Sunday, May 8, 2011

GBC Book Review: A Game of Thrones

This book was recommended to me by Ross with whom I share a common love of Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, ROME, and Sherlock. We had been chatting about books we both enjoyed when he asked if I enjoyed fantasy novels. I was honest; once upon a time I loved fantasy novels but I hadn't read any in about eight years. He raved about A Game of Thrones and then sent me the link to 'Inside' for the HBO mini-series which was about to be released.

Given that Ross has never steered me wrong with movie, TV or book recommendations in the past, I picked up a copy of the book that afternoon. It then promptly sat around my apartment waiting for me to finish two other books. Once I started reading it, however, I couldn't put it down.

In the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire series, George R. R. Martin introduces us to the world of Westeros where summer and winter are not annual seasons but events that can last years, even decades, and after a long summer, winter is coming. The story moves between three main stories: the happenings at the court at King's Landing where intrigue and backstabbing rule the day; the struggle at the Wall, a giant structure at the far north of Westeros built to keep out wildings and the Others, where signs of trouble are brewing; and the plotings of the Targaryen's, offspring of the former king who was murdered, who have taken refugee in the free cities across the sea in the east.

Unlike many fantasy novels which have either good or bad characters, Martin creates a cast of characters with lots of grey and not every bad deed is done for bad reason. I constantly found my opinions of characters shifting, and was pleasantly surprised by the unexpected twists the plot took.

Written in such a way that it doesn't feel like a fantasy novel but more a historical fiction, I found A Game of Thrones to be a fantastic read, one I'm sure I'll come back to again, and would definitely recommend to anyone who just enjoys a well written book, fantasy or otherwise.

Also, the HBO series is proving to be a very good adaptation of the book so far (although I do have issues with a few changes) and if you're interested in watching it, watch it first before you start the book. Please keep in mind that these are definitely adult books and the series is staying true to that. Oh, what the heck, while I'm going on about the TV series, I might as well link to my favourite trailer.

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