REVIEW: A Game of Thrones

BOOK: A Game of Thronestumblr_nrgjbyhnsz1r06e19o1_400
AUTHOR: George R.R. Martin
PAGES: 835
MY RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ (4/5)

In A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin has created a genuine masterpiece, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill the pages of the first volume in an epic series sure to delight fantansy fans everywhere.

In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes of 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.

I don’t even know where to start. Maybe with the struggle.

I hate admitting that I am one of those people that watched the television show before I picked up the books. I’ve had every intention of reading the books, but part of me just didn’t want to get involved when I knew the series wasn’t finished, and each book release would keep getting pushed back and I was scared of getting attached to something that I knew I would be in agony waiting for. I wasn’t going to watch the TV show either, but somewhere along the hype train I just got dragged along, and, well, here I am.

I finally picked up the book. I devoured it. Probably twice as fast as I’ve read through any books in Wheel of Time, which is another wonderful fantasy series that I favor. This book really is so good.

I know the theme seems cliche. Oh wow, another bunch of people fighting for a throne and a multitude of power. I’ve never read that in this genre before. *yawn* But it isn’t! You don’t even understand until you read it. George R.R. Martin has created a huge world full of so many complex and interesting characters. It blows my mind. I feel like the biggest advantage of reading these books vs. watching the TV show is that you really get a deeper sense of all the characters, which I felt really made me understand them more. I have a deeper appreciation of the role each one of them plays. Particularly in this book, Robb Stark’s sudden transition from boy to man really pulled on my heartstrings as I learned his characters thoughts and feelings.

Which is another thing I love about the books. Most of the main characters get chapters told from their point of view. This isn’t a new technique but it’s so effective in really making the characters come to life. It’ll play on all your emotions, making you feel everything so much stronger, and really dragging you into the whole story.

I know there are many people, particularly feminists who are upset with the sexism in the novels and it seems that anytime you truly want to talk about the subject, you’re going to get a whole lot of backlash. But as unflattering as some of the subject matter may be, the truth of it is that it IS historically accurate. (Plus if you try to tell me Dany is not a strong female character, something is wrong with you).

I guess having experienced both the book and TV show, I will also state my appreciation of how well they did translating the book to the screen. While I will admit there are good adaptations of books, GoT is easily one of the best adaptations I have experienced. While I still absolutely condone reading the book, you really don’t miss too much in terms of story with the book vs. TV show (at least as far as Season 1 vs. Book 1).

I have completely fallen head over heels for this world. This book has been a breath of fresh air from all the books I’ve read this year. My favorite genre churns out a fantastic series where anything can happen, and the details and lives of everyone are so intricate, you never really can expect what’s going to happen. There’s no playing favorites. There’s no good guys vs. the bad guys. There’s so much more to it than that.

When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die.


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