Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Game of Thrones: Book one of a Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

Book Summary (from the back of the book)

In A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin has created a genuine masterpiece, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill the pages of the first volume in an epic series sure to delight fantasy fans everywhere.

In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes of 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. 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.

My Review

The first time I heard about this series was through HBO, and just like what happened with True Blood, I decided I wanted to read the books before watching the series. And then, my boyfriend bought the books, and devoured read the first book and started pushing me to read it so we could watch the series. So here I was, reading GoT.

I’m not sure how to talk about this book without giving much away, but I will try. The book starts with the notion that something is dark and sinister is coming back to the world, and it will take more than the book to know what exactly “The Others” are. But is enticing, and just as the teaser from HBO, it leaves you wanting to know WTH just happened? 

Then, the “real” story stars. The book is written in a way that every chapter is told from the point of view of a different character. We have 3-4 main houses, the Starks, lords of Winterfell (as you can imagine, they are winter people); the Baratheons, the Lanisters and the Targaryens. All separated and yet intertwine in their stories.  Long time ago, the Targaryen king was defeated and now the king from the house of Baratheon rules.  But, not surprisingly, there is people who want that throne too…hence, the Game of Thrones. 
Unlike LOTR there is no magic all over the place; you can imagine a neo feudal world, even Tudor like if you want, but there is talk of ancient times when dragons where around.  Like LOTR you will consult the map at the beginning of the book quite often and at first (at least it happened for me) will have to pay close attention at the number of secondary characters spawning here and there.

Something I really liked about this book was that you cannot take sides. Why? Because all the characters are full of flaws and virtues, so I ended up liking characters that will at the end be enemies (or will they? I don’t know, I’ve only read the first book!). No “team Eddard” vs. “team Daenerys”, no, you kind of want both of them to succeed, and then again no, because the other, and so on. 

I do have a character that I didn’t like…for most of the book, and that’s Sansa Stark. Why? Because for most of the book she is this obnoxious tween obsessed with her prince, oblivious of how she is being used and manipulated even when horrible things are there in front of her! But I think she will redeem herself on the second book…well, I hope. 

Favourite characters? Arya and Daenerys, one young and strong from the beginning, and the other young and learning her own strength. I love a book with strong, non bitchy female characters.  Oh and Tyrion, someone so in touch with his own disabilities that manages to makes them his own strengths.

                Let them see that their words can cut you and you will never be free of their mockery. If they want to give you a name, take it and make it your own. Then they can’t hurt you with it anymore.

The rest of the boys and men in this book are still growing on me. Don’t get me wrong, they have their moments, but sometimes they are a bit too…I don’t know exactly, but that’s that.
The descriptions of the areas are really good, but sometimes there is a bit too much…like in a moment where the trumpets are calling…tutururu tuturuuuu tuturuuu…ah? Really? You don’t need to be THAT literal about the situation!

Did I like the book? Yes, I did. In the end it kind gave me hope that it would give me more than I was hoping for, but it left me in a cliff hanger. This is not bad, is just that it will wait until the second book. And is not a cliff hanger like the one in The Girl who played with fire, in which you HAVE to start The girl who kicked the hornet’s nest ASAP, otherwise you cannot sleep. No, is more like a : hmm I wonder what happens, but I can wait, is ok. 

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