always-amazing John lent me the extremely hefty third book in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series A Storm of Swords (2000), and even though it took me three weeks (!) to read it, I'm still a little sad that it's done.
The third book in the series amps things up with more maps, more appendices, more characters, and more pages (almost 1200). This infrastructure is nicely balanced with more action, more death, more freaky magic, and more improbable creatures. I'm not sure how Martin turned me into a fantasy lover, but I think it happened. I actually get excited to see the dragons!
I don't even know how to begin describing the plot of this one in a way that would make sense without spoiling things for those who haven't read the other two, so I'm not going to try. It is safe to say that the battle for power over the kingdom of Westeros continues, and no one is giving up anytime soon. Sometimes Martin's creation gets a little big for even him to handle, and some characters were ignored for hundreds and hundreds of pages while the action went on elsewhere. I'm not sure that there is anyway around that when your series is so epic and huge, but it might be nice to check in with everyone a little more often.
Finally: this book made me really like the previously rather evil character of Jaime Lannister, which was unexpected. Also people die. A lot of them. Suddenly and surprisingly. And that never gets old, sweetlings.
Get book #4 ready for me John, because after a little break, I'm going to want to dive right back in to Westeros...