January 02, 2012

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Ok, so this is probably wildly unpopular of me, but I found A Game of Thrones to be only average. After all the hype and build up I'd experienced for this novel I expected something amazing. And well, it wasn't. I'm not saying it wasn't a good book, but it wasn't something wholly original and marvelous either.

Upheaval seems to be nothing new for the world A Game of Thrones takes place in. There are always intrigues and other things to keep people on their toes. Among them, the family Stark has been charged with upholding honor and in their frozen north it seems honor may be all they have compared to the wealth of the southern cities. But when Lord Stark is called to be the hand of the King, he is thrust into politics and danger lurks at every corner. And whether he likes it or not, his children are involved in one way or another as well. In a different part of the land, Deny, a young princess has just been made bridge to the lord of a fierce and wild tribe. Descended from Kings and outcasted, she knows in her blood that she is the last of the dragons. She wants to regain her homeland, but with a crazed brother and new rules to learn with her new tribe, she wonders if she will be able to be strong enough to rule.

So while the Starks are the main characters of this novel, Deny is my favorite. She is a very intriguing character. Young, but with a good head on her shoulders and strong when she needs to be. But she can also be brutal which makes her interesting. The Starks are ok, especially Jon, the son sent to guard the dangerous wall to the North. He has a lot of compassion despite the way he is treated so often. The other Stark kids I didn't find as fascinating, and honestly, a good portion of them were just annoying and sniveling. Their father wasn't very likable either as he seemed like an idiot with some of his decisions. The bad guys are ok, and can be very menacing at times.

This book is very brutal. There is rape, incest, war, abuse, and a myriad of other harsh topics. Its not for the light hearted. Some of it even made me cringe a bit. But the writing, when its flowing smoothly is good. My main complaint about this book is the amount it bounces around. Each chapter seems to be from a different point of view and I would have preferred to just have a couple point of views that maybe covered a couple chapters at a time instead. It would have made the book easier to follow. And in the beginning its definitely hard to follow with all the characters introduced and things going on. By the end of the book I was all caught up on who was who, but it lessened my enjoyment that it took so long to have that happen. The book wasn't extremely original either. While there were some elements that were I recognized bits and pieces from all over. And maybe Martin did have some of those elements first but he couldn't have had them all. Still entertaining reading and I like the fantasy genre so I can't bash it too hard, but I'm not going to proclaim it wonderful either.

A solid 3.5 stars from me. I'll definitely read the rest of the series and take a look at the tv show, but there are other fantasies I'd put ahead of it.

A Game of Thrones
Copyright 1996
807 pages

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