“Doorstopper? Check. Prologue? Check. Maps and Appendix. Check. Part of a series of doorstoppers? Check. Epic High Fantasy? Yes. Tolkien clone? No. A Slog? Hell, no! I read this series is inspired by the English War of the Roses and you can certainly see it in the Stark family, patterned after the House of York, six of whose members carry the rotating narrative. I'd read this before and on reread it all came back. How much I loved these characters: Ned Stark and his wife and children--especially Ned, his daughter Arya and her brother, Ned's bastard son, Jon. And Tyrion--a member of the rival Lannisters close to the crown. And Dany, a princess in exile.
I've read a bunch of doorstopper epic fantasies lately. In so many, even after 800 pages, even the main protagonist still feels as thin as onion paper and leaves me indifferent. In this novel, each of the eight point of view characters and others beyond them are distinct in my mind, feel rounded, and are characters I quickly came to care about.
Caring about these characters doesn't make things easy given the author's way with them. Like Robin Hobb, Martin is one of those authors that has no problem with being cruel to his characters, including important ones he makes you come to love. The novel is gritty, dark, at times disturbing, even depressing. It's one reason I never sought to read the other books--afraid he'd bring my favorite characters to a bad end.
There is another concern about investing in this series. There are seven books planned in Martin's series with this first book published back in 1996. Only three more books have been published since, the last, in 2005. You might be left in limbo for a long, long time waiting for Martin to bring this series to a conclusion--if he ever does.
But this first novel really is terrific--wonderful world-building, done with a deft style through story and not massive infodump or as-you-know-Bobs. The story just zips along despite its weight like a huge but limber athlete--a football left tackle. The ending is gasp-inducing. I've encountered several reviewers and fans of fantasy that place Martin higher than Tolkien, that would say the Song of Fire and Ice series is the epic fantasy series of our age. I wouldn't go that far--although I haven't read the others in the series. But I would say it's certainly far more worthy of a reader's time than other Tolkien rivals like Brooks, Jordan, Goodkind, Eddings, Feist or Williams.”
“OK--I'm late to the bandwagon, big-time, but wow! I decided to read this when two very different readers in my life recommended it. So glad I dove in, and now the series is going to keep me busy for fall and beyond. "Winter is coming" after all (which you'll get when you read it).”jc wrote this review Wednesday, September 18, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Excellent. Poor beginning but fantastic ending - can imagine it's even better had I not watched the HBO series.”Alan H wrote this review Wednesday, September 18, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Breathtakingly brilliant. Recommended to me by one of my students, I was swept away within the first few pages. Not since Lord of the Rings have I not wanted a book to end, and as I draw to the close of the third volume, I am desperate to continue with number 4. Such characters, such a plot, such tension - I has everything and I love it!”Glenn Stuart wrote this review Sunday, September 15, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“It was awsome !!! I recommend to you all, mates..”Serboy wrote this review Sunday, September 15, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“ A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
Probably the best fantasy world ever created, only challenged by Tolkien’s
Middle Earth. This story is immense. The Royal Houses are at war, individuals are
plotting for power and each house must defend itself or be destroyed. The Starks and
Lancasters are the houses that are most commonly talked about and there are many main
characters and countless other characters. Some of the main characters are: Jon Snow,
Jamie Lancaster, Cersei Lancaster, Daenerys Targaryen and more.
The king, Robert Baratheon was killed in a boar hunt and now all the royal houses are
warring for the throne, some more than others. Not all of the war is fought with swords
though, political battles and plotting are also part of the struggle for power. Meanwhile
across the sea Daenerys is forced to marry a warlord beause her brother needs his
warriors for his army.
I would honestly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy. This story
is a masterpiece as are the other books in the series. Warning though this is a more
difficult read so be prepared, there are a lot of names and events going on that you will
have to remember. Even though it is difficult it is definitely worth reading. As I said at the beginning it is only rivaled by The Lord of the Rings so its definitely worth reading.
“One of my new favorite series and new favorite author.
George R.R. Martin is so gifted with this story telling, and he surprises you beyond anything you can imagine. He doesn't stick with the classic "good concures evil", but he makes it like the real world where life isn't always fair. You love and hate characters, cry and smile and laugh out loud. A total must read!
HBO TV Series is amazing as well. Follows books so well and the cast is great. ”
“since I have watched the TV show before reading the book I was kind of anxious to test the differences between the two. Conclusion George Martin is a gifted storyteller and his close contribution in the TV production was surely behind its world success. Great book, looking forward to read the rest”Malena H wrote this review Tuesday, September 10, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Long read, but good if you can power through it!! There's a reason they made a TV series of it, you know.”Jarod Rischpater wrote this review Friday, September 6, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No