Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Game Of Thrones by George R. R. Martin - A Song Of Ice And Fire Book 1 Review

Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords and honest men. All will play the Game of Thrones

Summers span decades.Winter can last a lifetime.And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.It will stretch from the south where heat breeds plot,lusts and intrigues to the vast frozen north,where a 700-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond. The Game of Thrones. You win,or you die


I picked up this behemoth of a book with incredibly high expectations, having heard just about everyone and their brother rave about it.  As a fan of epic fantasy, I was fully expecting myself to become immersed in the world and the characters, and to fly through these 800+ pages quickly and wish for more.

That didn’t exactly happen.

Don’t get me wrong, A Game Of Thrones is a very well put-together novel.  There were some great characters, like the bastard Jon Snow and his father Eddard Stark.  Daenerys Targaryen and her journey was very interesting, and the dwarf Tyrion was witty and hilarious.  There were characters it was easy to hate, believable in their cruelty, and characters it was impossible not to root for.  All this was established in the first half of the novel, and for a while, I felt that this book would be the total immersive, page-tearing novel I was hoping for.

But I almost completely lost interest during the second half.

Maybe it was because of its length, though I’ve read more than a few that were longer.  More likely, it was the overwhelming political themes.  For an epic fantasy novel, there was very little magic going on.  The story focused almost solely on politics; the hurts of a kingdom and the fights for succession.  It may be my fault that I didn’t like this one so much, in that case.  It is, after all, titled Game Of Thrones; how could it be about anything other than politics?

The hints of magic we did get to see, however, were very intriguing.  They occurred almost solely during Jon Snow’s and Daenerys Targaryen’s chapters.  Not surprisingly, these were my favorite chapters to read.  But they were also the fewest and most far-between.  The rest of the time, I found myself slogging through the rest of the characters’ chapters; Catelyn Stark, who it was impossible for me to like after some very cruel behavior in the beginning regarding my favorite character.  Eddard Stark, her husband and probably the central character in this novel.  Their children, Bran, Arya and Sansa.  Tyrion Lannister, the only Lannister worth caring about.  Surprisingly, Robb Stark, a character I very much would have liked to know better, didn’t get his own chapters; we only got to see him through the viewpoints of his Stark family.

I wouldn’t say this was a miss for me, because I am very glad I read it.  I liked it, overall.  But it was a very different, much slower reading experience than what I was expecting going in.  Maybe I’ll be able to appreciate the second one if I choose to read it more, since I’ll know better what I’ll be getting with this story.

I only hope we’ll get to see a bit more of my favorite character, Jon Snow.  He had me won over from the very beginning, when he rescued an orphaned pack of direwolves cubs.  His character was easy to get attached to, and his place in the Nights Watch was so much fun to read.  I feel like, had he been a bit more of a main focal point, I’d have gotten so much more out of this novel.

A Game Of Thrones – 3.5 out of 5 stars

1 comment:

  1. I've been hearing rave reviews over this series (and in some cases the HBO series based on it) and I've been back and forth on whether or not to try it. I have been told that it's quite slow, but once you're hooked your hooked. I've also been warned about the amount of politics involved and that there are a lot of story lines. These three things in and of themselves made me skeptical of picking the books up. At the same time, I do sometimes need to try and take a break from the paranormal, romantic type YA books and try read something with more substance. So we shall see.

    But I greatly enjoy your reviews and how honest you are with them. You definitely have a new follower. :)


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