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A Game of Thrones
George R.R. Martin
Bantam Books, 807 pages

A Game of Thrones
George R.R. Martin
George R.R. Martin was born in 1948 in Bayonne, New Jersey. He attended Northwestern University, graduating with degrees in journalism. Martin refused active service: instead he served with VISTA, in Cook County, Illinois. In addition to his writing credits, Martin has served as Story Editor for Twilight Zone, and as Executive Story Consultant, Producer and Co-Supervising Producer for Beauty and the Beast, both on CBS. He also was Executive Producer for Doorways on CBS. At 21, he made his first pro sale to the magazine, Galaxy. Actively involved in SFWA, Martin now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

George R.R. Martin Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Hedge Knight
SF Site Review: Windhaven
SF Site Review: A Storm of Swords
SF Site Interview: George R.R. Martin
SF Site Review: A Clash of Kings
SF Site Review: A Game of Thrones

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Amal El-Mohtar

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This is a perfect book.

There's honestly nothing I can think of that could improve it in any way. This is a book that made me shout at it, that made me giggle and cry, that made me gasp, that made me tremble and hate and love. It's seamless; I'd say it's unputdownable, except that sometimes I found I desperately needed to put it down because I was overwhelmed with the wonder of it, only to pick it up again half an hour later.

I've come to the G.R.R. Martin love-train quite late; good friends have been telling me for nigh on four years that I ought to read the Song of Ice and Fire series, saying that I, as a lover of politics and intrigue in fantasy, will find much to enjoy in it. Some perversity or another kept me away; maybe I saw them as "boy books" (even though the friends who told me about them are women), or found them too fat and unwieldy (I used to love fat books, but I've lately become suspicious of them). Maybe it was the fact that the series isn't done yet, and I've seen my friends growing ever more frantic as the next installment's publication date gets pushed back, back, and back again. Maybe it was that, subconsciously, I knew how desperately I'd come to love them. Either way, I'm well and truly and hopelessly hooked.

The Seven Kingdoms have a tumultuous political history, but have been at peace since Robert Baratheon slew the Mad King Aerys Targaryen some ten years earlier and took his throne. He accomplished this thanks to the other noble families of the realm, but most notably the Lannisters, to whom his Queen belongs, and the Starks, led by his best friend Eddard. When the Hand of the King, John Arryn, dies under suspicious circumstances, King Robert summons Eddard from his northern stronghold of Winterfell to become the new Hand and help him rule the realm. Unfortunately, King's Landing is teeming with dozens of ambitious, competing, and treacherous nobles, all keen to play -- and win -- the Game of Thrones.

We mainly follow members of the Stark family throughout, and just thinking about them makes me want to take each and every single reader out there aside and personally explain why every one of them is fabulous. It's the fact that they're so real, and the world that Martin creates is fully as rich, detailed and compelling as they are. His writing is so immediate, so skillful, that it was never, at any point, possible for me to lean back and say, "oh, what a clever bit of writing," or "ah, what excellent characterization." Instead, my reactions were substantially more visceral, to the tune of "NO, YOU EVIL MAN, HOW COULD YOU!" or "AUGH! AUGH! YOU CAN'T KILL HIM!" I think that any book that makes you want to hold the author up against a wall by the neck and shake him -- in a good way -- is ultimately successful, and this one did that and more.

That being said, please allow me to offer a few warnings to those curious about beginning the series. First, don't begin this book if you have some kind of pressing project due in a couple of days, because, trust me, you won't hand it in on time. Second, make sure you know someone who has read A Game of Thrones (at the very least) before you begin; you'll find them extremely helpful when you get to the distressing bits and find you need someone to scream and rant at. Third, for your own sakes, buy A Clash of Kings at the same time. The last thing your family members / significant others / friends want is to see you in G.R.R. Martin withdrawal. And lastly…

Why are you still reading this review? Buy the book already!

Copyright © 2007 Amal El-Mohtar

Amal has a history of reading anything with pages. Now, she reads stuff online, too. She sometimes does other things, but that's mainly it.


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