Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Game of Thrones: review

I always feel a little silly writing reviews. I mean, I'd much rather talk about books than give an opinion on them. I don't think I'm qualified to judge, for one thing, and also it's excruciating to try to describe a book without giving anything away. But here goes.

Tiny synopsis: would be impossible. This book is nearly 800 pages. It's told from so many points of view that I lost track (eleven, maybe? fourteen?). It is a sweeping, epic tale that has more intrigue, backfighting, betrayal, double-crossing, and feuding than you can shake a stick at. People are murdered, poisoned, attacked by ghosts, beheaded, savaged by hounds, stabbed, axed, maced, pushed off buildings, and much much more. Couples are in it for love, they're in it for money, they're in it for power, they're in it for glory, they're in it for honor, or they hate each other with a passion. Siblings are devoted, hateful, cunning, needy, and protective. Families are savage, loyal, honorable, disgraceful...

Can you tell I liked this book yet?

I won this book in a contest run by Susan, and I can honestly say I never would have found it on my own. I like a big sweeping tale as much as the next person, but this probably wouldn't have landed on my radar, as it's technically SF&F. Let's face it, my radar right now is almost exclusively YA, with an occasional MG and the odd policy book for work.

I am so glad it came my way. I don't know how to talk about it, without giving away secrets or revealing too much. Here is what I can say: it's a story of a kingdom, and the families and people who are ruling it, have ruled it in the past, and would like to rule it in the future. It's like a story from the middle-ages, with a sprinkling of fantasy. It's dense. 
It's complex, compelling, with characters that don't just leap off the page, they rocket from it, grab you, and take you back into their world with them. And did I mention one character has a dog named Ghost!! Just like me! Though my overweight Aussie is nothing like Jon's wolf.


Gratuitous shot of my awesome dog. 

The multiple POV aspect is so well done. When you experience the world from each character's perspective you see life as they see it. That means that their choices are more nuanced, and it's not easy to write one person off as "good" or "evil". Of course there are some major baddies, who can't be anything but, but there are also people who maybe are in a situation because of their family, or have to make choices in a world that is not black and white. It is a vivid world, full of color, and more shades of gray than you can imagine. 

And... they are making it into a MOVIE on HBO. OMG. I looked it up, to find one of my all-time faves, Sean Bean is one of the main characters (Eddard Stark). Jennifer Ehle was cast as Catelyn Stark but was later dropped! Oh no!
 
I also found this hottie (trivia: Lisa Bonet's baby daddy) is playing Khal Drago.


Sign me up.

I will definitely be reading the rest of the books, and I will have to rent the series when it gets to Netflix.

2 comments:

  1. Oh, I love this book! I swallowed it in giant chomps over a few days on vacation. When I was at WorldCon this year, George R R Martin gave a reading from the prologue of the next book to be published--you could have heard a pin drop in the incredibly crowded room, and at one point we all gasped, and it was like we sucked the air out of the room. Such great books, and I can't wait for the HBO series!

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  2. GAAAAH!! SO GLAD YOU LIKED IT!!

    It's one of those series where you can talk hours about it. Seriously, whenever my friends and I get started, we don't stop...

    "You remember that part where blahblahblah? Oh GOSH. And then that part where blah happens? Holy crow!"

    I can't even imagine the planning involved in writing this series. I am biting my nails waiting for book 5 -- book 4 ends on a real cliffhanger!

    Yeah, just wait until you read book 4... You're gonna just shake your head in awe at how much EVERYTHING is connected.

    And oh gosh, the HBO series looks fantastic. I can't wait. CAN'T WAIT.

    WINTER IS COMING!

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