As previously promised, I am posting about the first novel in George R.R. Martin's famous series, A Game of Thrones (about to be made into an HBO series this fall) which I recently completed.
The story was fun and rather good. The writing was deft if not brilliant, and the structure of every chapter being focused on a different character, advancing the plot from all sides and never looking back, is simple and ingenious. The only problem is, I didn't like every character, and the feeling of "Oh god, this one? Alright, let's just get through it, and get on to the good stuff" is never really appreciated.
Some deaths were surprising and not entirely welcome. The details and history were rich, but not diverse or too interesting (mostly just war and long family trees) and the religion of this world was sketchy and unconvincing. Perhaps it's expanded upon in the sequels (the first one of which I've already gotten from the library, which says something in itself. Whether I get to number 3 or 4 remains to be seen.)
It's not as original or serious as the Earthsea novels. It's not as sweeping and romantic and with an infinitely diverse and convincing history as Kirith Kirin. It doesn't have the metaphors and endearing characters of The Chronicles of Narnia. Compared to these books it's kind of like a good cousin; more a beach reading novel than true literature, but engrossing all the same. And it is completely more readable than the Lord of the Rings.
There's nothing like a solid fantasy series to get yourself lost in. I recommend giving it a shot, especially since the HBO version will be here next year. (And now that I'm done, I'm very eager to see Jennifer Ehle as Lady Catelyn.) Winter is Coming.