In A Storm of Swords, George R.R. Martin delivers another amazing verse of his epic Song of Fire and Ice series (A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings). The dimensions of Martin's world are constantly increasing as are the lives of his characters. Martin's great strength is the growth and maturity of characters that joined the story as children and also his revelations of back-stories that bring depth (and sympathy) to formerly one-dimensional villains. As always though, nothing is certain as unexpected twists and turns drive the plot to shocking climaxes - with marriages, deaths, alliances, and betrayals that even the most astute readers will find unexpected. A series of the scope that Martin has designed in these stories requires a significant commitment from readers but loyal fans will not be disappointed by this installment and will eagerly reach for A Feast for Crows when they are done.Though I like to think that my review writing has improved in the past four years, I don't know that I have much more to add to these thoughts after my recent re-read of this book. What I will say is that re-reading does add a new dimension of enjoyment to the text. Since A Storm of Swords is one of the longest entries in the Song of Ice and Fire saga, I knew that four years of memory erosion had taken its toll on my recollection of the events in this book. I wanted a bit of a refresher before diving into books four and five, but I was surprised at how many details of the plot in this one I had forgotten.
I've also become much more aware of Martin's gift of foreshadowing. Where as on my first time through the stories I gave most of the characters' dreams and visions a half-hearted shrug, I'm now seeing them as highly predictive and symbolic of future events in the series. Perhaps Martin included these allusions as a reward for those that read with a fine eye for details but perhaps they're also there as a reward for loyal fans that re-read the books. I know I met each instance with a snap of excitement realizing, "Oh! This totally refers to such-and-such-event that won't happen for another four hundred pages!"
I know I prefaced this challenge by announcing that I'm not much of a re-reader but I'm glad that I decided to reinvest in this series. I'm enjoying the books just as much - if not more - the second time around and I'm also realizing that there are plenty more series in my past that probably also deserve another turn through my TBR list.