Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin

Title: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire: Book one)
Author: George R. R. Martin
Paperback: 807 pages
Publisher: Bantam Books
Published date: 1996/2011
FTC: given as a gift from a friend

Years and years ago one of my friends kept telling me I should read this book from the series A Song of Ice and Fire.  While not sci-fi/fantasy fantatics, I remember reading Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness with her for a high school lit class and we both loved it.  A few years later I was more into Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series because of my dad, so I kind of forgot about her recommendation. Silly me.  I'm writing here and now that I should have listened to her.

Fast forward to a few months ago and a couple of my other friends decided we should all read A Game of Thrones, see if we liked it, and watch the show.  We devoured the book.  I can not wait to read the whole series.  The show is amazing too.

The back of the book:

In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to 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.

My thoughts:

What an amazingly well-written and awesome story George RR Martin has created.  I have a special place in my heart for Robert Jordan's series, but really, I think so far George RR Martin has it beat.

If you're not a huge sci-fi/fantasy fan - well, this may be the book for you.  "What?" You say!

It's not an in-your-face fantasy book -- it read a lot more like historical fiction but with direwolves, whitewalker zombie things, and extinct dragons.  A warning: there is a lot of violence, death, and the kids in the book are a lot younger than they are portrayed as in the HBO show.

Still not convinced that you might enjoy this book?  Well, one of the friends I was reading it with absolutely devoured it and is hooked.  While perusing books, she is more drawn to beach reads and Nicholas Sparks books.  And SHE loved it.

I found it interesting to hear her thoughts as she read it.  I'm used to chunky fantasy books so I was used to the jumps in perspective - each chapter is told by a different character which gives you a broader spectrum in the story and time flies by a lot faster.  I knew to look to the back of the book first to see the character list - so so helpful.  There are a lot of characters as the story takes place on an island (think Great Britain) and each area is ruled by a House with a Lord/Lady and the whole kingdom is ruled by one king.  So looking to the back of the book to get some characters straight is a must.

I also love being able to compare the book to the show. We waited until we finished the book to start watching the first season, but I already had Sean Bean in mind as Lord Stark.  Beautiful casting.  One thing to note with the show: I can't imagine watching it and not reading the books. I'd be lost on a lot of things had I not read the book.

Have you read the books, watched the show, or steered clear of it all?  Why or why not?

Also Reviewed By:

Katie's Book Blog Part 1, Part 2
The New  Dork Review of Books
Coffee and a Book Chick
Ticket to Anywhere
Where Troubles Melt Like Lemon Drops
A Little Bookish

And for fun:

A Game of Thrones Muppets!

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