Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review: Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) by George R.R. Martin

This audio book was a 34 hour commitment, but one I'm glad I made.

Unlike anything I had ever read before, GAME OF THRONES, is an epic medieval fantasy novel set in the land of Seven Kingdoms.  George R.R. Martin builds this world in such vivid detail, while keeping the action moving along at a steady pace. 

At first, I was very confused with the different Houses, and the ranking characters within each.  Thanks to Wikipedia, I kept the color-coded list of characters ready to glance at with each chapter.  After a few hours, and Roy Dotrice's superhuman ability to give each one of this huge cast of characters their own voice, I felt I knew the characters as well as if I were watching them on the screen.

There was a lot of action in this book, in both love and war, and neither for the faint of heart.  While the battle scenes could be bloody, so were the acts of love.  There is one scene in particular which turned my stomach a bit.  Still, I admired the characters' motivations, and Martin's unflinching courage to write such a scene. 

I spent 34 hours of my life over the course of 5 weeks listening to GAME OF THRONES, yet I can boil this review down to a few words:

Smart.
Suspenseful.
Sexy.
Happy endings need not apply.
It's just plain cool.

Now that I have gotten through the original, I really want to see the TV show!  Will I read the next book?  I'm not sure.  These are not quick reads.  Entertaining as hell, but not quick.  If I had a week on a beach or in a ski lodge, definitely.

Book Extras:
George R R Martin's Website
Character List
HBO Show Homepage


About the Audiobook:
  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Random House Audio; Unabridged edition (April 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307913090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307913098


  • About the Author:
    George R.R. Martin sold his first story in 1971 and has been writing professionally since then. He spent ten years in Hollywood as a writer-producer, working on The Twilight Zone, Beauty and the Beast, and various feature films and television pilots that were never made. In the mid '90s he returned to prose, his first love, and began work on his epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. He has been in the Seven Kingdoms ever since. Whenever he's allowed to leave, he returns to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lives with the lovely Parris, and two cats named Augustus and Caligula, who think they run the place.

    *Disclosure:  I purchased the audio download of this book.

    4 comments:

    Zibilee said...

    My husband is in the middle of the third book right now, and he is anxious for me to get started with them so we can talk about them. I do want to read them, but I am concerned that they are such a time investment. But the buzz has been universally good, and I don't think I can hold back much longer! Great review today!

    Alison's Book Marks said...

    I usually read a book faster than I can listen to it. Some people listen to audiobooks on 1.5x speed, but I can't do that, especially a book like this with so many different characters to pay attention to. My point being, it will NOT take you 23 hours to read the book!

    laurathewise said...

    So good!! I read and loved all 5 so far. I like that the characters and chapters switch around; I know that people can find it confusing but I prefer it to being stuck in one character's head the whole time. :)

    Introverted Jen said...

    "Happy endings need not apply." Ain't that the truth!

    I have loved the first three books. I admire the way that Martin keeps twisting and turning this plot. It's still not at all predictable!

    I really enjoyed the tv show, even though it felt like they raced through the book. It is *very* graphic though.

    I admire your patience in listening to the audio! I don't think I could do it, but I have heard from several people that it is fabulous. Glad you enjoyed!

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