What's Happening?

What's Happening?

Coming Soon

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

REVIEW: 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 the Paperback edition.

Book: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Release Date: January 1, 1996
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fantasy
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire, #1
Obtained: Purchased
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (5 Zombies)

Several years ago, back when I was a freshman in high school, my creative writing teacher recommended that I read A Song of Ice and Fire, and I devoured them, but when I decided to do a reread of the series at the beginning of this year (2013) along with a friend who is reading them for the first time, I realized that I had never reviewed them. Also, that I forgot a lot of the characters' names and other million of the other tiny details that make the land of Westeros so rich and engrossing. So, it was almost as if I was reading A Game of Thrones for the first time.

One of the things that a lot of people find to be intimidating about A Song of Ice and Fire is the length of the books. A Game of Thrones is pretty lengthy, and they only get progressively thicker from here on out. However, this is one of the best parts of the series, in my opinion, because it means that every time a new book comes out I get a lot more to read! I consider myself to be a pretty fast reader, and it sucks to read an amazing book in a day and half or so and then have to wait years for the next book to come out. This is even worse in most fantasy series, since the wait times between books are often exponentially longer. At least when the books are over 1000 pages, they take a little bit longer to get through.

Another part of A Song of Ice and Fire that I love is that there isn't really one set main character. A huge number of different characters get to tell their part of the story in each book, so odds are in your favor that at least a few chapters will be from your favorite character's point of view, which is always fun. My favorites are Theon Greyjoy, Sandor Clegane, and Jaqen H'gar :)

Since I actually have nothing negative to say about A Game of Thrones, I'll just mention one of my other favorite parts of the book before this review starts to get too lengthy: there is no strict line between good and bad. Most people would say that Starks = good and Lannisters = bad, but it isn't that simple. The Starks, especially Catelyn, can be cruel and spiteful at times, and Tyrion Lannister is one of the most sympathetic characters in the series, in my opinion. Even Jaime Lannister has his moments, as does his sister, although hers are considerably fewer.

If you're an avid reader of the fantasy genre, or just dipping your toes into the shallow end of the pool (that was kind of a weird metaphor), you should definitely check out A Song of Ice and Fire, but only if you're willing to put up with a pretty long wait between books, since GRRM isn't the fastest writer around (although very few amazing fantasy writers are [ahem, Lynch, Rothfuss, and your ilk, I'm looking at you]).