Lucy's Reviews > A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
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Aug 17, 11

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bookshelves: adult, fantasy, gloomy, great-world-building, oh-the-hype
Read from August 12 to 17, 2011

Long winded doesn't even begin to describe George R. R. Martin's writing style. Nothing I can say about this book will be a revelation to anyone who has read it. It should have been at least 25% slimmer. I fear the book itself would've been a thousand or more words shorter had just the term 'bastard' been omitted. I'm not sure why out of marriage births were enforced and reinforced so often. Did Martin not trust his audience to grasp how awful it was to be a bastard the first fifty, sixty, seventy times?

This book is not quite epic fantasy to me. Mythical creatures make spotty appearances, otherwise it read more or less as historical fiction with a slant meant to make you forgive any historical inaccuracies. I enjoyed some of the characters and their POV chapters appealed, but then there were characters whose chapters I wanted to skip because they were unappealing or useless narrators who added nothing to the story. (CoughSansaCough)

The series is undoubtedly dark and alluring. The sex scenes and violence are sprinkled throughout the book, but it was never too much. I think it was a fair balance for the story being told, although Martin gets lost in the appeal of his own world and wanders around in circles, repeating himself. As a reader I felt teetered to a fair bit of annoying repetition and often felt stuck in a chapter or point of view that didn't fit the moment. The book needed significant portions thinned out and useless POV chapters shed. The cost of Martin keeping his darlings is that even when the book should have been moving at a brisk clip you're suddenly thrust a thousand miles from the action in the head of someone fussing about something very different from the moment you were just in. Annoying. I've been lent all the published books thus far in the series and will continue until I get too frustrated...

I'm not a big enough fan to read five thousand plus range books and then reread again in a few years as he (according to fans) continues publishing at his agonizingly s-l-o-w rate.
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Quotes Lucy Liked

George R.R. Martin
“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”
George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones


Reading Progress

08/12 page 392
47.0% "Ah, starting this series was probably a bad life decision. Now the only thing to decide is if it falls on the bad life decision chart. Is it on the pint of Ben and Jerry side or the almost-married-lousy-exboyfriend side? Time will tell." 2 comments
02/09 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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Tatiana You know, I never finished the book, but even on the TV show they repeat that Jon Snow is a bastard every 10 minutes or so, as if we can't remember it after first 5 or 10!


Kaia The really irritating part of the whole bastard thing is, during the time period Martin is copying (and he is, trust me) being a bastard? Not really a huge deal. Happened all the time, no one batted an eyelash. cf. Bastard of Orleans.

/history buff

What, Lucy? You don't like reading thousands and thousands of pages full of thousands and thousands of characters and thousands and thousands of plot threads nearly drowned by thousands and thousands of ridiculous suits of armor and jewelry-like swords, only to have to start all over again five years later so you can remember what the hell was even going on last time the author bothered to put out a book?

That's just silly.


Lucy @ Tatiana, I don't know how far you got in this book but the king's bastards are a big deal too. I was horrified when the book started going on a tour of Robert's bastards because I feared it would never end given how anxious he was to swing his junk around at anything that giggled at him. The stuff with Jon was far worse though because it was reinforced so often that the character became a bore, defined by that one thing. We're trusted to keep track of a huge cast of characters, interweaving plot lines across continents, but Martin felt the need to repeat himself 100 times on Jon origins.

@ Beth, I definitely won't be re-reading the first five if I read them all to begin with. Maybe I'm switch to the TV show for detail refreshing. I think the HBO series will finish all five of the published books before the sixth one comes out and then they'll just have to make stuff up, which I'm sure will make the author have kittens given his stance on fanfiction.


message 4: by Laura (new)

Laura I've been toying with the idea of listening to this one on audiobook ever since Goodreads was flooded with 5 star reviews and praise for this series. It's not really my taste, but I thought if the books are that good then surely I'm missing out by not reading them, right? However, your honest review has convinced me that I would definitely not enjoy this series. Thank you for saving me countless hours I would have undoubtedly spent listening this book on CD! I still might check out the series on DVD though... :o)


Lucy This series is not something I'd recommend to people who aren't fans of the genre. The publishing rate asks a great deal of even die hard fans. For those of us more tentative in our interest, the five or six years between books would most certainly be the deal breaker. The path might be fun to go down once, but it's not a book I see myself rereading to keep the tone and details fresh.


message 6: by Nat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nat I can purely agree that it's not everyone's cup of tea. I liked the series a lot...but rarely ever do I have the feel to reread these, maybe a few chapters just to keep up. And I don't really mind the bastard idea involved...it was a disgrace to be one if you're a supposed son to the king, and you're invading on the family. I guess that's how I looked at it. :D


Lucy I didn't mind Jon being a bastard or that the dirty secret was aired out. It was just how OFTEN the author reinforced that it was an awful horrible thing. I got it, totally and completely. It began to feel like Bella touching Edward's cold marble chest with those exact two adjectives every four pages. I wish Martin had a little more confidence his audience would retain certain information.


message 8: by Nat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nat Yeah true...some of the things he kept repeating made me think that he thought we were complete morons. He does the same things in the other books, and it makes reading the books a little less fun, and have a slower pace. I kind of prefer watching the show than reading..just to skip all the descriptions and the thousands of words.


Kaia You should probably also prepare yourself for The Phrase of the Book.

It's "I'll have your head on a spike!" in the first one. I think it was "We took them from behind" in the second, which um...my inner thirteen-year-old boy could not handle it.

There's always at least one.


message 10: by Lucy (last edited Aug 19, 2011 05:00AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lucy Winter is coming! This would make a great drinking game if we had someone we wanted to kill from alcohol poisoning.


message 11: by Kaia (last edited Aug 19, 2011 06:44AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kaia (view spoiler)


Marie I'm only about half way through and I assumed winter would be coming at least by the end of the book, since they certainly need one--I don't know, I'm a bit wary of the decade long summer or whatever. Wish the characters were a little more...more.


Kathy I am trying to finish it. I downloaded the kindle version and THEN saw it was over 800 pages!
Is there a character list in the print copy also? Sad that one is needed but I have used it.


message 14: by Lucy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lucy Hey, Kathy, no character list. I'd hit up Wikipedia!


message 15: by Lisa (new) - rated it 1 star

Lisa This book could have totally been 400 LESS pages and not lost a moment of the storyline. Can't count the number of pages I skimmed or just avoided altogether. I liked the story, but it seemed he was trying to fill pages that were just plain unnecessary. Won't be reading the rest of the series.


message 16: by Jordan (last edited Nov 30, 2014 07:12AM) (new)

Jordan Johnson I agree with you completely,his use of the word bastard did overwhelm the book and he did not need to mention Jon was a bastard every time Bran and Jon spoke.This alone made my view of the book half as the hype that I hoped it would be.The book does in fact have more of a political and historical tone than fantasy,which surprised me.I was hoping for a book similar to "The Lord of The Rings" but was deeply dissapointed.The book was good for the first few hundred pages, but soon after I felt that a sense of mystery trying to find the culprit behind the attempted assassination and Jon Arynn's death was the only thing driving for the plot.Thus, in my opinion the book lost its flavor and was struggling to keep interest from its splotched sex scenes and outrages of violence. Although the book was bad in my opinion, it might have been because of the confusing politics and the old style of writing with jargon that I sometimes did not understand.


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