Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Here is the first volume in George R. R. Martin's magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin's stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

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. (from GoodReads)

I wasn't sure how I was going to like A Game of Thrones. My brother is reading the series and has literally been begging me to read it for months. I finally went home for Spring Break last week so I had an opportunity to start the books. A Game of Thrones was pretty good, but not quite worth all the hype.

The bad thing about A Game of Thrones is that it takes forever to get into. I think I read maybe 150 pages before I understood everything going and started to want to know more. That is a long time for a book. Heck it's even the length of entire books. Looking on GoodReads, a lot of people said they didn't finish the novel and I think that might be way.

The book changes point-of-view between eight characters, which is a lot. Luckily the book is 600 pages so everyone gets ample page time. My brother kept asking me who my favorite character was and I couldn't answer. The way each character is written is pretty similar and no one really stood out to me. Everyone was ok, but there wasn't a character I loved.

The plot is pretty good. It's standard royals-battling-over-thrones and nothing was really that special. This was supposed to be fantasy but there were only a few elements of actual fantasy. It was more of an alternate Medieval time period. I will say that is a lot of unnecessary detail and description that probably could have made the book a lot shorter.

Overall, the book was pretty good. But the fact that it is very slow in the beginning and extremely long will definitely turn off readers. I would have been one of them, but my brother really wanted me to read this book so I pushed through it. I'm glad I did, because now I'm going to watch the show. But unless you have a lot of time and patience you might want to skip A Game of Thrones.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from brother

1996/Spectra/674 pages.


DH said...

I, too, read this book over break, but I have yet to finish it. I agree about the slow beginning, but my main problem was the POV switches. I greatly favored certain characters' POV and actually skipped forward at times to read theirs exclusively.

I think the multitude of POVs really slowed this book down. And I ended up watching the entire first season before finishing the first book. Quite terrible of me, but ahhh the show is so amazing! Never thought I'd enjoy a show so much more than a book, but there you have it!

Luxembourg said...

Game of Thrones makes a great graphic novel. I read the comic edition first and wasn't sure what to make of them. An introduction from George R.R. Martin helped me understand that the story had to follow the novel, not the show. I relaxed and enjoyed the book more. The story follows the Stark family of the North as drama envelopes their lives in intruige. In addition, a young girl whose family used to control the throne is coming of age and marries a great warlord. The story is based on the novel and there are differences from the Tv show. There are more flashbacks and dream sequences which fill in the blanks. It deepened my understanding of the story and I grew to really enjoy it.