Book Review: A Game of Thrones, Book 1

A Game of Thrones is many things; Beautifully written, however, is not one of them. By beautifully written here, I am referring to Martin’s prose. It’s interesting, sure, intriguing even at points, but he’s no Patrick Rothfuss or Gaiman, and certainly no Tolkien. Usually I don’t go for authors who don’t write a beautiful sentence, yet I still found myself giving Game of Thrones five stars out of five. And that’s because it’s just so damn GOOD.

I always make a distinction between a good writer and a good author. There are many good writers out there: people who can write a nice sentence and make their readers stop and say “wow that was really well said.” Some of them (I’m looking at you, Neil Gaiman) get so caught up in making their story sound pretty that they forget that, oh that’s right, there has to be CHARACTERS and PLOT. Martin, I would argue, is a strong writer, but not brilliant, but as an author, he is nearly without equal.

Five reasons why you should read A Game of Thrones:

1) Characters
2) Characters
3) Characters
4) Characters
5) Characters

Did I mention characters? The big problem with modern fantasy, in my humble opinion, is that the characters act like middle school girls. They have no depth, maturity, or much of anything really besides being the “chosen one.” The characters in GoT, however, have so much depth that after reading 800 pages, you STILL can’t see the bottom. Each one (whether or not you actually like them) is just so dang intriguing that you just can’t help read on. No one
is safe, no one is all-powerful, and everyone is flawed. Here you find the reflection of the human condition that is so often lacking in fantasy: people are pretty crappy sometimes. People do things that are evil, that they regret (or don’t) people are fallen. These are things that we all would like to forget. Martin shows us the side of his characters that they are ashamed of, that they keep hidden away from the world. He lays bare all their flaws and inadequacies, fears, and dreams…and that’s what makes the book so good. Everyone just drips of brokenness, which makes is all the more sweet when they rise above themselves and become something against all odds––or all the more sad when characters fall and don’t get back up again.

I know I’m late to the Game (hah, pun) but seriously, read it. Read the book, especially if you’re an aspiring author.

Enough good things now, like all things in life, this is a mixed bag.

There are some very graphic scenes in the book, there are some things that will make you cringe. There are some sexual scenes. In my opinion they aren’t really needed. They bother me. They seem gratuitous and explicit, so much so that I wouldn’t want my brothers and sisters in high school reading this book. For those of you who have seen the show and haven’t read the book yet: trust me, the show is worse. Much worse. Things that are glossed over in the book are shown full on in the show. The book is child’s play in comparison to the show.

So, can I recommend this book to everyone? No. It’s for sure written for adults and those able to handle R-rated material. If you’re able to handle a few steamy scenes, then great. READ IT. Especially aspiring authors, the good you’ll get out of this book far outweighs the bad.

A while back, I wrote an essay about popular fiction and how it’s become too sexualized for my taste. I referenced a Game of Thrones in it. When I wrote it, I looked at specific scenes in the book that I wanted to reference in my paper. I stand by most of what I said in the essay: the sex is unneeded, you don’t have to be explicit to show character development. I will, however, have to go back and revise some parts of it in light of reading the whole novel. If you’re interested in reading it, click here.



One thought on “Book Review: A Game of Thrones, Book 1

  1. Pingback: A Game Of Thrones By George RR Martin: Book Reviews, Overview and Picture |

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