I acquired a copy of the Game of Thrones book, fully prepared to face the notorious sex, violence, and immoral acts it was purported to possess. Thus, I thought nothing of the cheating wife, the incest, or from the kid being thrown off a tower. I have read far worse in contemporary and historical fiction. Yet after i reached the inevitable death of the innocent, golden-eyed wolf pup in the reluctant hands of their master's father, I felt a tugging of heartstrings. It was then which i realized that George R.R. Martin can spin a good yarn Body that entangles you in the fine threads before you realize what's happening.
If you are expecting a hardcore fantasy epic, there is a Game of Thrones book sadly lacking. There is nothing Westeros and its Seven Kingdoms have to offer that you cannot find in any other medieval setting, save for seasons that last many the mysterious beings known as the 'Others' lurking underneath the great Wall in the north. Instead, Martin offers a different kind of fantasy, one that focuses more on the human part of the story. Take away the dragons and also the magic and you will find that the gritty human nature is still there, driving the main plot of political intrigue, conflicts, and ambition that compel a person to commit acts of murder, rape, or worse.
Still, it has enough fantastical elements in the form of knights, dragons, kings and queens, princes and princesses, and the whispers of magic working behind the curtain. It is War from the Roses inside a fantasy world. For someone who enjoys reading both fantasy and historical fiction, Martin's masterpiece is really a godsend.
The truth is that that near to 800 pages quite a bit of take in, for the most avid of readers. Thankfully, Martin's talent is within producing words that offer enough information, but stops lacking being tedious. While Martin won't win awards for beautiful prose, his writing keeps your reader engaged. It never feels dragging and I appreciate more an author who can keep attention until the end rather than one who waxes lyrical.
The very best and most frustrating thing about the book is that the story is told from eight different perspectives, with each perspective held inside a chapter. Just like you start associated with a character and therefore are eager to see what happens to him (or her), you find yourself thrown off for a number of chapters. Yet Martin's character development is also what makes the books so enjoyable to read. His way of creating three-dimensional characters having a great deal of depth, feeling, and back story is exactly what keeps the readers from becoming bored. The determination of the 13-year-old exiled princess and child-bride, Dany; the bleak coming-of-age story from the bastard, Jon Snow, in the northern Wall; the raw emotions of young, tomboyish Arya at King's Landing; the noble intentions of Eddard Stark amidst a court of mummers; and also the sarcastic wit of the impish Tyrion Lannister are but a few of the assorted cast of players you will find yourself rooting for in this bloody bet on thrones.