Book Review: ‘A Game of Thrones’ by George R.R. Martin

“Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.”

I‘m sure you already know about this novel, it was huge even BEFORE it was made into a tv series – what’s more likely to surprise you is the fact that it has taken me this long to read it. Normally length wouldn’t deter me, but I knew that while I was reading A Game of Thrones it would mean neglecting the other million books I’ve promised to read.

First of all I should say that I have watched the first season (which corresponds with this book) so the plot wasn’t wholly new to me. I was surprised to find that they actually kept the TV series relatively close to the plot in this novel. The book has somewhat less ‘adult’ content than the TV series and I found it slightly less creepy, though it is still 100% an adult book and leans toward the darker side of fantasy. It is truly ‘medieval’ in every sense of the word – the society featured in this book doesn’t have the morals that we pride ourselves on today. Consider yourself aptly warned.

There are a lot of characters in this book; it’s not until the end that you can claim to know any of them. It’s a tale woven from stories that take place in nearly as many different locations as there are characters and yet intertwined into one complete story.

I enjoyed the writing and the depth of the tale. This isn’t a surface story where everything is floating right in front of you. Bits of it will bob to the surface before sinking out of sight again, only to be replaced by a new choice tidbit. You have to pay attention or you won’t catch sight of it before it’s gone again.

If you’re looking for an easy read; this series isn’t going to be it. If you’re looking for a series that will suck you into another world and get you lost amid tales of heroes, treachery, unknown foes, retribution and forbidden love — then you’re probably looking in the right direction.

Winter is coming…


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