It took me a mere four days to read an 800 page novel, that right there should tell you how great I found this book. I got into the series because a fair few of my friends had read/are reading the books, and even more had watched the HBO TV series. Unfortunately, this is yet another situation where I watched it on TV before I read the books. Although, to be honest, this is a story I didn’t mind experiencing twice. It meant I got to savour it twice.
For those who have not watched TV show, well, I highly recommend that, but not until after you have read the books. The story of Game of Thrones is pretty much exactly what you would expect from its title. It is a blend of real world dark ages, with a hint of fantasy, but nothing that will put off anyone over the age of ten. It is told from multiple points of view, something that allows for a refreshingly quick story (especially when compared with some of the lore-heavy reads you can find the genre). It features an abundance of realistic characters, set against the backdrop of war, magic, myth and a whole lot of intrigue. What I appreciate most is that Martin has created a complete world, a realistic world, and one that is both easy and enjoyable to lose yourself in.
For those of you who have watched the TV series and are now looking to read the books, unfortunately the TV series has barely drifted from the book. For once the American Film & Television industry have churned out a faithful reproduction, albeit one with a whole load of nudity. Even the dialogue is eerily similar, as if whole conversations have been lifted from the book and dumped into the TV show. I am conflicted. On one hand, I absolutely abhor when filmmakers alter the stories I love, but on the other hand, this reproduction is just a little too close for comfort. I shall reserve judgement until the series is over, maybe by then they will have found a way to ruin it.
All in all, it is a fantastically written piece of Epic fiction, unlike a lot of the fantasy epics that I have read (I am thinking specifically of the Inheritance Cycle here). It is an absolutely amazing idea, the world is very realistic, the dialogue is great, the intrigues are profound, the characters are believable, and I have yet to find any plot holes, the number one novel killer for me. Furthermore, I am utterly amazed that Martin has managed to escape the meandering pace that is often found in this genre (I am thinking of Jan Guillou’s books here). I was planning on reading a biography of Benjamin Franklin after this book, but I was so raptured by the story that I immediately jumped into the second book of the series, and, as of writing this I am more than a third of the way through that, so that review should be pretty forthcoming too. I would recommend this book for pretty much anyone with some time to spare and a third for an epic adventure. Although, like me, I doubt anyone could just stop at the first book, so maybe you would need a whole hell of a lot of time.
Title: A Game of Thrones
Author: George R. R. Martin
Pages: 831 (Paperback)
Josh’s Rating: 4/5
Originally posted @ Sakalabujan Magazine