It's come to my attention that it's sunny outside for the first time since about 1997. As such, this is a short posting, so I can head outside with the laptop.
I finished A Storm of Swords last night. I have to say that it's a good book. It has its failings, but those failings are offset by the many strengths of the book. It's actually fairly strongly written, considering that George R.R. Martin's style is pretty clunky at times, and is among the better fantasy books for its standard of writing. It isn't perfect or even amongst the best-written - it has some way to go to top Robin Hobb's elegantly simple style - but it is decently written at least, which means that the story itself takes centre stage.
And what a rip-roaring tale it is. It's intense, it's melodramatic (but that's a good thing), it's character-driven, it's multi-threaded and, most importantly of all, it has a sense of scale. There's about 10 POV characters, and threads very rarely cross (in the sense of characters bumping into each other), which gives the thing the sense of scale mentioned above. Without particularly mentioning the size of his world, Martin makes it big.
In order to sum up the plot I'd have to summarise the previous two books, A Game of Thrones and the satisfyingly alliterative A Clash of Kings, which would involve summing up 1,600 pages in about 2 sentences. In short: people in power are pillocks who prat about for power. In slightly longer: there's a civil war on thanks to the fact everyone wants power and lots of blood is shed and families are torn apart. This is 1,200 pages of the same, with incest, sexual tension, regicide and woolly mammoths thrown in.
My biggest gripe in the end was that it was so long. It's been split into 2 volumes over here, and it's taken me 16 days to read (a period of time unprecedented since I read The Stand in about 3 weeks). Sometimes I got the sense that a scene could be cut out here or there and that would have made it so much quicker to read.
Roll on A Feast For Crows.
And since I started writing, the sun's gone in. Day on the PS3 it is, then...