A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Smudge does not snuggle books, even really good ones.

Smudge does not snuggle books, even really good ones.

Why I Read It: Because I like riding on the tail of wagons. Oh, and this dude in line for Sanderson signatures at Bubonicon highly recommended the series.

Where I Got It: The library.

Who I Recommend This To:
Epic fantasy freaks who love their characters grey and their plots twisted about each other.

Narrator: Roy Dotrice

Publisher: Books on Tape (2004)

Length:
28 CDs

Series: Book 1 Song of Ice and Fire

This is a very complex book. I suggest you check out this wikipedia article if you want a comprehensive summary of the book. I will simply tell you every little thing I loved about this book. First off, the characters are complicated; while there are some few that are more evil or more good than the rest, by and large they are all grey, each having a gentler side and a ruthless side. At first, the Starks of Winterfell seem driven by honor and therefore, will hold the bulk of the good deeds for the book, while the various competing families of the capital city King’s Landing appear to hold the lot of plotting, scheming, nefarious deeds. But the plots quickly become much more interesting, especially as the ‘heroes’ are forced into hard choices and the supposed villains show hints of decency (such as Tyrion Lannister)

Add to that a removed, but related, plot line occurring across the seas on the grassy plains of the wandering tribes of the Dothraki. The last remaining Targaryens live in exile among these horse nomads, dreaming of the day they will reclaim their throne. Daenerys became one of my favorite characters because she grows so much throughout this book. While I know her end goal could put my other favorite characters in jeopardy, I couldn’t help but root for her.

Much closer to home, the Wall north of Winterfell is manned by the Night’s Watch and they keep eyes on the forest and the possibility of The Others, a race thought to be mythological by most. Jon Snow, the bastard son of Ned Stark, joins this Watch along with his direwolf. I am really looking forward to see what George Martin does with Jon, the Night Watch, and the walled-out forest in the next book.

I loved Arya right away, the younger daughter of Ned Stark. She’s strong-willed and much more interested in being self-sufficient than her very lady-like Sansa. I found Sansa young and vapid, until the last bit of the book, where she is forced to grow up quicker than she wanted to. Tyrion Lannister is a dwarf and the younger son of the Lord Tywin, a hard man who has little use for his ‘deformed’ son. Tyrion had some of the best lines throughout the book and I always looked forward to the sections told in his voice.

The narration was excellent. The cast of characters in this book alone is HUGE and Roy Dotrice did an incredible job of making each one of them distinct and recognizable. He varied the accents and ages of each, as appropriate. If I have any criticism, it is that his feminine voices just aren’t really feminine. Distinct, but more like soft-spoken males. Still, I loved his narration and plan to continue the series with him, as I can’t imagine Tyrion’s voice any other way.

And no, I haven’t watched HBO’s series yet, and have been very diligent about avoiding any such spoilers.

readandreviewbuttonWhat I Liked: Direwolves; dragons; spies; traitors; death; the well thought out intricate plots; complex characters; Tyrion Lannister; plenty of sex; Martin world building includes these full-fledged varying cultures.

What I Disliked: The narrated voices for the ladies could benefit from a bit more femininity; alas, there are no maps with an audiobook.

This review is part of the Read&Review Hop hosted by On Starships and Dragonwings. Make sure to stop by there to see more great reviews.

18 thoughts on “A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

  1. I watched the show first and then read the book the old fashioned way and loved both, so it’s good to hear that the audio is also fun :D. And I didn’t know that wagons had tails ;-). But yes, Daenerys is freaking awesome and I love her and am so excited to read the rest of the books and find out how all the plots will end up connecting, because it’s going to be epic :D

    • nrlymrtl says:

      Definitely epic. Both my man and I want to check out the HBO series now, but I am not sure if Season 1 sticks with Book 1 or drifts into Book 2, so we are holding off until we’ve read the second book.

  2. Rachel says:

    I tend to read books on the tail ends of fads, too. Especially series, because I like to wait until the series is over rather than eagerly waiting 10 years for the next book to come out. :p This one I’ve been trying to wait on. We’ll see how long I can manage to wait, before curiosity overcomes me. :)

    The Rape of Nanking – Read and Review Hop

    • nrlymrtl says:

      Because of how slowly I am getting the books from the library (as there is quite the waiting list), perhaps I will potentially be caught up when the next book comes out. It’s a series that can definitely stand rereads as it is so complex.

  3. Car says:

    I also read this book this year, since my boyfriend wanted to watch the series. I liked it but I haven’t continue with the rest of the series.

  4. Redhead says:

    I really love the first 2 books in this series, I should totally do a reread next year. I was just talking to a friend about this today, she does mostly audio books (she’s in the car a lot), and she was trying to decide if GoT was too involved for audio. the books have maps and family tree info in the back, which makes keeping track of the characters much easier!

    I like the books better than the TV show, but the show is fun to watch after you’ve read the book.

    • nrlymrtl says:

      Does Season 1 capture all of Book 1 or does it meander into Book 2? We are thinking about watching it over the winter break.

      • Redhead says:

        the TV season breaks so far match the book breaks pretty well from what I remember, so you should be OK. That unexpected thing that happens at the end of book 1 happens in the last 2 episodes of the show.

  5. TBM says:

    I am determined to start this series in 2013 and find out what all the hubbub is about!

  6. lynnsbooks says:

    I really enjoyed the first book – I thought it was fantastic, so many likeable characters and OMG can Martin write. I now have a confession – don’t laugh too hard at this – I actually started reading book No.4 instead of book No.2 and read about a third of it before my mistake became clear – mainly, my friend spotted it and couldn’t stop laughing for two full days. Basically book No.4 is split into two books over here and obviously I didn’t bother checking the titles, saw the ‘No.2′ and bahdahbing – wrong book! I really sometimes am unbelievably moronic. People kept saying ‘but how could you not realise – hadn’t the plot moved on’? To be truthful, the plot had moved on but I still was managing okay. Anyway, do I now go back and read the real book No.2 – given that I already know the fate of a good number of characters? I can’t decide so I’ve just stopped reading and am sitting on the fence. Oh well. I hope that makes you laugh! Something good has to come of it.
    Lynn :D

    • nrlymrtl says:

      That is funny. My similar confession is that I read the first 6 Dresden Files by Butcher out of order. I was just going by what I could get my hands on.

    • Kimsie says:

      Yes, yes, read book 2. If nothing else, you want to know how it happened, don’t you?
      Besides, half the point of the books is the prophecies and flashbacks.

  7. [...] based on the books, but it was only lately that I stumbled across George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones. It’s nitty gritty, complex, and full of flawed characters faced with tough decisions. I [...]

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