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Book review: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A friend first recommended the Song of Ice and Fire series to me a couple years ago, so when a second friend also recommended it, I had to pick this up. Maybe I've been spoiled by J.R.R. Tolkien, but I wasn't overly impressed with this book, and never felt compelled to keep reading it. However, I reserve final judgment until after I finish the series (5 books total).

The tale is told from the viewpoint of 8 characters from various realms of the Seven Kingdoms; each chapter is spent with one of these characters. At the beginning of the book, each character's story begins separately and at a slow pace, but the stories accelerate and intertwine as the book progresses. Many chapters end with cliffhangers that are picked up when you cycle back to that character several chapters later.

Unlike The Lord of the Rings, where there are long dialogues to explain the backstory, Martin reveals information on a need-to-know basis; characters often drop hints or make revelations at the ends of chapters. There's a map to help find and remember locations, and several pages of the characters' houses (families) in the appendix. I didn't find these houses right away, so I spent the first quarter of the book struggling to remember the multitude of characters and their titles, nicknames, and relationships.

My favorite characters were Eddard Stark and Jon Snow. My least favorite was Daenerys Stormborn.

The book has a feeling of medieval ancientry to it; you get a glimpse into thousands of years of history. You experience the various cultures of the Seven Kingdoms, with their customs, attire, weaponry, and buildings. There are definitely worse fantasy books out there, but there are certainly better ones as well.

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