Cover art thanks to Goodreads, click on it to visit book’s page there.
Book one: A Song of Fire and Ice series, published 8/6/96
I own a copy of this book
Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.
As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.
The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.
Wow. What a ride this book was. A very long 806 page ride. I think I have saddle sores. I was going back and forth about how many stars I wanted to give this book, four or five. In the end I had to give it five. I was obsessed with reading this book. I kept wondering what was going to happen next and it even started influencing my dreams and speech. I remember telling my husband ‘Winter is coming’ only to receive a blank stare and reminded that it was already here. He knew nothing about the story other than what I have forced him to listen to while riding in the car.
It really surprised me that I enjoyed this book as much as I did. I really hated L.O.T.R. and don’t really care for the romance titles that are set in medieval settings, so I just though high fantasy was not going to be for me. I am so glad I went with the recommendations of my book buddies, Jen and Krystal, as they encouraged me to give it a try. Thank you! I might have passed this one up, too intimidated by its length, complexity and genre.
So what did I love about this book? The complexity is what comes to mind first. If you want a story that you can get lost in and has real meat in its pages. This is for you. If you love characters that are rich and infuriating and diverse and strong and weak and honorable and that can be real bastards at time, basically a diverse bunch of players to follow around on an adventure. This is for you. If you want a story where you don’t know if good is going to trump evil every time. This is for you. If you want strong women, evil women, timid women, brave women, hell just about any woman besides only a princess waiting to be saved by her hero in a fantasy book. This is for you.
I think that last point is what pleased me the most about this book. The female characters. Sure they needed to play by the rules of the society, but I think Martin did an excellent job of portraying female characters in his book. But all the characters were well written in this book. Some I loved more than others, often they were killed off, and others I so want to take a sword and chop of their heads myself. I can think of four right off-hand that I am looking forward to reading about their demise.
How did I feel about that, the killing off of so many characters? I have mixed feelings, mainly because I read books that are safe. Safe in that you know the heroes are going to ride off into a H.E.A. Martin is not safe if you are easily upset over the loss of a beloved character. I kinda make me respect him though, Martin that is. He is not going to be easy on us, readers, then again life isn’t easy. Why should books always be? Still I’m going to continue to read my fluff, cause I do enjoy a happy ending too.
This story is going to be epic. Which is something I haven’t read in a while. The closest thing that comes to mind is King’s The Dark Tower series, and I so loved that. I love the feeling of we are joining this story at the beginning. We get to witness it all fall apart and I can’t wait to see how Martin puts this world back together again.
Did anything not work for me? Not much. There was one point near the end where some drama around the Wall comes to light and I was like really. It’s not like you don’t have enough going on you are going to add that too. But again isn’t that life. We don’t get to handle one crisis at a time, often we are overwhelmed by multiple catastrophes at once. Some of the incest was a little gross too. Here again though, I think it is probably true to the world, and even ours as well. I imagine there was a lot of that going on in the royal families of Europe in the medieval ages.
Lastly I also loved the wordplay and language in this story. Martin uses a lot of words to paint his picture, but it is worth it in the end. He has some fantastic imagery in this book and some great lessons for us all. There is much we can learn from the examples the characters portray in this story. Great book, worth the time it took to read it. I’m going to start the next one tonight cause, like many authors, Martin leaves us with a freaking cliffhanger.