Saturday, June 04, 2011

Review: A Song of Ice and Fire

I’m 50% through the (soon to be) five part series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, having finished A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings. I have started A Storm of Swords, and I am not expecting any diminish in quality - the first 150 pages are proving me right so far.

A Game of Thrones is a compelling read, focusing on several characters at once in an overall cast of hundreds, really. Martin is an accomplished storyteller, revealing just enough about the character and plot to build continuously on the already intense storyline. The saga starts with tense relations between the King of Westeros, Robert Barathon, and his Queen’s family, the Lannisters. The King has selected Eddard Stark to be the Hand of the King, his right-hand man, to have someone at court that he can trust. But Stark soon finds that he is in over his head, and duty and honour have no place at the seat of the Seven Kingdoms.

Martin focuses the story on House Stark for the most part: Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell, his wife Catelyn, sons Robb, Bran, and, to a lesser extent, Rickard, daughters Sansa and Arya and bastard son Jon Snow, for whom life does not get easier from an already tumultuous upbringing. The trend continues in A Clash of Kings, and although one reviewer called the storylines “somewhat predictable,” it seems that she has not yet read A Clash of Kings, as Martin adds greatly to the one or two massive plot twists in A Game of Thrones in A Clash of Kings: by the middle of the book, I had no idea what to expect, as anything, Martin threatened, could happen. A Storm of Swords promises to be equally unsettling.

The series is getting much ballyhoo as it is the next hot new show on cable, having completed 7 episodes on HBO. The series, simply called Game of Thrones, has a star-studded cast and is reportedly both well-done and true to the book. They have already started casting for the second season, and with the fifth book due out July 12th, they seem to have a lucrative series run on their hands.

Read another review at Magnificent Octopus, and another at The Millions.

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