Annie's Reviews > A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
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bookshelves: fantasy, historical-fiction

** spoiler alert ** I wasn’t going to review this one, but damn it, I’ve been reading it for two months straight now exactly (according to goodreads) and I deserve it.

Since I’ve been reading it for so long, you’d think I’d have enough time to mull over whether I like it or not, yet I still don’t really know. I want to like it, I really do, and there were some times I did. There were a few times I was so into it I was nearly angry when I was torn away from it by pure necessity (missing my bus stop, for instance). But, sadly, there were also days I dreaded to pick this tome up, and that’s partly why it took me so long to finish it. Every aspect of this book for me was a mix of good and bad, from the characters to the plot to the writing.

The way this book was structured was vaguely irritating, what with all the POV switches. There were some characters I found quite entertaining and always wanted to read more about (mainly Tyrion, Jon, Dany and occasionally Arya and Bran), and whenever things got really interesting, their chapter would end, and then I’d be thrown into a chapter with a POV I didn’t want to read about, and I’d groan and put the book down. By the time I was revisited by the story arc I was interested in, I already half forgot what it was that happened because it was 70 pages ago. I guess it’s good that I was interested in several stories, but it was constant frustration wanting to know what was going on in other places. For some people I’m sure this style worked, always being on the edge of their seat, but nothing was ever resolved. I was so stoked when the zombies FINALLY showed up, for example, but then it never really came up again.

Speaking of that, there were quite a few things that never showed up again. There’s all this build up in this book, the pages are just oozing with “shit is about to go down, guys” which is awesome, but ... nothing really came to fruition. It takes until about page 500 for things to get *really* bad. That is way too long for things to get bad. And when things DO get bad, it’s kind of random. King Robert dies in a boar accident. How convenient. This book is a very plot driven book, things always happening because the author wants them to happen at a certain point, and it doesn’t really flow naturally. How convenient is it that twice Ned’s kids just happen to waltz in on a super-special important conversation? That some random stranger stood up for Tyrion saving his life? That he later walks into the woods and finds a bunch of barbarians he can use as cannon fodder for the upcoming battle? That Bran FORGETS he was pushed off the ledge? The villains are cartoon characters, which drives the plot forward in a very specific way. Everything that happens in this book is driven by outside forces, not because of the characters’ strengths and abilities, which really irritates me.

Most of the characters I didn’t mind too much, except the main two (of course), Catelyn and Eddard. Eddard is just boring in that I’m-the-protagonist-and-I’m-always-honourable sort of way (can’t say I’m too sad to see him go), but I despised Catelyn with a black hatred, solely because of the way she treats Jon. She blames a fourteen-year-old boy on existing but not her precious husband who cheated on her with a whore? Yeah, that’s fair, BITCH. It doesn’t help that Jon is probably my favourite character, with any sort of complexity whatsoever. Tyrion is repugnant, but witty as hell. He made me laugh out loud several times. Arya was a cliché in a box until she actually started being tough, and then I liked her. Bran isn’t bad, poor kid, but his POV was kind of pointless. Sansa can go die on a spit in hell. Dany was quite enjoyable most of the time as she was pretty tough with the crappy cards handed to her; besides the abundance of sex scenes in her chapters I liked them.

That was another thing that was annoying now that I think about it, and yes, that was the excess of sex and violence in this. George R.R. Martin is a prime example of why I don't like reading books by pervy old men. Women are always objectified in disgusting ways in these books. In nearly every chapter whores and whorehouses are mentioned in a flippant attitude, like the girls aren’t people. I know that rape happens, I do, but I don’t want to read about it in such a sordid way in a FANTASY book. I don’t want to read about a thirteen-year-old getting sodomized (especially in such a fetishized way). And it’s weird that the author writes SO many scenes on this topic. I don’t want to hear about a woman sleeping with her brother for the sake of showing how evil the characters are. I don’t want to read about a dragon nursing on a human girl (WTF?). The violence is even worse, with graphic details galore on several occasions. It was completely unnecessary and just made me grimace. A guy gets killed by having a melting pot thrown on his head and he burns alive. Oh, but it’s okay, because he was a douchebag. Weird body parts get chosen to be cut off. Yes, Martin, I GET IT. These guys are really really evil!

I would have preferred this book SO much more if it was about half the size. If the crux of the story had gotten there faster, without that pointless 400 page lag in the middle where people go from one place to another without any sort of moving forward in the plot, it would have been pretty great. Unfortunately, there is too much talking of plans that never actually get carried out. We’re told what happens before it happens, so there’s no suspense. We know Bran was pushed of the ledge by Jaime, and we have to wait patiently while everyone spends hundreds of pages figuring it out. We’re told of how Robb is going to invade Winterfell, but then we have to suffer through the long battle anyway from Tyrion’s POV, knowing how it’ll go down the whole time. Why the HELL would any author choose to do it this way? He is making things purposely predictable, it makes no sense! You know what else doesn’t make sense? WHY IS IT IN THIS GENRE? This is my first epic fantasy book and I figured there’d actually be some – y’know – MAGIC IN IT.

I’m being incredibly generous with three stars here, but I spent so long on this book, and I paid for it, so damn it, I’m going to like it BY FORCE. Screw that: two stars.

P.S. haha The next book is 1008 pages? NO THANK YOU.I wonder what I could possibly be missing. Will I find out if Jon Snow is a bastard? What about - the Tullys have red hair, right? I *think* they do, I'm not sure. Golden auburn possibly? And I think it was brought up once or twice that "winter was coming"? And is Tyrion a dwarf? I figure he is, because he's called an Imp on occassion, but I just can't TELL. Martin isn't OBVIOUS enough, he doesn't REPEAT things enough. I mean, I can't even tell if whores ever crop up in the story. They might. And all the Tullys ... it's RED hair they have, right?

...Okay, okay, I'm done snarking.
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Reading Progress

August 1, 2011 – Started Reading
August 1, 2011 – Shelved
October 1, 2011 – Shelved as: fantasy
October 1, 2011 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
October 1, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by An Odd1 (new)

An Odd1 Sheesh thanks for the honesty against others' hype. Too bad I paid overdue fines. I'll cancel my library hold.

Annie Don't cancel it on my account! A *lot* of people like this book, and you might too (even I liked it a bit). It's just not might cup of tea. =)

message 3: by An Odd1 (new)

An Odd1 I've pushed through Moning's Fever and Turner's Attolia Thief and don't know why. I'm oversaturated with suffering. That's not what I want to read next. I agree each to own. ASOIF is so beloved I saw the acronym on a profile. I'm just not in that space, and most reviews didn't dare to be specific about the scary stuff. I applaud your courage.

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