19 September 2011

Book Review: A Game of Thrones

Title: A Game of Thrones
Author: George R.R. Martin
Publisher/Year: Bantam / 2011
Date Finished: 12 September 2011
Source/Format: Bought / Print
Book #: 72

Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid

The Short and Sweet of It
Winter is Coming. So rings the words of the Starks of Winterfell, the family central to the epic tale contained in this novel. The motto reflects the harshness and strength of the family as well as resounding a prophetic truth for the whole of Westeros, a land about to be torn by a vicious political upheaval, a game of thrones.

A Bit of a Ramble
I have already made four posts about this book: initial impressions, follow-up impressions, characters and intrigue, and outside interactions. This is a story which so completely captured my imagination I couldn't confine myself to just one review post. Since I've written so many "responses", I'll try to keep this more of a review.

An informative site called the Citadel had this to say: "It’s one of the best fantasies written in the last forty years, and it can stand proudly up there right next to The Lord of the Rings. Where that great work is inspired by epic legends and myth, this one is grounded in history and reality as we know it rather than reality as we might want it to be." I couldn't agree more. I love LotR, a serious fan who has read the series along with all of the others in the canon (HoME, the Sil, etc.) multiple times. But LotR is true fantasy, based in a world far removed from our own. While A Game of Thrones certainly includes fantastical elements, this is magical realism, with the realism winning out. At its core, the story is not one of magic (at least not in this first book); it is a story which with minimal changes could be a history of our own people. This does not make it better or worse than stories like LotR; it just makes it different. A difference I really appreciate due to its uniqueness in my reading experience.

I was captivated by this detailed, complex, and entertaining story. If you have not yet started reading this series, I urge you to do so as soon as possible. The length and depth of the story requires a definite commitment, and yet the richness of the tale is not to be missed.

This Book Around the Web
If I've missed your review, let me know!

Many a book blogger has read this series, so I'm just going to point you to the Book Blogs Search Engine!

Question:  Will a short break get my refreshed to read the next in the series? Or is taking the time off a bad idea?


  1. I loved this book when I read it waaay back when, and have been planning a reread for ages (I still have to read A Dance with Dragons). For that reason, actually, I would probably recommend you continue sooner rather than later. The world is so detailed and nothing gets any simpler; I know I forgot some of the important bits really quickly. You might be better at remembering than I am, but I still think they're books that deserve devouring. :p

  2. I don't think taking time off between books in this series is a bad idea at all; each book is very, very dense, and you can always refresh your memory on Wikipedia or the Wiki of Ice and Fire if you feel it's necessary before the next book. Thank God for the Internet!

  3. My husband loves this series, but I know he got a little stuck on book 3, and now on book 4, so I don't think taking a break is a bad idea. I rarely read books in a series back to back!

  4. This one is on my TBR shelf but haven't really felt like picking it up yet.

    The books wouldn't have been published that close together so I see no problem with leaving a little break.

  5. Glad to hear you enjoyed it so much! Interested to see if you pick up book 2 right away or not :)

  6. I haven't read this series yet -- my husband loves it, but honestly, I wasn't sure I'd like it. But, your review makes me think I might be mistaken! I like fantasy based in completely other worlds, but I'm finding I also like more realistic (not necessarily accurate) history with fantastical elements. I'm a little worried by a rumor I've heard about the books, which is that everyone dies. But maybe if I go in knowing that I won't get attached :-)

  7. I would say since you documented your reading, you're probably safe to take a break if you wanted to. Granted, I haven't read the second book yet, so there could be quite a few more wtf-moments than this one had. Martin seems to enjoy those...

  8. I would say start book 2 then take time off before the third. I thought the third started to slow the story down for me. I think I read them too close together. I haven't even read the 4th, or if did I don't remember. See what I mean? Too much too soon. So glad you enjoyed it!

  9. These types of books always require a big time commitment. I still never finished the whole Wheel of Time series. Still, you make this sound like a can't miss so….

  10. Ok missy lu--you've convinced me to read these. Actually, I'm crazy enough to try to listen. I just learned last night that my library has the audiobooks, so I've put the first one on hold (still not sure why audiobooks for download need holds but that's another story).

  11. I'd really love to read this series, but I just don't have the time to get completely obsessed with a genre right now. And I know I'd get obsessed. Who wouldn't? :)

    For now I shall have to content myself with obsessing vicariously through you.


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