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

Posted April 27, 2012 by Carmel in / 8 Comments

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Title: A Game of Thrones
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire #1
Author: George R. R. Martin
Publisher: Bantam
Format: Paperback, 835 pages
Published: August 31, 1997
ISBN #: 9780553573404 / 0553573403
Genre: Fantasy
My Copy: borrowed
Rating:Paw RatingPaw RatingPaw RatingPaw Rating

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.

If you’ve turned on your television at all in the last couple of months I’m sure that you’ve heard of A Game of Thrones. After getting hooked on the first season of the HBO TV series, I just had to find out for myself whether or not the book is better than the show. I was actually really surprised by how close the script is to George R.R. Martin’s original story. The only downside about reading the book after having watched the first season is how the actors immediately become the faces of the story. It sort of spoils a bit of the imaginative fun but regardless, if you love sword fights, dragons and political intrigue then you’ll fall head over heels for this series!

Martin’s writing style is detailed, historical in nature and enthralling. The latter being an extremely good thing seeing how each book is over 800 pages long. The world that he begins to create in this first installment is masterfully crafted and larger than life. I know a few of you will get mad at this comparison but I thought it was similar in a lot of ways to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series. My guy doesn’t read books. Period. Yet he’s probably read Tolkien’s books over a dozen times and is quickly burning through the A Song of Ice and Fire series as well. That’s all the proof that I need! This book has maps and appendixes full of each family’s lineage galore. This is not just a story that you’re stepping into but a whole universe.

The characters are so intricately developed and diverse that you’ll be hard-pressed to pick a favorite. Not only that, but the line between good and bad is constantly shifting. A character might initially appear to be a good guy but then you learn one of their deep dark secrets and it completely changes the dynamic. I went from hating someone to loving them and then back again more times than I can count. I also like that Martin keeps it real by killing off a character or two, that up until that point, I thought was going to play a significant role in this series over the long haul. A Game of Thrones is about war and the author doesn’t sugar coat it by giving out happily ever afters like party favours. Did I mention that there’s six direwolves in this story? I’m head over heels in love with these creatures!

The only downside (and upside) of this book is the sheer epicness of it all. There are so many details and the language is old school; not exactly the lightest reading material out there. After 800+ pages of that you can’t help but feel like reading this book is a chore at times. My only recommendation is to pace yourself. A Game of Thrones is well worth your time; it’s finding enough of it to be able to read this massive book that’s the challenge. You can always cheat and just watch HBO but you know as well as I do that eventually you’ll break down and read this series because after all, nothing’s ever as good as the book!

Books in this series:
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin

Recommendation: If you love being knee deep in details, epic tales and enjoy a wide array of character types then this one’s for you.
Like this, like that: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series, the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon and the Inheriance series by Christopher Paolini.

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About the Blogger
I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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

  1. Awesome review! I’m glad to hear it’s worth it. I bought this on my Kindle recently (we have it in paperback but the size of it scares me!) and I really need to attempt it soon. 🙂

  2. Oh my GOD, you are not kidding about the language, everything you said is right on target, I came late to the series so I did a marathon of the first season. I didn’t read this book but I listened to Clash of Kings (I wanted to be ready for season 2) I really enjoyed it too, and I did take my time. I’m pretty sure this are a lot easier to listen to than to read, at least for me 🙂
    I love to hear your thoughts about the adaptation to the small screen.
    Fabulous review!!!! makes me want to read it… I might have to go backwards.

  3. I’m on the third book, and I just love it! It really does feel epic. I’m so glad you liked it, because there’s still so few bloggers that I follow that have read it.

  4. I know now what to ask for my upcoming birthday aside from a new swimsuit (hello, summer). I’m on episode 4 of the HBO series now. Big thanks to my bf who doesn’t read unless he has to. He told me that the tv series is really good so of course I have to try and he wasn’t kidding. He’s not one to gush over stuff so him complimenting means a lot. Thanks for your review, Carmel. I love it. Good warning about pacing oneself while reading 800+ pages. 🙂