“Winter is coming. Such is the stern motto of House Stark, the northernmost of the fiefdoms that owe allegiance to King Robert Baratheon in far-off King’s Landing. There Eddard Stark of Winterfell rules in Robert’s name. There his family dwells in peace and comfort: his proud wife, Catelyn; his sons Robb, Brandon, and Rickon; his daughters Sansa and Arya; and his bastard son, Jon Snow. Far to the north, behind the towering Wall, lie savage Wildings and worse—unnatural things relegated to myth during the centuries-long summer, but proving all too real and all too deadly in the turning of the season.Yet a more immediate threat lurks to the south, where Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, has died under mysterious circumstances. Now Robert is riding north to Winterfell, bringing his queen, the lovely but cold Cersei, his son, the cruel, vainglorious Prince Joffrey, and the queen’s brothers Jaime and Tyrion of the powerful and wealthy House Lannister—the first a swordsman without equal, the second a dwarf whose stunted stature belies a brilliant mind. All are heading for Winterfell and a fateful encounter that will change the course of kingdoms.Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, Prince Viserys, heir of the fallen House Targaryen, which once ruled all of Westeros, schemes to reclaim the throne with an army of barbarian Dothraki—whose loyalty he will purchase in the only coin left to him: his beautiful yet innocent sister, Daenerys.”
My Review - Rating - 9/10
I first read the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series as a sophomore in high school, because all of my friends loved the Game of Thrones show but I wasn’t able to watch it. I’m incredibly glad that I did, because the books are absolutely incredible. The world Martin created has a deep history, rich set of characters, and incredible worldbuilding. I understand why it takes years to create just one book in the series, as they’re full of detail, with intricate settings, realistic and complex characters and character arcs, and most of all, an incredible political plot. The backstabbing, scheming, greed, and power struggles of this series are far beyond anything I’ve seen in any other books. It’s not a dry, boring, and strategic conflict; or low-stakes struggle, but instead the strategy and wider picture melds with the characters' grievances, greed, and flaws to create a well thought out, seemingly natural political plot where each event logically (if sometimes unexpectedly) follows the next. The multiple stories woven through the books, and frequent shifts between the characters make these books seem to go by quickly, despite their seven-hundred-plus page size. This series is absolutely incredible, and I have absolutely no complaints about the books or my experience with them. The one thing that I would note, that didn’t impact my reading but may impact others, is that because of the level of detail in the books, they plot does not move quickly. None of the detail is wholly superfluous, but if you don’t like one particular storyline or character, you may find the parts of the book that cover that area slow or even boring. The books are very violent and can be very dark, and as such I would not recomend them for younger readers. I’d still highly recommend this to any and all adult fantasy or military fantasy fans, and to anyone who has watched the show, since the books have even more detail and stories, and the sixth book (which should correspond to the much-hated eighth season of GoT) hasn’t been published yet, meaning that a new, better ending is likely its way. So, if you’re in any of the categories above, or are interested in the book for other reasons, I 100% recommend buying it.
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