Friday, May 4, 2012
A Game of Thrones [spoilers]
I finally got around to reading George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones.
Yes, I enjoyed the book. I totally fell in love with the Stark family, that's for sure. I despised the Lannisters. I thought the land that Martin had created was pretty cool. I was super interested in the lands beyond the Wall in the north.
(By the way, this is not a book for kids. I would argue that even a lot of teenagers shouldn't read this...but that's just me.)
Most people may not care about this, but I was appalled and severely annoyed by all the sex. I felt like it wasn't even necessary. And it really wasn't, at least not the borderline pornographic descriptions. I can't stand it when authors include so many sexual scenes, especially when they could just as easily have been left out and the story not hurt one bit. (The exception here I suppose is what Bran sees before his fall, but that was disgusting, too, and I don't really know why Martin wanted to write about twins being incestuous...EW.) I'm sorry, but I've read too many fantasy books that give me the impression that authors seem to believe writing in a fantasy world gives them grounds to write about descriptive sexual situations...this is why I usually stick to children's fantasy books. They're just as good, if not better.
Martin is a good writer, but he's not great. At least that's how I feel from reading this first book in his series. I will read the rest of them; he's got me hooked, which says a lot. But I will not go so far as to compare him to J.R.R. Tolkien or even Ursula K. LeGuin. (I can't compare him to Robert Jordan because I haven't read the Wheel of Time series, and I probably won't...there are way too many of those.) No one, and I mean absolutely no one, can be compared to Tolkien as far as fantasy epics go. Martin has created believable characters, especially in the Stark family. I can't really say yet how I feel about Daenerys Targaryen, but I think that's Martin's fault. He didn't allow to come into her own until the very end of the book, so really I have to wait until the next book to get a better feeling about her.
My favorite characters were the Starks (obviously), but particularly Arya and her father, and his bastard son Jon Snow. I was incredibly upset and sad when Eddard Stark was murdered, but I thought that Martin did a wonderful job of showing how some children have to grow up far too fast.
I probably could write a lot more about this book and the things I didn't like, but I'll leave it at this and give it 3 1/2 stars. My apologies to anyone who thinks this is one of the best books ever, but I can't agree. I've read far better in the realm of high fantasy.