Well I have done it, as I knew I eventually would – I started reading A Song of Ice and Fire well before the series ended. Perhaps it is weakness or perhaps I just wanted to read something quite awesome. Book 1 A Game of Thrones did not disappoint.
A Song of Ice and Fire really is a historical fiction based off The Hundred Years War and The War of Roses but with dragons and magic. I’ve heard the term “Low Magic” used to describe Martin’s use to magic in that it’s there but kind of just in the background. It does not shape everyday life as Branden Sanderson’s magic systems do in his books.
Book 1 starts the series off with introducing us to the main characters and their motives which of course, as the title suggests, is to sit atop the Iron Throne. Dishonourable men are pit against honourable men quite frequently in this book and from book 1 at least, one side seems to win more often than not.
I have heard that Martin’s cast of characters is so vast that it’s too hard to keep up with them all. Maybe it’s just because I am so used to reading epic fantasies that I didn’t find it hard to keep up at all. Even then, it really was only half a dozen or so main characters to keep up with. Martin even named each chapter after the point of view character. Not hard to keep up at all.
Much has been made about what the rating of this book should be. Not how much stars out of 5 this book should get (it’s generally agreed that it should get quite a few) but rather what age is it safe. Certainly there are lots of sexual references in this book but it’s not dominating. There is lots and lots of gore but that’s how war is fought. It’s messy. I say if you have the patience to read through a 800 page book, then go ahead and read it. The TV Show on the other hand………
This book took me longer to read than other epic fantasies of similar length. Maybe it was just too clear cut to keep my full attention. I mean, this exact story of political unrest has been played out dozens and dozens of times already. The key players may change and even the time period but essentially the same thing happens over and over again. History does in fact repeat itself.
Still, great read. There is nothing flashy about Martin’s writing style. Straight to the point.