I know, I’m starting in the middle, but that’s because that’s the book I’m currently reading so that’s the one that is freshest in my mind.
Martin’s books are definitely an investment, and it took a while for me to start. I had been staring at the books on the shelf for almost a year, hearing good and bad about them. Finally, someone told me they were turning it into a TV series. I never have much faith in books-turned-television, but since I never really knew the series, I decided what have I really got to lose? After the first few episodes I was climbing the walls I wanted to read the book so badly.
8 days. That’s all it took for me to read the first book. That may seem like a lot (and for me that is) but keep in mind, that was reading for possibly an hour a night, and off and on during my half-hour break at work (it is an 800+ page book after all). But I still plowed through it and never looked back.
Martin’s writing has been compared to Tolkien on many occasions, even so far as to call him the “American Tolkien”. Being an avid Tolkien reader, I do agree there are similarities, but I found Martin’s style actually closer to Ken Follett. He keeps you on your toes because the story is so unpredictable, a turn of the page could be life-shattering, of life-changing. While I’m reading one of his books, until I’m done that book, that’s all that is on my mind. Makes cooking a little dangerous when one is constantly thinking “Jon Snow what are you doing!?”.
This book in particular keep me hooked. By now you’re invested in the story and the lives within, and this book was one of turns and surprises. Martin, like Joss Whedon, has a tendency to kill off just about anyone. I found, personally, this made me cling to my favorite characters even more. You never know when one would be betrayed and double-crossed, or sold off, or lost (if me crying in the middle of a laundromat is any indication). The story is naturally so full of betrayal, it’s to the point you expect it, but never really see it coming. It shows the true nature of humanity; throw enough wealth around and you’d be surprised what one would give up for it. Especially when the ones you are throwing it around have nothing to lose. Martin raises his characters up, and then kicks the chair out from under them …possibly even to leave them at the end of a noose. But at the same time, Heroes may become criminals, but even the darkest characters may prove to have good qualities.
This book especially liked to kick the chair out from under many, many characters. Some, I will admit, made me cheer. Others had me screaming at the inanimate object in my hands. If the book wasn’t so pretty I may have thrown it.
It still follows the regular line-up; Starks and Lannisters, but there are a few different names now that give a different depth and perspective to the story. Like Davos the Smuggler, sworn to Stannis Barratheon, the true King. Let us not forget the Wall, and the King-beyond-the-Wall. Sam Tarly has some chapters from his point of view, and his chapters gave view to what was really beyond the wall …and what it was built to keep out.
This book is over 1100 pages, and I’m only sneaking up on 900, but it’s an addicting read. I love the fact the book is classified as “Fantasy” but through all the War and Politics, it reads more like a plain fiction. This makes it reach out to readers who go “Fantasy? Is that like, elves and stuff?” Yes, there be dragons. There is also a hint of Magic, but not enough to scare away people who don’t usually pursue that type of Genre.