Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)A Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin
Evan’s ESS = 9 out of 10
Erin’s ESS =  out of 10
Content = (Adult Content, Violence, Language, Sexual Content, Nudity, Intrigue, Direwolves)

Why: We have officially set forth on our journey through the acclaimed A Song of Fire and Ice series. Considering that the average book is over 850 pages, our expedition could take a considerable amount of time (we’re literally talking years). Book one already provided us with yet another reminder that reading about powerful kings and queens is much more enjoyable than actually participating in a real life game of thrones. At the very least, your life expectancy will improve...

Any type of comprehensive summary of A Game of Thrones is completely beyond our skill with a keyboard (or IPod Touch). We’re not even going to try. Instead we’ll provide the following to give you a sense of the plot. There’s a King and a whole lot of people who will stop at nothing to become king. There’s betrayal, murder, fighting, biting and a tribe of wandering horse warriors looming ever closer in the distance. And just when you think you have a grasp on the key players, everything changes.... Hope that helps.

Within the first few pages A Game of Thrones had an epic feel (and an execution). We couldn’t help but let ourselves get pulled into the plot despite minor difficulties sorting out all the complex family trees. Some might describe the novel as overly descriptive but we appreciated the many back stories and enjoyed the extra layers they added to the story. The novel often blurred the lines between good and bad and made it difficult to hand pick our hero and heroine. Although, in some cases the choice was brutally clear. *cough* Jamie and Cersie Lannister *cough* (allow us a second to retrieve a throat lozenge).

The novel bounces between many different perspectives and often did so at the most inopportune and suspenseful moments. We felt the balance between plot lines was reasonable and honestly, the novel felt like a twist between The Lord of the Rings and The Pillars of the Earth... only a pinch darker. The prevalence of rape, prostitution, and violence was at times disturbing. Be forewarned.

Another aspect of A Game of Thrones worth pointing out is the imagery of the approaching winter, which was really well done. It was a powerful tool and only made us more apprehensive of the weather about to hit northern Indiana. On the bright side, what appears to be coming to the Seven Kingdoms seems to a whole lot worse than anything we’re in store for. We were also intrigued by the Direwolve pups that were given as pets to several characters. These animals added an extra dimension to the story, and were downright judicious at times. Still, probably not the best family pet...

For anyone who’s already completed this series, are we in for an exciting ride or does A Song of Fire and Ice peak at book 1?


  1. I loved the Game of Thrones series on HBO. Haven't read the books, but I plan to one day. :P

  2. It definitely gets better. Personally my favourite was book 3 (Storm of Swords- which I read split into two books) but even though book 4 and 5 were slight disappointments, they were still infinitely better than most books I've read this year.

    I really love the ambiguity about who is good/bad, because really, when in real life is it ever that clear cut? I also found the descriptive great, one issue I've come across in fantasy is unnecessary flowery description, but I felt like GRRM used his words well. Perhaps some could be cut out, but it never felt belaboured to me.

    Glad you guys enjoyed it, look forward to the next reviews...even if it's years from now!

  3. @Kayleigh YES I know! When participating in life, I can't approach someone and say, "Good job for being a hero!" even if the desire grabbed me. No, for even if someone does a good deed, who is there to say it isn't a bribe? Life is ambiguous, and we must all deal with it.

  4. I've been debating starting this series. I'm glad that you enjoyed the first one. That makes me want to get to them sooner rather than later. So long though. That's the only drawback. Interesting what you said about the ambiguity of good versus bad. I kind of like that in a book. To me, that's more realistic.

  5. Lei,
    Good to hear. I’m still debating whether or not to give the HBO series a try.

    Very good to hear! I’m going to have to hurry through book 2 just so I can get to 3! My favorite books are the ones where you don’t quite know who to root for. Although, I do get annoyed when I can’t find anyone to root for... I don’t think I’ll have that problem in this series - might just change alliances every so often...

  6. My Gosh the whole darn thing is so engrossing and absolutely relentless in pulling you in so deep that this run-on sentence can't even do it justice. "Everything Changes" is a good mantra to have while reading the whole warned. And it will take years to complete, I've been waiting about five years for Mr. Martin to finishe this latest installment! Welcome to h3ll.
    PS I caution the series... it's just as lurid with the prostitution and nudity. I do love it, but it definately makes me feel that "crap, Jesus is sitting beside me right now..." feeling :)

  7. I've been wanting to read this forever! Way to go embarking on the the series ;)

  8. Uomo di Speranza,
    Ambiguity is definitely what makes life interesting. Books often provide great insight into a character’s motivation, which would be really helpful in life... i.e. remorseful character who makes a bad decision or selfish character who makes a good decision. Too bad intent is almost always unavailable in real life...

    The novel is definitely long... and a bit wordy.... but good! Definitely love the realism that ambiguity brings.

  9. I, too, felt a bit of Pillars of the Earthwhile reading this (and I loved the direwolves - the name and the wolves themselves)

    I've heard disturbing rumors, though, that the series is so far an epic "potboiler" and some readers are impatient that not more has "actually happened" - even deeper into the series. perhaps I will let you test the waters of the future entries before I wade in...