Review: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

A Game of Thrones

Source: Library
Publisher: Bantam
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire #1
Edition: Hardcover, 674
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Purchase:Amazon/ Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Rating: 5/5

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.

The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.

I originally grabbed this book on a whim from the library…and after a few chapters it just sat there and I kept renewing it even though I hadn’t touched it. Then I found Jenna’s Ice and Fire Readalong and I finally sat down to read it, by which point I was out of renewals and had a week to get it done. It sounds like a crazy undertaking but it turned out to be addicting and every bit the page turner.

I’ll admit to being skeptical when I first started and I think that’s why it took me so long to get into it, because at first it just feels like every other epic fantasy. It’s not flashy or written like some flowery prize winning classic, and I wasn’t impressed. However I came to appreciate how the feel of the novel changed depending on which POV we were in, by which there are seven different point of views in this which alternate each chapter. It sounds insane, I mean how does someone keep up with seven different povs AND keep up with all the side characters at the same time? Honestly, I have no idea…but I did. It’s not for the meek that’s for sure. Each POV takes on the voice of that person and we see what they see, how they see it, and what they feel. In some ways the narrators are unreliable because you don’t get hard truths until it is laid down as without any doubt as a truth. You see allies in one chapter only to find them enemies in another. Some narrators are young (Bran, Sansa, Arya,Daenerys and Jon) and others are older (Tyrion, Catelyn, and Eddard), and no one character sounds like another. It is clear who they are and how they feel.

In truth I know most of the people who are still alive in the newest book coming out, so in some ways I wasn’t surprised when someone died and I made sure not to get too attached to certain characters. However it was really hard because even knowing their fates I really came to love some characters and Martin was not merciful when he snatched them away, but others I practically wiggled with excitement because I knew they were going to get what they deserved and there were quite a few that I wanted to punch or shake. I loved Arya, Daenerys, and Tyrion’s chapters the most. Arya Stark is a wild girl who definitely reminds me of myself a bit. She doesn’t like the gentle activities fit for her station as the daughter of a lord and would much rather play with the boys, learn to fight or explore. Tyrion Lannister is a dwarf who despite constant jeers has flourished under the negative attention. He’s more than a little confident, though is coupled with some doubt, incredibly smart, and witty. He’s the sort of person who will readily insult you and then if you find yourself offended give you some of the greatest advice ever. I loved seeing both side of him, though he definitely had moments where I was less than thrilled. Then there is Daenerys. Words can’t even begin to describe my love for this woman, seriously…if she were real I’d be willing to follow her to the ends of the Earth. In truth she is very young, only thirteen at the start of the book, but after a very troubling and meek beginning she grows into someone who is worth admiring and she does it in a  year. I loved seeing her find her voice, stand up for what she believed in, and allowing no one to tell her what she could and couldn’t do.

I wish I could tell you everything that happens in this, because I honestly need to vent, but I can’t because that would ruin the fun of it. I can tell you the wide scope of the book though. This book doesn’t set out black and white boundaries, everything is in shades of grey. These characters are human and humans have layers, reasons and problems. There is some romance, a lot of action and fighting, a ton of political intrigue, seemingly magical and supernatural forces/beings, and a lot of time seeing humans be human. This book has all the details I love in high fantasy, but it doesn’t just dump the info and never mention it again, all things are relevant to the things occurring even if they seem like they might just be a childish rant or dream.

With the first book under my belt I have no doubt in my mind that I will be continuing this series and that I will watch the show. One book is not nearly enough especially not with that amazing ending. If you love high fantasy and you’re not afraid of really thick books I urge you to grab a copy of this, because I feel it is worth the time. On to the next!

5 stars

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8 Responses to Review: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

  1. I haven’t read because there were too many details and names for my half a brain cell, but I do enjoy the show even though martin is crazy and seems to kill most of the people that I like

  2. I read the entire series last year so I understand your need to vent, if you want to I’m always up for a good GoT chat 🙂 Great review though I agree with everything you said….this book gave me so many feels. So many.
    Glad you loved it though!

  3. Greg says:

    Great review, I’ve read this three times but still enjoy seeing people’s reactions to it. 🙂 I looked at this book for a long time at bookstores and eventually bought it, but it took a while. By then the first three were out and I read them back to back, which was fun. Then the long wait began… Arya is one of my favorites, Jon too (like him so much more in the books than on the show), and Tyrion is great (and has a lot of good moments in book 2).

    And… If you like Dany, you’re in for a treat as she continues to rock and take names in later books. I don’t always like all her decisions (later on), but she’s cool. Any thoughts on Ned’s memories? The whole Lyanna/ Rhaegar thing That’s something the show has not touched on yet.

  4. I’ve found the audiobooks much easier to digest. Although there are moments when I’m in my car yelling at my radio because I can’t believe the characters are doing this or that!

    We are in the middle of watching the Season 3 discs from Netflix. It’s fun to watch a scene and go…yep it happened just like that in the book!

    Terri M.
    Second Run Reviews

  5. RedIza says:

    My boyfriend bought it, we both love the show, I want so much to read the book and… it stays there on the shelf (for the moment). So many books, so little time !!!

  6. I personally find this book to be intimidating. But I also want to read it. Maybe I can in the future. I’ve been seeing the show all over the internet too but never really watched it.

  7. Pamela D says:

    I marathoned the first season of GoT, and I immediately got hooked on the show and needed to read the books. I wasn’t spoiled for anything, so the deaths in that first season took me by surprise. The audio books are great, if you enjoy audio books.

  8. Jackie says:

    I really appreciate that you can write a review like this without spoilers. I on the other hand chose to watch the series on DVD first before tackling the books . I guess I have a hard time picturing things in high fantasy. Anyway , Tyrion is my boyfriend’s fave character so far. I think mine is Khaleesi. Love how cute those dragons are! I also like Arya but her sister Sansa? Not so much :/ I hope she kills Joffrey, what a #!@`.

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