Thursday, 27 February 2014

Review: Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Blurb: Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. It will stretch from the south, where heat breeds plot, lusts and intrigues; to the vast frozen north, where a 700-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond. Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords and honest men. All will play the game of thrones.

What I thought: I don't normally read this kind of book (epic fantasy series, apart from Harry Potter) but I loved it. It's so popular, and everyone's been going on about it for so long- mainly because of the TV series- that I wanted to try it. I was pleasantly surprised and read pretty much the whole thing when I was on holiday last week.

The story is a lot more complex than most books- there are different plots and areas and a hell of a lot of characters with unusual names (Daenerys, Jaime, Drogo, Viserys). Because of this, the story is more spread out, and you don't get so much detail about people. You aren't so invested in their lives, which is probably a good thing because damn, they drop like flies. And also most of the characters are not very nice. You have bad people, and better people, and the occasional good person, but they don't tend to last very long. My favourites were Arya and Tyrion, because they were just SO AWESOME.

One of the things that really annoyed me were the typos and misspellings. I understand that it's a big book, but come on. If a fifteen year old girl can spot them, surely one of the no doubt multiple people working on publishing the book should have. I always get really annoyed about this, especially in really, really good books like this, because it brings the whole level down.

Another thing I like to rant about, about Game of Thrones, is this quote from the blurb; "Book One of A Song of Ice and Fire begins the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age". Um, no. No no no no no. Just because you have a popular book series and a TV show does not make you the "greatest". George R. R. Martin may be an awesome writer, but he is not J K Rowling, and I stand by Harry Potter.
This brings me onto other stuff I didn't like, or felt this book was lacking in (especially compared to HP). First; this is a great story- it's interesting and funny and dramatic, but that's all it is. I don't know if this side improves further down the series, but I doubt it. There is just no morality aspect. I don't know if that makes any sense to people who aren't me, but whatever. There is no clear good and bad, there is just bad and bad and bad and better. Like, in Harry Potter there was the whole love-will-kill-Voldemort thing, and the question of whether what they were doing was actually right. Game of Thrones doesn't have that, and it's perfectly fine to have an awesome plot/characters/etc. but you need something more.
Another thing I didn't like was the treatment of women. A lot of the Game of Thrones world is based off medieval times, but enough has been changed that I would have thought they could at least make feminism a thing too. Most women are either stupid, cruel, or prostitutes. There are SO MANY prostitutes. I think the only three (girls, not prostitutes) that I actually liked were Arya, Daenerys and Catelyn. Most of the actual conspiring and war stuff is done by the men, with the notable exceptions of Cersei and Daenerys, which I don't think is right. It's unnecessarily sexist, and I think if women had a bigger part (which actually, I think they do further down the series) the plot line and books would gain a lot.

However, despite the length and other issues, this is a very good book and I loved it. In no way is it deep or meaningful, but it's fun and dramatic and interesting reading. I would recommend it to fans of The Lord of the Rings, and fantasy/historical fiction.

Rate: 7/10

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