Tag Archives: A Storm of Swords

The Best and the Worst of 2014

The year 2014 ended with 17 books read, which was way off my intended goal of 30 books.  Again, the problem is that I read some very long books.  In fact, the number of pages was almost as many as 2013.  However, I will challenge myself with 30 books again this year.  But this time, I’ll be reading every night before bed.

In 2014, I was a bit harder on books in terms of ratings, though it may be because I didn’t read many really great ones.  I only gave 2 books 5 stars.  I gave a 4 1/2 and some 4s, though.  I also rated a book that was only 2 stars.

I think that’s where we’ll start.  Let’s look at the worst book I read this year, down at number 17.  After that, the top 5.

Worst of the Year

#17 – The Somali Doctrine

I got this book as a freebie from Amazon, and noticed it had some low ratings on Goodreads.  I went into it with an open mind, though.  I like things like James Bond, and this was somewhat reminiscent of 007, but there weren’t many similarities.  It was filled with improbably situations, like the hero getting captured many times, only to escape each time somehow.  The villains were completely one-dimensional with very little in the way of depth.  I was glad when it was over.

Top 5 of 2014

annihilationofforeverland#5 – The Annihilation of Foreverland

This was my pleasant surprise of the year, and also the first time I’ve included a self-published indie novel to my top five.  It was imaginative, quite well-done, and filled with interesting characters.  There were so many twists to this story, it had me guessing what was going to happen.  I thoroughly enjoyed this science fiction offering.

wizardsfirstrule#4 – Wizard’s First Rule

Despite my somewhat negative review, I did give this 4 stars and I did actually enjoy reading it.  This epic fantasy novel opened The Sword of Truth in a good way with some good world-building, interesting characters, and a completely surprising Wizard’s First Rule.  I couldn’t believe it.  In general, it’s left a more positive memory now, and I want to get back into the series and read more.  I liked it.

angelfireeast#3 – Angel Fire East

The Word & the Void became dark and serious! It was the best of this Shannara prequel series, and has me excited for The Genesis of Shannara, which I hope to start reading this year.  Terry Brooks usually doesn’t get such acclaim, but I think this was one of his better works.  I’m a fan of Shannara.  In this book, we get to read about the effects of drug abuse and see some of the darkest deaths I’ve seen Brooks write about. Great ending.

theriseofendymion#2 – The Rise of Endymion

The truly epic Hyperion Cantos ended with this novel, and in my opinion, it was the best of the four books.  I was pulled in and enjoyed the roller coaster ride that this book put me through.  Incredible characters, beautiful and wondrous worlds, and lots of mysteries were tied up.  This was going to be number one choice until I read another book later in the year.  More on that soon.  This book was very difficult to predict.  I had no idea where it was going.  But one thing had me hooked, and it was the characters.  Endymion and Aenea’s relationship was wonderful, and there was an amazingly touching moment later in the book.  Truly a great book.

astormofswords#1 – A Storm of Swords

George R. R. Martin returns to the top after being #2 in 2013.  Things in Westeros really picked up in this book, and while the first part of the book was a bit slow, it blew me away so many times in the rest of the story, I couldn’t wait to see what happened.  He kills a lot of characters again, of course, and changes the course of the story drastically.  And shockingly, Jaime Lannister has become my new favourite Lannister.  Sandor Clegane is also very interesting.  There are so many twists that I can never figure out what’s going to happen next.  Incredible! And this is why it’s my favourite book of 2014.

Agree or disagree with my choices?  Let me know in the comments below. And what was your favourite (and least favourite) book in 2014?

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Book Review – A Storm of Swords

astormofswordsA Storm of Swords

Author: George R. R. Martin

Series: A Song of Ice and Fire #3

Genre: Fantasy

Published 2000

Review Copy: Paperback bought new

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Goodreads Description

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, victim of the sorceress who holds him in her thrall. Young Robb still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. And as opposing forces maneuver for the final showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost limits of civilization, accompanied by 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…

Review

A Storm of Swords is the third installment in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire epic fantasy series.  It continues the war in Westeros and the battle over who is king.  In this book, we see some big changes.  Huge changes.  You know how sequels are usually not as good as the original?  Well, I think this one exceeds not only the first book, but also the second.  What a ride!

