Friday, April 27, 2007

George R.R. Martin: A Game of Thrones

I finished this book a couple weeks ago but thought I would give myself some buffer time before writing about it on the blog. As I expressed in a previous post, I was pretty involved in the story so I wanted to be able to give a more detatched, and hopefully more intellectual, review of the book.

As I said before, it took me some time to get into the story and feel any affinity for the characters. Once I caught the flow, though, I really enjoyed Martin’s epic style. This book really illustrates his talent with words and character development. The characters are deep, complicated, realistic and if not very easy to relate to, easy to believe. The good guys have flaws and the bad guys get on your good side which I find absolutely intriguing. In fact one of my favorite characters is one of the bad guys. The plot is a little complex and rooted in the kingdom politics, but not too difficult to follow. I liked that Martin didn’t spend too much time giving the history of the kingdom and nobility. Instead, he described it through his characters and their memories. This made it kind of difficult to get what was going on in the beginning, but I caught on fast enough to stay interested.

Toward the end I got really frustrated with some of the characters. This is good because I was involved enough in the book to feel so strongly about what was happening, but I was so irritated that I almost gave up on the book. When Martin killed off one of my favorite characters I nearly threw it at the wall, but gained control of myself at the last second because I remembered it was a borrowed copy. I decided to hate the book… until I finished it. The ending was pure magic and I finished with a cry of triumph. Looking back after I was done, I saw how brilliantly the plot had been executed and how much I really enjoyed reading this book.

This is the first in a series of six called A Song of Ice and Fire. Martin has set a strong foundation for the rest of his books and I’m excited to move on to the next book and continue the journey with his characters.

I must offer a short warning: this is definitely an adult book. There are some rather violent scenes (they are in the middle of a war) and some instances of adult content. This book is also a little darker than your mainstream fantasy novel. Be prepared if you pick up this book.

Conclusion: I recommend this book to anyone looking for an epic adult-level fantasy. Martin is a brilliant writer.

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