Title: Game of Thrones
Author: George R.R. Martin
Genre: High Fantasy
I went into this book a little nervously: people either seemed to love or hate it, and generally when half the world loves a book, I'm in the latter camp. I grew up on fantasy novels, but over the past few years I'd switched over to sci-fi, but after some glowing recommendations from a few friends I decided to give this a try. I'm glad I did - I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would.
Don't get me wrong, there were definitely some aspects of this book that I didn't like (Daenerys, I'm looking at you). I know it has something to do with the historical context, but it was disturbing how young all the girls were when they were getting married and having children. Also, I felt like it was very unnecessary for all the men to have whores and mistresses (if the word "manhood" comes up as much in the next few books, I'm going to scream). Can't there be one healthy relationship out of the hundreds of relationships in this book? Daenerys especially drove me nuts for much of the book. She was so meek and submissive towards her brother, and after she is given off to Drogo, she one day decides she likes getting raped and embraces her inner mother-woman. Oh, I forgot to mention: she's THIRTEEN. I kind of aged her to 20-something in my mind, especially because of her role in the end of the book. [Show][Hide]
Once she experienced the loss of her child and took on the maternal role to the dragons, I couldn't see her as a fourteen-year-old. Although I didn't like her for most of the novel, she grew on me once she stood up for herself and sacrificed Drogo and the old woman to save the dragons.
Although I'm usually quite the feminist, I wasn't all that bothered on that front. Of course, Daenerys drove me nuts, but for every Daenerys, Lisa, and Sansa, there was an Arya, Catelyn, and (dare I say it) Cersei. Yes, even though Cersei is a twisted and power-hungry woman, she is certainly not meek and is one of the largest driving forces of this novel. My point is that there were some weak women but there were also strong ones. And while we're on the subject of flawed characters, the men were pretty messed up too, so I don't take offense at the women being messed up.
I really enjoyed the plot twists and the multi-layered characters and world. There is not a single perfectly good or bad character, and the constantly shifting loyalties/betrayals/alliances kept things interesting. My favorite character was Lord Eddard Stark, because he was one of the few truly good characters (but then again Jon Snow is evidence that even he is not as morally upstanding as one would think). [Show Spoiler][Hide]
I was so shocked and angry when Joffrey had Ned executed that I literally closed the book, screamed to myself, grinned like an idiot (yes, you read that right) and then resumed reading. I think that moment was the one that made me truly commit to this series - I realized that this author isn't afraid to kill off main characters and take risks in order to tell a compelling story, and although I was angry, I was simultaneously very very glad.
There were just so many characters I wanted to punch in the face, which is quite a strong reaction for me. I didn't know who to trust and who to root for. Although it was about 800 pages (and I was reading during finals week...hehe) I finished in less than a week. This series is seriously addicting!