As with the previous two books, each chapter is simply titled with the point-of-view character’s name.  This time, those characters are Arya, Sansa, Bran, Tyrion, Catelyn, Jon, Daenerys, Davos, and two newcomers, Jaime Lannister and Samwell.  We no longer follow Theon.  I found that the most compelling storylines were of Arya, Jon, Daenerys, and Jaime.  Sansa’s getting a bit smarter, but still a bit annoying.  Bran has a major story going on, and while it’s interesting, I felt it didn’t have as much impact as others.  Tyrion’s still my favourite Lannister, but he’s lost his touch a bit.  Catelyn is still Catelyn, a character I don’t particularly like.  Davos was never that interesting to me.  Samwell has a good story, but it’s not at the top.  Now, Jaime’s story, I really enjoyed that.  Not only did I enjoy his point of view, I’ve come to actually like him as a character.  Loving his sarcastic sense of humour.  Arya is a very good character, and I’m enjoying how her development is going.  There are things going on with her that are quite interesting, I have suspicions about something that will happen, but I’m not quite sure yet.  Jon is going on to bigger things, and he’s had quite an up and down story.  I’m very interested in seeing where it goes.  Daenerys is still on the other side of the sea, but things are changing a lot for her, as well.  We’re seeing the development of a leader.  We also see that not everything is as it seems with her and those with her.  I’m really enjoying some other non-POV characters, such as Sandor Clegane, Peter Baelish, and a very mysterious cold handed person from beyond the wall.  I have suspicions about him, but I’ll wait to see what happens.

The world continues to be great to explore, and we’re seeing more of it, including Daenerys’s exploits.  The number of cultures is astounding.  I can easily visualise everything that’s going on, and I feel like I’m going along in a medieval world that is somewhat dark and dreary at times.  It all feels damp.  Of course, it rained a lot.

The story has always been extremely good.  The intricate linking between the individual stories is incredibly well-done.  This book had a bit of a downside, though.  The middle was a bit slow-going, but it really picked up toward the end.  And what an end it is.  Chapter after chapter had me shocked and amazed.  So many unbelievable things happened that I was wondering what was next.  By the end, this is what I was thinking: What the?  Mr. Martin, you’ve made this reader very happy and very excited about reading the next book.  Never have my thoughts and emotions been manipulated by a book as much as this one.  Bravo.

So, I can’t give this lower than a score of 5 out of 5 stars.  It deserves it.  Best one so far.  Wow.

I Actually Like More Than One Lannister

Shocking, isn’t it? Everyone loves Tyrion. I like him, too. I find him one of the most fascinating characters in the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

As I’ve been reading A Storm of Swords, my opinion has been changing on one of the Lannisters. Could it be Tommen? Actually, I know very little about him. How about Cersei? No way. She’s still a cold bitch. Still don’t like Tywin. Joffrey? Never. How about Ser Kevan Lannister? I’m pretty neutral about him. Who does that leave?

That’s right, I’ve grown to like Jaime Lannister. Shocked? Well, I’ll leave you with that thought.

There’s a Reason I Don’t Read Spoilers

I saw an article on Yahoo the other day about Game of Thrones, and I noticed it said there were spoilers. I did not read it. Whenever I see anything about Game of Thrones, I do my best to ignore it. I haven’t watched any of it.

You see, I’m currently reading A Storm of Swords, the third book in A Song of Ice and Fire, and the last several chapters I’ve read have shown me why I should never read spoilers. Huge twists in the plot. Incredibly major things happened that I did not see coming. In my mind, I’m thinking, “Holy crap! What the hell just happened?” I don’t want that feeling to stop, so I’m going to continue avoiding spoilers.

Currently Reading: Long Books

It seems I can’t get caught up with my Goodreads reading challenge.  I’m 6 books behind now.  But finally, I’m about to finish one of these really long books that just refuses to be finished.

I’m talking about M. R. Mathias’ The Sword and the Dragon, which I’m reading on my Kindle app.  It’s about 900 pages long, and since I don’t read eBooks very often, it’s been taking me what seems to be an eternity to finish.

To make matters worse, I started reading George R. R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords, which will take a long time.  And as if by coincidence (not really, but I didn’t plan it, either), I recorded a video tonight in a storm all about what I’m reading.  Check it out.

What are you reading this month?

Winter is Coming…in Summer

Well, there goes summer.  Back to Westeros I go.

I’ve been feeling a lot of anticipation recently.  I’m nearly finished reading Moving Pictures, and my next book is A Storm of Swords.  Back to the world of Westeros and the coming winter.  It was just pure luck that we had a storm coming through today, so I had to take the opportunity to make this brief video.

It’s not often that I feel such a great amount of anticipation for a book.  I’m really looking forward to this.

What are you looking forward to reading this summer?