A Storm of Swords: a Song of Ice and Fire (book 3) by George R. R. Martin

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The Song of Ice and Fire books by Martin are fantastic.  My introduction to them was through my friend, Lawrence, who made me watch Season 1 of HBO’s A Game of Thrones with him.  I was hooked after the first episode.  Later when I showed it to my fiance, Ann, we both became so obsessed that we could not rest until we had watched all of season 2 as well.  Finally, my brother insisted that I start reading the books the series is based on.  My beloved uncle got the box set with the first 4 books for my family for Christmas and I am at the beginning of book 4.  The worst part about these books is that you CANNOT put them down once you crack the cover.  The characters are some of the best developed ones I’ve ever encountered.  The story keeps you guessing because crazy stuff goes down when you least expect it . . . and no one is safe.  Already, half a dozen main characters are dead and who knows how many more will fall.  Each book introduces twice the number of characters that are killed.  My friend Jordan loves the books as well and praises the third book as being the best so far; I’m with him.  The third book is unique for me because it was the first of the series in which I did not know what was going to happen before reading it.  Season 3 of Game of Thrones only premiered last Sunday.  By the time I started to read the first book, I had already seen the first two seasons of the show which correspond to the books.  Even though the first season and first book are almost identical, and despite the fact that I knew how the Battle of Blackwater Bay would end before I read about it in A Clash of Kings (2nd book), I loved reading every word on every page. 

Now I find that the experience has been flipped around.  While reading book 3, it was not unusual for me to gasp, curse, cheer, or laugh out loud as I hit upon various happenings in the story.  In contrast the normally jaw-dropping twists and turns of the show are not as delightfully shocking this season.  When Ser Barristan Selmy revealed himself at the end of the season premiere, I was not shocked or blown away . . . but I was totally floored by it in the book.  However, I still had the pleasure of watching Lawrence freak out when he recognized Barristan.  All in all, it will still be great to see each episode of this season, but I am a little sad at the loss of the element of surprise.  Having been dying to get my hands on a new audiobook for a long time (you can only listen to all 7 Harry Potter books on audio so many times), I downloaded the third book onto my phone and have been listening to it on and off constantly.  I recommend to anyone able to watch GoT on HBO to check it out . . . and whether you can see the show or not . . . everyone who is a fan of medieval kingdoms, battles, intrigue, awesome character development, and endless surprises should buy, borrow, (don’t steal) the books and get reading!  Download them to your phone or other e-reader like my fiance.  What ever you have to do . . . get your game on!

Tyrion Lannister

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