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Review of A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)
The book is as good as they say. But having seen the TV show prior to reading it, my suspicions were confirmed and the first book is just good enough, nothing spectacular. Same as with the first season of the TV show (that is very faithful to the book, you could even skip the book (at least this 1st one, I didn't read the others yet), see the 1st season and read the other books). That said, it is still very impressive what Goerge RR Martin has done. It's mostly not as epic as I expected, but is the first book, so it's an introduction and, in my experience, first books are always the worse in a series. But none (of the few) other fantasy books I read managed to accomplish what Martin did. So much happens in this book, so much more than practically any other book! And the writing is so full of details! You can see that Martin thought his world before writing (and during writing), and he has a way with words. Though I don't think I'm good at judging prose, but to me his descriptions were exaggerated in unnecessary parts and lacking when you talk about scenery and people (he prefers to describe foods and clothing and color-code characters (especially color-coded hairs)). I don't know if I would be able to visualize it all well, had I not before seen the HBO show. But it's not too detrimental. The pacing is surprisingly good, I could not believe that such a large book had the pace this had. It was a large manuscript, full of neverending verses, that read like a Dan Brown novel. The dialogue is awesome, the characters are multidimensional and very well-written. It's remarkable, really, that the characters in the book, even the most secondary, have the same depth as the ones on the TV show. Because on the TV show the producers don't have to deal with point of view and can show everything, but the book is tightly tied to points of view. So Martin showed he knew well what he wanted to accomplish and was relentless in achieving it. The best part, for me, was the court intrigue. He's too good at it! The political machinations are some of the best. He can't be too commended for the worldbuilding, because his world is too similar to our medieval society, but still different enough that he MUST be commended for it. So many details! Just a recommended reading all around.