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Book: A Game of Thrones

August 19, 2011

Once again proving that I have nothing to fear: there will never be an end to fabulous, fun books which I haven’t yet discovered. Apparently everyone else knew about this series except me. I hadn’t heard of it before until the HBO series was announced, and even then I didn’t know it was a book until just a couple months ago. When we went to a bookstore in Pleasanton during my vacation, I saw this in paperback and bought it –I don’t usually buy fiction but I kind of thought I might like to keep this series.

I think I was right. This may merit a re-read sometime down the road.

What fun! Oh, and so dark. But funny too. And interesting, and surprising. And not *too* terribly full of itself.

While this didn’t inspire me to ignore everything and read straight through for three days until I finished it (it took me a couple of weeks of nighttime reading), it certainly had a pull on me. I HAD to read at least one or two chapters a night, and if I hadn’t had so much to do in general, I probably would have torn right through it in a weekend.

Not as majestic and magical as The Lord of the Rings, this was still chock-full of thrilling fantasy elements, without ever veering into old and tired stereotypes. Well, that’s not exactly true. Plenty of sterotypes abounded, but the way the story wove them all together was new. From the scary-cute direwolves to the promise of dragons, to the brutal political intrigues and romantic entanglements, all the way through to shocking deaths and unexpectedly intriguing character twists — really a fun read.

Quite a lot of fight scenes, which I sort of skipped over.

And lots of minor characters, which I didn’t bother to keep straight. I had trouble with a few of the main family lines as well, but there is a helpful guide in the back which I referred to often. I might have liked to take notes as well, actually, to keep a few of the events straight.

But the fact that it was complicated didn’t make it unwelcoming — told from varying points of view, I felt like we get to know each of the main characters intimately. This makes it even more shocking when bad things happen to them — we often do not know what happens inside their heads as the bad thing is happening — we only observe from the outside, which makes it almost more shocking — we are as surprised as everyone else. And it was surprising and shocking, particularly one event, which I had to go back and re-read to make sure I had it correct that this had actually happened.

It’s more traditional fantasy than I usually read but it didn’t feel like hardcore old-school fantasy, which I sometimes find hard to digest. The language was fairly straightforward (no “thous” or “wherefores”), very funny at times, and the characters were complex, and evolved over the book. Some of them I get the feeling we are *just* beginning to know. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next four books. FOUR! I love series.

So yeah, I kind of loved this. And I can’t wait to watch the series when it comes out on Netflix. I have the next book requested from the library — I’m only #9 in line! 🙂

 

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 20, 2011 1:14 pm

    I tend to have a bit of a hard time reading fantasy (why? no idea) so have been on the fence about this one. However, hearing it’s not too full of itself bodes well.

    (We just started watching the HBO version…oh my!)

  2. August 20, 2011 1:50 pm

    I think you’d like this one. It’s a little manly but really not too bad, and has very good plot intrigue. See what you think after the watching the show.

  3. August 21, 2011 10:45 am

    i never knew this was a book either until you started mentioning it. ive seen the previews on HBO but have been ambivalent about the whole thing in general.

    • August 21, 2011 2:47 pm

      It’s a little bit ye-olde, but I liked it. It might be a bit too manly and dragon-y for you. but who knows?

  4. August 22, 2011 9:20 am

    I’m almost to the halfway mark. James read these ages ago and loved them and he has been very good not pestering me about what is going on though when I don’t pick up the book in a few days he asks me why I’m not reading it 🙂

    • August 23, 2011 11:49 am

      That’s funny. I felt like that myself, “Self, why aren’t you reading that?!”

  5. August 22, 2011 1:54 pm

    You’re not alone. I had actually heard of this because one of my best friends is a HUGE fan of GRRM, but I didn’t actually read this book until last year. And I was pretty amazed by it. I did go ahead and tuck into the second one and got quite a ways before getting distracted. I’m not generally a fan of monster sized books and seemingly never-ending series, but Martin does manage to take many well worn fantasy tropes and do unique and interesting things with them. I was most impressed.

    If you are looking for similar amazing experiences I would recommend The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.

    • August 23, 2011 11:50 am

      Ooh! Love new book rec’s. Thank you! I will add them to the never-ending list!

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