Book Review: A Game of Thrones

Book: A Game of Thrones

Author: George R. R. Martin

Genre: High Fantasy

Published: 1996

Publisher: Bantam Books

The cover of George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones, used under fair use for this book review.
The cover of George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, used under fair use for this book review.

I have been meaning to read A Game of Thrones for a few years now after seeing so many good reviews. I have never watched the TV series on HBO based off of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, so I am not comparing it to the adaptation.

I read through the book rather quickly considering how busy I have been lately, and I think it has to do with the quality of the writing and the depth of the characters and the constant surprises the novel threw my way. I assumed it would be a typical high fantasy novel, which is fine by me, but I learned that this novel is anything but typical.

It leaves out the most common fantasy tropes such as the Chosen One and average farm boy rising above all else. There is also a lack of magic ruling the way of life, although it is present. Instead, A Game of Thrones focuses on relationships and politics, something that fantasy novels usually leave out for a larger sense of adventure.

The main conflict is layered with multiple sides and Martin allows us to see each side and feel for every single character. There is no good versus evil. Each sides has its faults and each seems to look for something to gain.

Despite the rather slow start, the novel really kicked up a few chapters in and never cooled down. There were even a few parts that caught me by surprise, which is pretty rare.

I give the book 5 stars