Nathy's Reviews > A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
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it was ok

First, let me explain.

I really love fantasy, and most of the books I’ve read are of that particular genre, presumably the same most of you are interested in too. I’ll always give an author an open-minded go, especially if his book is the first of a long series, the pleasure I could hypothetically get out of it tenfold.

First, let me say I agree that George Martin is a good writer, prose wise. I also got the sense that there was plenty of story and intrigue. The fact I can’t relate or take enjoyment out of them comes from the following.

“A Game of Thrones” is set in an unconditionally medieval world, much like middle-ages Western Europe, with a very mild twist nonetheless. That’s not what I’m looking for when I buy a fantasy novel though, don’t misunderstand me, I love history books as well. I just feel that when reading the latter, I wouldn’t expect them to include magic. Whereas a fantasy book does need to include a little more than Martin’s novel has to offer.

This book is quite a complex read for the fantasy genre, I’ll admit, especially if you take into consideration that my mother language is French. The sheer number of characters had me perusing the appendix on more than one occasion. The problem I’ve come across is that unlike the story, the characters, however superficially complex they seem, keep acting unconvincingly. They go on taking for granted blatantly fabricated facts, naively trusting individuals who are plainly untrustworthy, and acting as if any straight-forward, brainless idea on their part is the absolute best way of handling a crisis. The more evil characters in this novel, on the other hand, act marginally smarter, which almost always leads to them gaining the upper hand. Which guides me to the next point.

Very few good things ever happen to the characters I can relate to. I know this is much like in real life, and I can handle quite a bit of it usually. But in this novel, I got the very clear impression it could only get worse. It sometimes seems like George Martin is consumed with making every terrible event strike the characters, which I felt quite depressing on the long run.

And last but not least, paedophilia, murder, rape and abuse of all kinds are detailed in a most evocative way. I know these issues have always existed, but I certainly don’t relish the idea of reading through them in detail at every chapter. Now, please don’t misinterpret me, I have read novels where such exactions happened, but only as a contrast with other sides of the story. In this book, George Martin seems to wants me to acknowledge cruelty as just ordinary, day-to-day business.

All in all, not a bad book if you don’t mind all the above-mentioned, though as you may have grasped, I did.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
March 12, 2010 – Shelved

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