I Do Not Read Books (1): A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin

The following post is the first in an on-going yet randomly occurring series of book reviews from Fernando, my webmaster/test taster/getter of things on high shelves.  He doesn't read a lot of novels, thus the title of the series.

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice & Fire #1)
George RR Martin

Spectra (1996)
835 pages
Epic Fantasy / Adventure

Purchase it here from Amazon

Leslie will tell you, I do not read often. So, it is amazing to me (and her) that this year I read, and finished, three. George RR Martin's A Game of Throne was the first of those three. Okay, admitting I am a huge fan of the HBO series of the same name. Second, this book was a swag gift at Comic Con 2011. Those are two advantages that the book had over most titles in the Leslie Library of Awesomeness.

For me, a predominantly TV and movie person, one reason I was able to digest a book as long as A Game of Thrones was because the book splits its chapters by character names. Each chapter is told from one of several main characters' perspectives. That is the biggest way it kept my interest because each chapter turned into a scene for that character. Combined with amazing characters, thrilling situations and a deep rich plot and the result becomes an amazing experience.

A Game of Thrones is set in the fictional world of Westeros filled with knights, direwolves, imps, white walkers, ravens, bastards, water dancers and dragons. It centers on a Northern born family, the Starks, and chronicles their integration into the huge web of politics, lies and wilderness that make up the seven kingdoms of Westeros.

While the Stark family does make up a majority of the chapters in the book, they are not the only focus in the book. The plot truly revolves around three main points. One, The Night’s Watch and their perils at the Wall (a giant wall that protects the kingdom from an old enemy long thought gone - the white walkers). Two, the simmering tensions that exist between the Noble families that makes seven kingdoms. Three, the epic journey of an exiled brother and sister who want to reclaim their birthright: The Iron throne of King’s Landing, the capital of Westeros.

The book opens with a chilling tale of mystery involving white walkers and some of the men of the Night’s Watch (men sworn to no king who take no wives and, supposedly, father no children). This is one of many facets that I think made this book so good. A great starting point, the book could have been about nothing more than the adventures of the Night’s Watch and the perils they face, and this book would have been good. Instead it is an ever present plot point that will haunt you all the way throughout the story.

Then come the tensions between the Lannisters and the Starks. The Lannisters, who are the wealthiest family of the seven kingdoms, in fact often said, "A Lannister always pays their debts." You have the eldest Daughter, the maniacal queen Cersei Lannister, married to the fat womanizing Robert Baratheon. And who is Robert's best friend? That would be none other than the head of the Stark Family, Eddard Stark. Tensions run deep between the Starks and Lannisters.

Lastly the journey of the Targaryen siblings. Currently living in exile, elder brother Viserys sells his sister Daenerys to a tribal kingdom in the east, the Dothraki, in an effort to procure an army that he may lead to reclaim his father's kingdom. These chapters are told from Daenerys' point of view and become her evolution into womanhood.

I truly enjoyed every moment of the book. At Comic Con, Martin disclosed that when he writes his characters in a corner, they die. And he keeps true to that. If you like great characters in a deep rich medieval fantastical world, you will love A Game of Thrones.