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

Synopsis: Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.
As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.
The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.

Number of Pages: 780

Rating: 8/10

Overall Impression: Long, detailed, complicated but a great read. Really interesting characters and great plot development. And the world building was extensive and immersive. I'm looking forward to reading on, and also to watching the series.

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

Due to my slow reading rate, this took me (according to the dates on GoodReads) almost exactly 3 months to read!

Anyway, I did really enjoy this with is diverse character set, rich world building and political wrangling of a plot. The 'review' on the back of the book, which says it's a cross between the War of the Roses and Imperial Rome is pretty accurate in my opinion. Probably leans more towards the War of the Roses, with a splash of Lord of the Rings supernatural-ness thrown in. For example, King Robert Baratheon is very Henry VIII-esque, and Lord Eddard Stark is the Thomas Moore of the book. Apart from the main plot of the war over the Iron Throne, there is several mentions of "Others", which reminded me of Dementors or Ringwraiths, with zombie-like attributes.

As this book is part of a (lengthy) series, the plot is not resolved as such, more left at a good point to end.

The story is told through the eyes of several characters and there is a definite side that you are supposed to be on, that is, the side of the Starks. However, you are given just one character from the 'other' side: Tyrion Lannister. To be honest, he is one of my favourite characters. He is the dwarf son of Ser Tywin Lannister, of the House of Lannister, who have eyes for the Iron Throne. Tyrion, among other things, has hilarious acerbic wit, and I always looked forward to his chapters.

The outlier, Daenarys Stormborn, was also another favourite. Daenarys, or Dany, is away from the main action but is a strong female character in a very chauvinistic society (both throughout the book, and within the Dothraki culture).

The language in the book is as expected, mediaeval in tone and whatnot, with stylistic spellings, such as "Ser" or "Maester". It all worked well, drawing you deeper into the world that Martin has created. My only problem was when he then decided to use "butt" when talking about bottoms/bums/backsides/whatever you may call them. I read American English all the time, so the American spellings and stuff didn't annoy me or draw me out of the story despite the historical turn of phrases. But this one word, which occurs more than once, just grated against the tone of the book. It threw me every time. It may sound like a really nitpicky thing but I always find that choice of words makes a huge difference to the reader's experience of a book and this is a good example. It would be like hearing an American using "loo" instead of toilet/bathroom/restroom...

It's been a while since I read a book of this length, this genre and this complexity, and I have to say, it has reawakened my love of reading. I can't wait to read the next one in the series, though I am debating whether to get the paperback or e-book...

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