Rating: 5/5 stars
“Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.
Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counter-plots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.“
If I told you that it took me about two years to read this book you’d probably wonder why I have still given it a five star rating. If I didn’t keep losing the darn novel I would probably have finished a lot quicker!
I’m not going to go into great detail in this review. The books are popular, partially due to the wonderful writing and partly because of the great television adaptation (of which I have only watched a couple of episodes but found it relatively close to the book and rather impressive). Anyway, the point being, if you don’t know what they’re about by now, or you’ve not read them by now, then my review isn’t going to change anything.
The length of the novel, the seemingly constantly switching viewpoints, and the goodness-knows-how-many characters are the most risky aspects of this novel. When you’re juggling this many things there’s a chance that you’re going to sacrifice clarity for the sake of detail. Interestingly, at no point did I feel overwhelmed with information, or lost, so Martin must be a darn good juggler!
In fact, it is perhaps the number of threads that helps to make the novel so special. It feels real. The characters are realistic, understandably flawed with individual personalities. Their actions make sense within the constraints of their lives and they interact as one would imagine. The politics is complex and the reader works with the characters to attempt to understand the intrigues going on around them. In a very short time, the reader has invested so much in the novel, in the characters, that there is no way one could put this book down… or at least that’s how I feel!