Okay. I loved the first two books in this series. I read them both earlier in the year, and my plan was to spread the five (as of now) books out through 2014. I decided it was about time to read the third in the series, and so a couple weeks ago, I dove excitedly into A Storm of Swords.
Um…I didn’t really like it. Sorry? I wish I had, but GAH this one really didn’t work for me. It felt repetitive, long-winded, and tedious. I don’t want to say it was bad, because it wasn’t. The individual stories were, for the most part, captivating, and I did want to know what would happen to the characters. At the same time, I kinda wanted to just read a short summary of each plot line instead of reading through hundreds of pages to see what would happen next.
In the end, the parts that didn’t work for me boiled down to two things:
1. Repetition. This is frequently an issue for me, the reason books such as Bleak House, Emma, War of the Worlds, and The Goblet of Fire bother me. When a character or narrator uses the same sentence or phrase over and over, the book begins to feel tedious to me. So when Ygritte says, “You know nothing, Jon Snow” for the 10,000th time, I cringe, and if I never hear the opening lines to “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” again, it will be too soon. And that’s only two examples of many in A Storm of Swords.
2. Too many story lines. Now, I love books with multiple plots all woven together, or even just tangentially related. As I said before, I adored the first two books in this series. But this one…felt like too much. Too many stories, all going away from each other. I wanted some of them to cycle back together, to condense! It feels like I’m reading multiple books when characters disappear for 300 pages and then come back. A hundred pages? Sure. But 300? 500? That’s just too long, like setting aside one book to read another, then coming back to the first, which is something I normally don’t do. This made the book a bit frustrating, and I’ll admit that when certain characters died, I felt no grief – only relief that there was one less story to follow. That’s not good!
Now, I’m torn. There’s part of me that wants to seek out the chapter-by-chapter wiki and read summaries of the next two books. I do want to know what happens! That feels like cheating, though, and I feel like I should persevere. I’m just…a bit wary, now, of the rest of the series. Thoughts?