Sunday, 12 February 2012

George R.R. Martin- A Song of Ice and Fire- A Game of Thrones

A Song of Ice and Fire- A Game of Thrones
Harper Voyager
George R. R. Martin
1996


"When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives."

Like many, many other people, I made the decision to read the first part of George R.R. Martin's epic fantasy (is there any other kind of fantasy?) series thanks to the fantastic television adaptation Game of Thrones. I'm not usually a fan of serious fantasy literature, so without the show it's unlikely I would've considered reading this book. Upon finishing it I must conclude that, again, without the TV show I probably wouldn't have finished it, either. That's not really a complaint, though, just a personal confirmation that I could have quickly lost interest in this book had I not already been guided through the plot, and I'm glad I had that mental assistance because it was ultimately worth it.

Martin is far from a prose stylist, and as a result I found it took some time and plot development for the characters to appeal to me. While Martins does his best to constantly present the viewpoints of a wide array of different types of people, their similarity did initially seem off-putting at first, but after time it does seem to come together to provide a coherant tone for this universe, and the author's efforts do eventually pay off. This is certainly a character-driven book (translate well on to the screen), and it's through caring for, or being intruiged by some, if not all of them, that the plot is driven forward with force. The more I read, the quicker my reading pace became, helped by Martin's straight-forward language and quality dialogue.

I can see why so many people have so quickly began to enjoy this series, although I'm not sure how long it'll take me to get through. I have the next book, A Clash of Kings, sitting on my to-read pile, and I should get around to reading it before Game of Thrones- Series 2 begins in April, although it's also tempting to watch the show first. Whichever happens, I'm pretty sure I'll read every book eventually, having been drawn in to this fantasy world by an author with a strong imagination and the impressive ability to open up the niche world of serial epic fantasy fiction to the widest audience since Lord of the Rings.