George R R Martin is a great writer. He is famous nowadays for writing ‘The Song of Ice and Fire’ series. A lot of authors have been dubbed the next Tolkien, but it looks like he is the one. His books are shaping up to be the defining fantasy novels of the genre. I love him as an author and eagerly await his future books.
Martin’s writing style focuses on the characters. He doesn’t use the third person view of a storyteller, each of his storylines are presented from the point of view of a character who experiences it. And sometimes in later books we even find that said character has misinterpreted or completely missed important plot points. Martin also does a great job of getting into his characters mindset and defining their motives. Each of the character in his books are driven by their motives, and even though most of them might seem selfish to us, we can see how they are justifiable from their point of view. He doesn’t just plop the characters down on the story either, each of them have their family, their relations with other characters, and a backstory that shows how they ended up as they are, even for the most despicable of characters.
Martin uses his superb writing and makes us love his characters, and get invested with them, and it hurts that much more when he kills them off. Possibly because he’s a sadistic bastard? Who knows.
Another thing Martin excels in is the plot.
He is writing an incredibly complex plot in ‘The Song of Ice and Fire’ and he is presenting it through the eyes of a dozen characters. Yet he manages to keep all these storylines consistent and interesting, they all come together and mesh into a single one in the readers mind.
Worldbuilding is another area Martin excels in.
The world he created for ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ is incredibly detailed. The only thing Tolkien’s Middle-Earth has on it is the constructed languages. It has a great map, a well defined history, and is populated by a set of noble families that are shown in superb detail. Each family has it’s own little history that seamlessly meshes with the others. Sometimes these histories go back for hundreds of years. I believe that the success of a fantasy book depends largely on it’s worldbuilding, and Martin doesn’t disappoint.
The only complaint I have against him is that his book series is seven books long, and is spread out over two decades. Every time a new book comes out the reader must go and reread some books to refresh the plot, this is fine for two or three books, but for seven? Even the best of authors might have unhappy readers with a series this long.