"A Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin | Book Review
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire (Book #1)
Page Count: 694
First Published: August 6, 1996
I know what you're thinking: does there really need to be another review of A Game of Thrones? And you're right, pretty much everything has been said about this book and the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series at this point—from praise to hate. So, I'm going to keep this brief. As you probably already know, A Game of Thrones is the first book in an epic fantasy series. The beauty of it is that it doesn't overwhelm you with magical powers and creatures—it feels like a medieval fiction series for the most part, but it gradually builds a mysterious aura of magic.
The world that George R.R. Martin created is fascinating and complex. He gives us imaginative landscapes, complicated politics, multiple religions, powerful families, tons of history, and even the seasons don't follow the same rules that we are used to. The writing is absolutely masterful! It's one of those immersive worlds you want to keep coming back to, and every time I have to go back to real life after reading about it I secretly wish I could just stay there, despite its dangers. If you are a Game of Thrones TV show watcher considering reading this book, you will not be disappointed either—there is plenty of information that didn't make it into season 1, even though it's pretty faithful to the main storylines.
A Game of Thrones is told in third person limited style from the point of view of eight (!!!) different characters. All of them range in age, gender, and morals, but I love most about the characters is that nobody is perfect—they all have redeeming qualities, as well as do things that make you cringe. That's what makes the book feel so real! And of course, nobody is ever safe. I'm sure you've been warned to not get attached to anyone, but I say the opposite: get attached and let the book make you feel that range of emotions.
The only people I wouldn't recommend this book to are those who have never read fantasy before—it's not only a hefty book, but the rich writing takes some getting used to as well. If you're up for the challenge—go for it. However, if you're used to fast-paced contemporary reading—I would suggest easing into the genre with something else. It also may not be the book for the fainthearted, since George R.R. Martin doesn't shy away from violence, sex, and graphic descriptions.
Needless to say, I loved A Game of Thrones—it's one of my favorite books of all time, and I am enjoying my journey through A Song of Ice and Fire. The book is a Locus Award winner, World Fantasy Award and Nebula Award nominee for a reason. I would love to know what you think about it and who your favorite characters are!
P.S. If you watch Game of Thrones on HBO, I've been doing weekly episode recaps and reviews on my channel, and you can see my latest one below. Also, take a look at my Game of Thrones + ASoIaF playlist.