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A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (Review)

Title: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Fire and Ice, Book 1)
Edition: Paperback, 835 pages
Author(s)George R. R. Martin
Publication Date: June 1, 2006
Source: Bought from Barnes & Noble

The Summary
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. 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
My Opinion

Simply put of course.

I was introduced to A Song of Fire and Ice series by my good friend Emma.  The first book in the series, A Game of Thrones, is an amazing start to this high fantasy tale.  Set in Estros, a country resembling Medieval England, the story centers around the Stark family and other key players.  Head of the Starks is Eddard, or Ned as he's called.  His point of view is considered to be the main one of the book, and it is through him that we see this world as he is called to be the "Hand of the King".  This summons is the start of everything.

Many critics claim Martin to be the "American Tolkien", but I disagree.  While the two series shares similariites, as do all high-fantasy books, I think that they are extremely different and should be recognized as such.  There is a ton of intrigue and back-room bargaining in A Game of Thrones that it reads very much like a political thriller: medieval style.  There is also less of an emphasis on the fantastical.  There aren't elves or orcs running around.  The "magic" is very mythical harkening back to Merlin and Camelot if anything.  Finally, the grittiness, barbarity, and sexuality pushes this series apart.  This book is always a story of power and what humans will do to harness it.  Martin brings this greed to stark (haha...) relief within the pages.

What I loved best about the style of A Game of Thrones is the changing perspective.  A different character narrates each chapter.  This is useful as there is so much going on and the reader gets to undertand events, motives, and emotions from all sides.  This also gives Martin an easy way in which to move throughout the kingdom and world without having to move the main character to the action.  Very clever, but it can be confusing if you're not paying attention.

Fantastic book driven by the characters, and the world-building is amazing; you feel you're in Westeros.  If you enjoy high-fantasy, political intrigue, and family honor, then you really need to read A Game of Thrones.

Final Rating
Book Cover: 3/5 (there are several covers for the books, but I'm using the one above)
Book Title: 5/5 (there is such a great line that makes the title sing)
Plot: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 8.5/10
Overall: 43.5/50: B+

1 comment:

  1. I'm even more excited about this book now! I've had it sitting in my TBR pile for a while now - I must bump it up a bit!!


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