Sunday, February 12, 2012

book review: "A Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin

I like fantasy novels, but I'm the type of reader who won't touch a "popular" book until the hype has died down. However, since my book club Flips Flipping Pages will be discussing "A Game of Thrones" this month, I thought it was time I read it.

From the beginning of the novel the reader is presented with the challenge of keeping track of the numerous characters and their relationships with each other. Thank God for the appendix at the end. And it seems from the way AGoT is written, from the points-of-view of different characters, that Martin wants his readers to empathize with House Stark. Or it could just be me.

Once King Robert Baratheon arrives at Winterfell, one has a foreboding of terrible times to come, especially after a certain likeable character has an unpleasant "accident". My experience throughout the novel was that of a helpless spectator to a tragedy; you can't keep your eyes off the carnage.

A lot of things happen in the book, but once you reach the end it feels like everything was simply a setup for the rest of the series (of which there are currently 4 books, not including this one, out of a projected 7). Yet you can't help but read the next book in line. And watch the TV series.

Aside: For those who have read Garth Nix's Abhorsen trilogy, the Wall of Westeros reminds me of the Wall between the Old Kingdom and Ancelstierre. Even the supernatural beings (the Others vs. the Dead Hands and Free Magic elementals) feel similar. Coincidence?


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