Monday, 30 January 2012
Game of Thrones Readalong Post #2, #3, and #4 (full book review)
I didn't finish A Game of Thrones before the final hour of A Winter's Respite Read-a-thon, but if it hadn't had been for the extra push of the read-a-thon I wouldn't have finished it in time for the ending of the read-a-long! (Say that 3 times fast!)
A Game of Thrones is a novel about just what the title says. The story is about the kings (and queens) and how they complete for the Iron Throne. Marion Zimmer Bradley herself says, "It is perhaps the best of the epic fantasies." It is the first book in the series A Song of Ice and Fire. Amazon describes it as "George R.R. Martin's high fantasy weaves a spell sufficient to seduce even those who vowed never to start a doorstopper fantasy series again." This is certainly true because normally I hate this genre!
What makes this novel the best is that the story is told from two different perspectives simultaneously. The first is as a historical account and the second at an intimately personal level. We see what it is like to be a king, the king's hand, a knight, a warrior, a child, and most of all, an outcast. There are so many different points of view in this novel and there is a character in this story that everyone can fall in love with.
What I loved the most about the novel was Martin's stories about the females. Some were weak and forced to submit to their kings, but a few were not only strong, they were heroines. One of my favorite characters was Arya. She is a young princess that preferred wielding a sword over a sewing needle like was proper in her day. Catelyn was a queen who reminded me of Athena in that she wisely offered advice about battle to her son who became the child leader of their army. But the most fascinating woman of the tale, who learns the price of dark magic, is featured on the cover of the book in the photo. Her name is Daenerys. While Daenerys does pay a price for dark magic, it is because of this, the true magic that runs through her blood is awakened. If I were to tell you what kind of magic that was, it would spoil the book.
My only complaint about this incredible book is that since it is a series, the story isn't wrapped up and the loose ends tied neatly. Instead the ending leaves you hungry for more. A Game of Thrones isn't light reading either. At 807 pages (not including the Appendix detailing the family trees) it is truly epic in it's scope. The characters are hard to keep track of at first. Some of the characters you grow to care about do not live. At the middle it started to lag and I grew frustrated, even bored. But then one death comes suddenly and with that death many of the kingdoms spiral into chaos. I think that was what was most fascinating. How one person affected the fate of literally thousands.
The book is called A Game of Thrones, but it does not end with a winner. Instead, you are set up for the next book in the series. It is at the same time frustrating and exhilarating. I especially loved the ending of A Game of Thrones and it left me eager to read the next book in the series.
(For a partial review, see Game of Thrones Readalong Post #1 where I talk a more about the male characters and the tv show.)