Thursday, 14 June 2012

George R. R. Martin- A Song of Ice and Fire 03- A Storm of Swords- Book Two

A Song of Ice and Fire- Book Three- A Storm of Swords- Part Two- Blood and Gold
Random House
George R.R. Martin
2000

Game of Thrones - A Clash of Kings - A Storm of Swords: Book One: Steel and SnowA Storm of Swords: Book Two: Blood and Gold - A Feast for Crows

“The truth is all around you, plain to behold. The night is dark and full of terrors, the day bright and beautiful and full of hope. One is black, the other white. There is ice and there is fire. Hate and love. Bitter and sweet. Male and female. Pain and pleasure. Winter and summer. Evil and good. Death and life. Everywhere, opposites.”  

I haven't updated this blog much recently. Much of this is because I exist under the spell of some form of warped writer's block, where even the fairly simple task of writing a short review of something somebody else wrote and then posting it on an amateur blog that nobody reads seems like a task of herculean magnitude. Another reason is that I've been off gallivanting around the globe (well, the Midlands), staring out of the window of trains. Also, the European Championships started, so I've had to watch that. Plus, work. Also, I've read a couple of longer books. And finally, and most honestly, I've been reluctant to sit down and try to write something interesting and new about the latest book I read in George R. R Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, to the extent where I've managed to write a whole paragraph of this review without saying anything about it already.

I'm not getting into spoilers, because spoilers are really, really annoying when you accidentally run in to them, and seeing as Martin's series is basically a bloody soap opera for men there's little new to say about each installment. While I do think that the second book, A Clash of Kings was noticeably better than A Game of Thrones in terms of prose style and characterization, the two books that comprise A Storm of Swords were stylistically basically exactly the same, and I have mixed feelings about that.

First of all, Blood and Gold is certainly a lot more eventful than part one, Steel and Snow. Without giving any names. certain things happen to certain characters in ways and times that I wouldn't have predicted, dramatically changing the flow of events across Martin's fictional world. As I said, stylistically it's no more developed than its predecessors, and, four mammoth-sized books into the series, I've started to feel that in a negative way. Martin's prose is so fixed, so unwavering for every character and every event that shocking, dramatic, world-changing set-pieces all read to me as exactly the same, with each one facing the law of diminishing returns. On the other hand, his consistency of quality certainly has done much to allow Martin to capitalize on the legions of new readers (including myself) who first tried this series in print after watching HBO's Game of Thrones TV series (which, it hardly needs saying, is totally excellent).

I'm certainly not going to give up reading the series, since I've come too far now and it's not even finished, I'll be in no hurry to start reading the next installment. This is probably going to make me sound like a bit of a literary snob, but what the hell; there's only so far you can take the same concept without making it a flexible one with more meaning. Despite thousands of pages of character development and interaction, Martin's style just doesn't develop far enough with it to take advantage of the build-up and make the big emotional plot-points of the series as poignant and meaningful as they need to be to justify my interest as much as I'd like. Maybe I'm falling out of love with this series a little bit.