A Game of Thrones is the first book in the seven book series titled ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ by George R R Martin. Published for the first time in 1996, it has won awards all over the place.
This is a great book, the only criticisms that I have about the series don’t come up till much later. This particular book is great.
Unfortunately it’s also a ways above pg-13, so this is not for the kiddies.
The story tells the tale of the continent sized kingdom called ‘The Seven Kingdoms’. A medieval world with knights and castles all over the place. The book follows the history of the kingdom from the point of view of various characters, usually members of the nobility and the ones moving said history along. The primary noble family he uses for this are the Starks, a family that rules over the cold northern lands of the kingdom. This being a fantasy world, there is magic in it. But the magic is shown as distant and borderline superstition. We the reader are given an inkling of a magical disaster that will soon come, but the majority of the story goes on with no magical help whatsoever. This means that the characters must use their wits and skills to overcome their problems rather than wait for a magical solution.
Martin uses a small army of characters and multiple storylines to tell this story (Three by the end of the book) but he doesn’t bog the reader down by making them struggle to remember the characters or slog through the storylines. In fact, he keeps the characters memorable and storyline engaging right until the end. This is what made the book such a hit with me.
Martin does a really great job with his characters, he gets into their mindset and portrays how a person living in a medieval world world would think and act. This is a refreshing change from the authors who try to impose 21st century morality on fantasy worlds. This might put some people off, but for me it makes the characters more real.
Another thing you will need to do to enjoy this book is understanding that there is no main character per-se. No hero who will save the world from the coming darkness and get the girl on the side. This story reads like a true history of a fictional world, and the motives of a of of the characters are selfish. They might save the world if pressed, but they will make sure to get something out of it first. So be careful about getting invested in anyone character. No one has hero status and the plot armor that comes with it. Any one can die. Good and honorable doesn’t always win the day either, in fact they are usually the first to die.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy fiction. Whether you are a new reader or a veteran who has slogged your way through uncounted Trilogies and Decalogues, this book will have you hooked.