A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I had heard of A Game of Thrones through the reputation of the HBO series. I don't have an HBO subscription, so I don't plan to watch it. But I thought it might be fun to read the book. The novel isn't quite as focused on sex as the series is supposed to be. It has its share of both sex and violence, but all of the titillating aspects of the plot are justified in the written version. This is not a medieval Shades of Gray.
The plot is a massive story with more characters than I could keep track of. There is a listing of names in an appendix at the back. If I had known it was there, I would have taken advantage of it and that might have helped. But the main characters were well defined and whatever confusion I had with the minor ones didn't affect my appreciation of the work.
The story takes place during medieval times, in a world populated with lords, ladies, knights, and peasants. The fictional environment created by George R. R. Martin is realistically portrayed, but it branches off into mystical moments that are critical to the story. The shift from realism to mysticism is handled smoothly and fits well in the context of the story.
The majority of the plot concerns the relationship of Eddard (Ned) Stark with King Robert Baratheon and the conflict between Ned's family, the house of Stark and the family of the King's wife Cersei, the house of Lannister. There is intrigue, deception, jousting, battles, and everything else expected from a story about a struggle for power in that period. I loved the excitement as the various plots progressed.
The one thing I did not like about A Game of Thrones is that it doesn't stand on its own. Multiple subplots were left hanging when the book ended. I understand that it is part of a series, but it should still conclude the majority of the story lines. I want to know what happens to Arya and how Jon will fit in. Leaving something up in the air makes sense to me, but this book leaves too much unresolved. I plan to read the other books in the series, but I don't know how soon I'll get to them.
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