A Game of Thrones by G.R.R. Martin

Summary from Goodreads:

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. 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.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. 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.

I am no stranger to fantasy. It is my favorite genre. So, I have always known that I would like A Song of Fire and Ice series but I did not expect to love it. My cousin and my friend have been talking about the tv series for ages. I thought yeah, sure sure, sounds awesome. And it was only last month when I finally gotten around to watch the tv show. It took me only about 2 weeks to devour seasons 1-3. I found out season 4 might take a while. Next year perhaps. That thought left me with an Iron Throne shaped hole in my heart, so I went on to read the books instead. 

I was initially worried about the multiple POVs which has the potential for confusion and unreliability. But it turned out to be a third person, multiple type of POV, so it was Martin's voice consistently narrating the characters' thoughts and actions, and not the characters themselves, thus we aren't in their heads, which was a relief. Going from the inside of one head to another is usually very tricky and very confusing. What more hopping around 5 heads and more. Here, it is actually just Martin himself telling each of the character's story.    

Character wise, it isn't really a clear cut battle between the good and the evil. Instead, we are presented with complicated and real characters that struggle with the said abstract concept. Yes, there is honor and duty but what about what's best for me? Or my family? More than once, we see an honorable man turn into someone of less dignity or vice versa. Their actions are motivated not by what is good or bad but by a whole other bunch of individually specific and personal reasons, which makes them all the more solid and concrete and very real.

I think it is impossible to not take note of the wonderful world building. It is rich, and sweeping, and epic. I found myself interested in the history, geography, and culture of Westeros. But, for non-fantasy readers, don't worry, because it does not contain lengthy geographical landscape descriptions or a litany of history; only just enough to let you grasp how the world of Westeros works. And although it is considerably detailed, I did not find it too taxing perhaps because it is written in clear and simple words as opposed to the formal and ornate kind of language that accompanies high fantasy novels. 

What I truly love about this book is the sense of danger and uncertainty that comes with the story. Here, the plot does not move in a straight line, where one feels secure that the good guys are going to win (or live) and the bad guys will get what they deserve. No. Anything can happen at any minute, and to anyone of the characters, whether good or bad, without warning bells in it's precedent. Political intrigue is also at it's finest, with a whole lot of cloak and dagger activities that will keep you on your toes. 

All in all, I am in love with this series. One of the telltale signs that appear whenever I become too invested in a fantasy world is my tendency to insert references of said book in conversations, unintentionally. And with GoT, I seem to be doing it a lot. So what I do is book push this series to friends (and you!), only so that I can drag someone into the fandom and not feel like silly whenever I yap about it. So far, I got one. She isn't willingly to read the books yet. But she'll watch the tv series. So, I'll take it! 

It is really a fantastic novel that is bursting at the seams with excitement and chaos and danger. It's a hodgepodge of great fantastical elements. Magic, dragons, strange lands, strange creatures, power hungry aristocratic families all wanting to up one against the other. I think even non-fantasy readers can easily get into this.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Awards Received: Nebula Award Nominee (1998), Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel (1997), World Fantasy Award Nominee for Best Novel (1997), Ignotus for Novela extranjera (2003)

Award Winning Books Reading Challenge Entry No. 13

Comments

  1. Yay! Clash of Kings is next! :)

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    1. Yes! I will join the A Clash of Kings reading buddy at TFG! How is A Dance with Dragons going? :)

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  2. Replies
    1. 5 Stars! (or 5 red comets) Woot woot! :)

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  3. Yay! You're done with it already. :)

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    1. I know right? I made good time! So, I will join you guys for the ACOK reading buddy! :D

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    2. Great! See you on the buddy reading thread, Tin. :)

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  4. I haven't read this book yet, and I don't think I would read the whole series. I do watch the TV show adaptation, though. To be honest, at first, I didn't plan to watch the series because, well, it's not my genre. My parents were the first ones to watch the show, and then I kept hearing them talk about it during lunchtime when it was just the three of us. I felt disconnected with their conversation and at the same time, I got intrigued. So I gave in and now, I'm addicted to it. hahaha!

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    1. Oh, your parents are pretty cool! My mom complains about all the throat slitting. Haha! My friend, cousin and sister used to talk about it a lot too and I felt left out. And it is only just last month that I finally watched the series. And yes, it is really addicting! I plowed through season 1-3 in succession. The TV show is more or less a really good depiction of the books. There are changes here and there. But only minimal, I think. So, which house are you rooting for? :D

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  5. I love the series and what I've read of the books so far.

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    1. Hi Vera! I am always glad to meet anyone in the GoT (aSoFaI) Fandom. Have you read all 5 released books in the series? :)

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