Tuesday I talked about children’s books. Now to totally change directions: I just finished A Storm of Swords, the third book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.
I was late to the Game of Thrones party. In my defense, I was six when the book first came out, and while I always liked to push the boundaries when I read, no six year old on earth should read George R. R. Martin. He is a dirty old man! But he is also a genius. There’s not anything I love so much in fiction as a well built world. And Martin has given us quite the architectural masterpiece. His books are rich with detail (like page long descriptions of what’s being eaten), and while I definitely wouldn’t want to live in Westeros, I would love to visit some of the places he’s created. A giant wall of ice? That sounds awesome.
And then there’s his characters. I love the way we get all the characters’ points of view. I like stories that present different characters and then show us how their lives connect (like Love Actually or David Levithan’s The Realm of Possibility), but Martin takes it to a new level. It’s fascinating to watch his characters’ stories unfold and the way he weaves them all together. He successfully creates sympathy for the meanest, foulest characters, and he is wonderful at creating gray characters. I still don’t know if some of the characters are good or bad, and three books and several thousand pages into it.
I also have to give him credit for his twists. I am pretty good at figuring out plots. Certain things just make sense to happen, and I can usually spot a red herring. But Martin is good. Some of his twists are just so crazy, there’s no way to see them coming. I was quite literally speechless at the end of Storm of Swords…it was unthinkable and it was genius.
After the month it took me to finish Swords, I’m taking a break. The longer I can prolong reading the series, the less time I will have to wait for the next book to come out, right? Plus, I need some recovery time after the amazing ridiculousness that just happened!