Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Book Report: Game of Thrones Series

After hearing endless hype about the Game of Thrones series, I decided to see what all the fuss was about for myself. As a firm believer that the books are better than their on-screen adaptations, I decided to read the books before ruining my entire Netflix DVD queue to watch the show.

These books are monstrously long and have taken me forever to finish, but I finally read the last (released) book, and I feel compelled to share my thoughts. I don't consider myself to be a literary snob or critic by any means (I read and enjoyed all the Twilight books). I just like to read things that are interesting and entertaining enough to fill my hour+ commute every day.

On a whole, I really enjoyed how Martin continues to expand the universe of characters throughout the books without it ever feeling forced or out of convenience. And, he (or his editors) understand that a reader will not be able to actually remember all of these characters and subtly reintroduces them while still moving the scene forward (I've always hated those recaps at the beginning of books where they rehash everything like we are second graders). 

Martin creates a world with attention to every detail, which is sometimes great, but mundane at other times (like after the thousandth description of food. I like food, but I don't need to know about the sauce on the quail). His attention to detail and vivid descriptions do make the gratuitous violence that much more horrific and fascinating though.

My main complaint with the books is the ample violence toward women, much of which has little to do with the storyline and only serves to make the reader despise an already hated character. It gets to a point where it seems odd if something terrible isn't happening to a female character, which is unnecessary, and frankly, sad.

Overall, I enjoyed the series and I am eager to read the two (or more?) final installments of the series (even though Brian is convinced he has the ending figured out already). These books have something for everyone: dragons and magic for the fantasy types, zombies for the scifi lovers, and plenty of scheming, backstabbing, and shocking twists for action and adventure enthusiasts. And for anyone else, there's Tyrion.

As I finished the books, I wrote my thoughts out to share while everything was fresh in my mind.

A Game of Thrones:

I don't think I've included any spoilers (beyond what is in the show), but read at your own risk!

This book starts out following the Stark family, whose lives go in many directions by the end of the book. Although you probably don't like every member of the family (I'm looking at you, Sansa), you quickly realize that they are the ones to root (and Tyrion and Dany). The ending was traumatic and further solidified my support for Team Stark.

A Clash of Kings:

This book is ridiculously long. And spoiler: nothing happens in the nearly 1000 pages. A bunch of people want to rule the seven kingdoms. There are some new characters introduced, but you probably won't understand why you should care about them for at least another book, if ever.

A Storm of Swords:


 Everyone dies. Oh, you liked that character? Too bad, they're DEAD. Probably murdered in a horrific and public way. Did you say you like weddings? Not anymore you don't. At least stuff actually happens in this book, even if you don't like the things that happen.

A Feast for Crows:

The events of this book are concurrent with the events in the next book (for a while), but only follow about half the characters. Luckily, the author explains this upfront, but what he doesn't explain is that the characters followed in this book are either 1) ones you hate or 2) ones you don't care about at all (with one possible exception, depending on your preferences). Even though this book is mercifully shorter than the others, it feels so. much. longer. because you cannot wait to get through it and see what is happening to the real characters in the series.

A Dance with Dragons:

You are finally reading about your favorite characters again! You are happy until you realize you are also reading about a whole slew of brand new characters as well and you're not sure your brain can keep everyone straight. Not to worry, half of these characters will be dead or forgotten by the end of the book and you can go back to not caring about them very soon. This book could should actually be called: Dudes Who Want Daenerys and Her Dragons, since that seems to be the overarching theme of this book. She can't help it that she's so popular.

Although this beast of a book took me two months to read (the holidays and other books happened in that time as well), I am so sad it's finished  because I want to know what happens and it could still be years before the next installment is released. At least I have three seasons of the television show to watch now!

Are you a GoT fan? Did you read the books? What are your thoughts on the series?


  1. I'm glad you recapped them so quickly and eloquently so that I didn't have to read them. :) My book club picked the first book a couple of years ago, and I tried so hard but fantasy just isn't my thing, and I quit halfway through. I like your reviews though! Everyone dies! Nothing happens! The end! lol

  2. Thank you for your reviews! I have been on the fence about purchasing the set for the kindle. I actually started watching the show, but stopped somewhere in the middle of season 2. I don't know if I will delve into these books, I get SUPER invested in characters and I hate when authors kill them all off... This was enlightening though, so thank you! :D

    1. There are SO MANY characters that it is difficult to get truly invested in any of them (except I still managed to, for a few). Luckily, he kills off people you hate in addition to people you like, so it lessens the pain :)

  3. I tried really hard to read the books before I watched the series, but then I was really in need of some binge tv watching and gave in. I didn't think I would like the show, but I really got into it. -Molly

    1. I've heard the show is a very close representation of the books, so you'd probably like them as well. Just give yourself lots of time to read them!


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