Sunday, 28 July 2013

Book of the Week: Game of Thrones

"Winter is coming."

Firstly, I would like to apologise for my absence last week. I've had a very poorly pooch, so I've been spending every spare minute fretting and fussing over him! My poor baby! He's feeling much better now though, so on with the show!

The book I have chosen to review this week is the first in the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin. My new obsession, it tells a story of deceit and treachery, of kings and commoners, and of all those forced to partake in a deadly dance for power. I'm aware that I'm rather late to the party here, I wasn't sure it was going to be my kind of book to begin with, but boy how wrong I was! I'm flying through the third book as we speak (so no spoilers please), and I just can't stop! Here are a few of the many reasons I find myself unable to put it down.

Apart from the author's middle initials, I can't really see a massive similarity between these books and the work of Tolkien, although many people have made the comparison. I think it is more of an homage to the ruthless and bloody times of Imperial Rome myself, which it does actually say in a quote on the back cover - spot on SFX! Being an Ancient History graduate, I find this quality hugely appealing. Lots of bloody battles, murder plots and incest. Right up my street. If you're not into that, however, there's also a fair bit of magic, which I'm also very keen on. I don't know about you, but I really want a direwolf now! It would be black, and I'd call it Nox. Just a little side note for you.

As for the storyline, I love the unpredictability of it all. I won't give anything away, but he's not afraid to do a little killing is he?! I actually found myself shouting at the pages in disbelief at one point - if you've read it, you'll know exactly what I mean, and if you haven't, hurry up so you can join me with my shot nerves and frazzled emotions! I adore an author who's not afraid to keep you on your toes though. A book where absolutely no one is safe is a book that keeps me guessing until the very end, and in my eyes, there is nothing better.

I also love that the good and the bad aren't clear cut. It is not told in numerical chapters, but each section is written from the point of view of one of the many (and I mean many) central characters. I like that, due to this, I actually find myself sympathising with the most unlikely of characters, Tyrion Lannister being a particular favourite of mine. In the real world, no one is inherently good, or completely rotten to the core. We all contain a bit of both (although hopefully a lot less of the nasty stuff), and so do the characters between these pages. The protagonists make mistakes, and are often ruled by their hearts, not their heads, whilst their enemies do have at least a few redeeming qualities. The family loyalties and the political affiliations mean that you can see the reasoning behind every decision, even if you know it's the wrong one, and the fact there are two sides to every story, and you are able to read both, leaves you more informed but every bit as suspicious as the characters themselves. I find that this makes for a distinctly more interesting read than those that are very black and white, thus adding to growing the list of things I love about this series.

Finally, the detail with which Martin has created this fantasy world is astounding, and one of the many brilliant aspects of the book that kept me enthralled. I think it is here that people draw the Tolkien comparison, as the rich scenery and the detailed history of Westeros is rather similar in the care and attention it has quite obviously received, to Middle Earth. Sometimes it's even a little too elaborate. It's taken me until now to wrap my head around the who's who of it all, and as soon as I get to grips with it, he goes and chucks in a new family of Tyrells or Tywins or something or other. The confusion is only minor though, and as long as you understand who the key characters are, the fact that about 6 Brandons are mentioned in as many pages doesn't make the story any less amazing.

So there you have it, the fantastic fantasy fiction that is Game of Thrones! Have you read any of this series? Are you as unhealthily obsessed as I am? Let me know. Although please bear in mind that the part I have gotten to is still a bit behind the TV series, so please try not to mention anything that might ruin it for me. It's a miracle that I've managed to avoid spoilers up until now!


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  1. I am obsessed with watching Game of thrones and I bought the book this week since it's the summer break from uni, which means I can actually read something that isn't for my course. Yay. Although, I have only got a couple of chapters in, i'm enjoying it. I really like this post and I completely agree with you when you say that you like that there being no clear cut line between who is good or evil within the book. :)


    1. Haha I remember that feeling of guilt every time you picked up a book that wasn't written by a scholar! This is definitely a good choice though! I'm excited for you! And thank you, I'm glad you agree =) xx

  2. Omg, lol, I thought I was the only one screaming at the book...... Shocking isn't it? I kinda miss you know who - and I'm already at the third book. -.- I was so pissed off, you have no idea. But yeah, it's a damn great book!!! Keep reading. It gets better. :)

    1. So do I!! And don't worry, I was definitely with you on the screaming part! I've just started the fourth! I'm powering through them like nobodies business and I have so many things that need doing but I can't stop! I'll do them after the next chapter ;) xx