
|Publisher||Random House Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #344 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#28 in Action & Adventure Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
#53 in Epic Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
#53 in Fantasy Action & Adventure
Reviewed in the United States on January 14, 2022
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GRRM delivers a RARE series - a sophisticatedly written series - it is both mature and complex at every level, and manages to do so without tedium, but quite the opposite. I've found myself hardly able to bear moving to each successive chapter to follow a separate storyline or character due to the gripping story in the one I was reading. But as I switched gears to the next "nugget" in this grandly woven tale, I found myself equally enthralled by THAT storyline.
As far as the cast of characters - it is vast. And character development is sophisticated. You have a vast range of personalities, motivations, biases, vices, scheming, hurts, etc. You watch upon a stage where the marionette has directed their interplay so intricately it is a believable plotline that echoes real life as action and schemes between characters collide. And as time moves forward in the story you experience those characters exult in victory, seethe with hatred, quail in defeat, rage in frustrated schemes, and hope against hope. Not only that - but they grow with their experiences. Their motivations can at times be complex scheming or simple earthy passion (whether that be angry violence or lust or daydreaming). The stage is set with a great cast as well - both men and women each with their subtleties and unique persona. Not every woman is a damsel, just as not every man is a hero - which is fantastic.
As far as the politicking - it is multilayered. You have Lords and Kings vying for position, status, power, peace, justice, or vengeance. This through marriages, treaty, war, subterfuge, assassination, etc. You have the character level politicking where personal vices come into play whether that be noble or ignoble - rooted in either their sense of duty, selfishness, naiveté, or other. Its just so varied and rarely formulaic or repeatable.
I can't necessarily say there are plot twists in the traditional sense of the word (where one can almost feel the author shout 'got ya! - didn't see THAT coming eh?' to the dumbfounded reader). The machinations of each character in this vast stage - competing and colliding with one another's - and that ends up speaking for itself. The reader may cheer or curse depending on a particular turn of events, but that has more to do with the efforts of one party or another succeeding against all others. It's a dose of near-reality. Plans win and fail - and there isn't an overarching "blessed" subset of characters. It is extremely refreshing and entirely spellbinding.
As far as action, magic, and monsters. There is very little compared to what one would expect in the scifi fantasy paperback novels. There are clashes and contests. There are strange creatures and powers, yes. But this isn't your summer 80s Schwarzenegger/Stallone action flick. This is a sophisticated story that has such content in its proper place and not gratuitously. There is fighting but it's not center piece as a simpleton's hack and slash hero-save-princess-defeat-demonprince novel. Nor is this series meager on action. There is plenty - yes there's fighting, but there's also violence, there's action-y physical feats, there's sex. Sometimes it can be raw brutality, exposing the crueler and despicable side found in humanity (torture, rape, etc). GRRM doesn't have wizards bouncing around making things blow up like "Tim the Enchanter" nor do we have some wondrous creature at every turn. The reader will find that yes - magic and monsters do come on stage, but it's not the centerpiece, obviously.
The good vs evil hero's saga akin to Tolkien is great. One will find store shelves littered with lesser versions of that, and in much simpler format. GRRM is on an entirely different track - where multilayered politicking vies against the striving of characters good and bad. Wars, fights, loves, plots, etc - all go into a great tumbler. The protagonists (assumedly so because of their nobler aspirations) don't necessarily win. Plenty of characters whom the reader may come to empathize with may be frustrated (even killed). It's part of the reason why the series is so exciting to read - you are never assured of how things will turn out.
As for myself - I am an eclectic reader. I've enjoyed writings from Hawthorne, Nordic sagas, Homer's Iliad, Shakespeare, Cervantez (Don Quixote), Jane Austin, Dickens, Tolkien, Chaucer, Vonnegut, Alexander Dumas, Michael Moorcock, Victor Hugo, to LRHubbard, etc.
If you've enjoyed any of the authors as such listed above, TRY this series. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised. It is very well written.
Many, many, many deaths in this one (even for the series). It could have almost been called a Dance of Death as apposed to a Storm of Swords. Some were pretty bad, but thankfully, some of those deaths were finally people who really needed a knife shoved in their throat. For all the good who perished, at least the bad got it just as well. Seemed a lot like real war to me. No matter who wins the war, the accumulation of deaths makes everyone a loser.
This series is at the point now where I'm just not sure it can continue to improve. You all know what I'm talking about. The need to improve and beat the prior the work tends to lead to a level of complexity and increasing liberty with the need to suspend reality in later work. I am hopeful that GRRM won't fall into this category, and the next novel will lend its greatness not an attempt to eclipse the others, but instead lead off in a new direction of awesome. We shall see, but just to make sure I'm well rested, I'm going to read a different work first.
My brain feels half fried from that giant shake of information I just inhaled through my eyes.
Martin uses several point of view characters to tell the “Storm of Swords.” There’s Tyrion, smart and clever, yet a dwarf who is the butt of his nephew’s cruel jabs. There’s Robb, the King of the North, who must win the Frey’s favor or lose all he has gained. Jon, on the Wall, must find out information on the Wildlings and the Others, using all of his cunning to survive. Jamie must not only use his sword, but his wits to make it back to King’s Landing. Arya escapes the city only to find herself a captive and pawn to various outlaws who would use her as a hostage for their benefit. Stannis must prove himself a king, so he travels to the Wall, hoping to save it. Then there’s Daenrys, who learns how to use her swords to conquer, but she must learn to rule before returning to Westros.
Every story involves violence, sword play, and cunning. As the realm loses its tenuous grip on the various kingdoms, secrets are revealed, proving a precursor to the upcoming battle between ice (the others) and fire (the dragons).
The characters are honest, real, and interesting. There’s good and bad and even some in between – like the “Hound,” Sandor Clegane. Everyone has a distinct motivation to do what they do, even if unknown to the reader. I’m always wondering what is driving a character.
A “Storm of Swords” grows the story, looks deeper into the players, and takes the reader on an adventure of a lifetime!
Top reviews from other countries
On balance, because of some of the boring fluff and other frustrations which mar the story a bit I'm going to give this 4 rather than 5 stars, but I do think this is a great book. The author has taken on the task of describing a World War in fantasy form. It is epic, fascinating, and ultimately rewarding.
The Song of Fire and Ice series is fantasy for adults. Plenty of sex and violence, sure, but with a rich world and interesting, relatable characters, who are never really "good" or "bad", but are simply trying to survive their brutal existence as best they can. George RR Martin really brings the world to life with his descriptive prose (he seems to have a particular interest in describing clothing in detail, but you soon get used to that). He's also not afraid to kill off characters, even major ones, at any point in the story by any means. This adds a real sense of danger.
As with most fantasy, there are dragons and giants and the like, but mostly the story revolves around the power struggle of the knights and lords in the seven kingdoms of Westeros. The chapters are each told from a different character's perspective, which is really refreshing.
My only slight complaint would be that occasionally too many characters are introduced in quick succession. This can be overwhelming, and you find yourself not remembering the important ones later on.
On to a Feast for Crows, then...
Martin writes believable characters in the midst of some totally weird situations; characters behave in really complex ways, just like real people do and I like the way Martin captures the way people don't always do the things you think they will do. I also like the way, because it is written from different perspectives, you get a variety of view points and you get a glimpse into how miscommunication, misinterpretation and confusions come about.
I couldn't put it down until I got to that point where you know that if you read for too much longer, you will finish the book but you don't want to finish the book - oh the agony of that dilemma! I now have to decide how long I can put off buying the next one.