Friday, August 15, 2014

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

Release Date: March 4, 2011 (First published August 6, 1996)
Publisher: Bantam
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire series, Book 1

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

In a world where summer can last for years and winter is harsh for even the most hardy of person, Westeros was home for families who traced their lineage back to the founding fathers. Knights and nobles traveled the land while their peasants kept the grand houses running. When the King came calling at Lord Stark's household, he could hardly refuse with their bond a deep as siblings. It was during the King's stay that Stark's world changed forever.

Soon the Stark family has been scattered upon the winds as some travel in company of the King and others had their own agendas to fulfill. Secret deals and bloodied hands tested the most stalwart of nobles. After the kingdom sees the death of one king and the rise of another, the cold winds of winter began to sweep through the land. Prophecies long forgotten by many started to unfold before the eyes of the current generation. Where will it leave the land of Westeros? Will all the answers ever be found?

I reviewed Book III of this series last year as I had bought up to that particular book. Now that I own the complete released set which includes all five books, I decided to read the series from the beginning. To keep from repeating myself, I won't be reviewing the third book but I will read it again so I can keep track of the intricate layers of theory and revelation going on within the saga. Truth be told, I actually read the second book years ago without realizing it was a series. It wasn't until word about the television show began to spread that my interest was piqued once again.

The first book in the series set the groundwork for the world in which the characters lived. Many of the characters were enmeshed in centuries old prophecies and allegiances that weighed on them in their present day. There was no central character for the entire book to revolve around, but each chapter was headed by a different person. All manner of people filled the world of Westeros. Rich, poor, honorable, dishonorable - nearly every part of society was present in the different areas of the book. Those we thought admirable have a bleaker, darker side that slowly revealed itself. The grey areas made the large book enjoyable for me.

With a lot of ground to cover and such a large cast of characters, it wasn't unexpected for the pace to be slow in some areas of the book. I did find myself skipping a paragraph here or there when the descriptions of the areas went on a bit long, but ultimately went back to read them because I had missed something. When the intrigue or battles began, there was a feeling of anticipation within the writing as events headed toward conflict. Now, with so many pieces in the game, it will be interesting to see how the entire saga concludes in the future books.

Overall, I liked this book even if I struggled through the slow parts of the story. I'm curious to re-read the other books and find more of the secrets that I missed the first time through the stories. Even though many have voiced their favorite houses or characters, I'm still undecided with this book. I loved how sassy Tyrion was but also how deep honor was ingrained in Eddard's character. Maybe the second book will help me to narrow down the field. If you're a lover of long, sweeping sagas or enjoy a large-scale adventure novel, this will be the series for you to begin - whether you've seen the show or not.

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin is currently available both online and in many local retailers across the globe. The book can be purchased in hardcover, paperback, audio-book, and Kindle formats. Clicking on the link below will bring up the book's Amazon page.
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin

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