Tuesday, 3 December 2013
A GAME OF THRONES by George R. R. Martin. Reviewed by Ann Turnbull.
I don't watch much TV, but even I have become aware of a popular TV series called Game of Thrones, though I have never seen it. This review relates only to the book by George R. R. Martin, which I was very surprised to receive for my birthday, in a beautiful hardback edition.
The book is huge. You need to rest it on a table or a pile of cushions. It has several pages of maps with place names reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings. There is also an Appendix with nineteen pages of characters. All this daunted me somewhat. But once I got started I was hooked. The writing is excellent; the numerous characters are interesting and their connections to each other soon become clear; and the action unfolds at just the right pace. Although there is a fantasy element, it's not at the forefront, and when it does occur it is all the more terrifying.
This is a saga about the struggle for domination between several great houses, set in an incredibly detailed medieval-type society. Martin's characters, both male and female, burn strong and clear in the imagination, and their actions drive the story. Outcomes are uncertain. Good people may be betrayed, injured, exiled or murdered. The story is full of shocks and surprises, and the conclusion builds to an amazing scene of power and transformation.
Martin presents us with an entire world imagined down to the last detail, including language, heraldry and history. For those with time, there are six more books and plenty of characters and threads to pick up and follow. I can imagine it could well become addictive. Although it's written for adults, I think it would appeal greatly to many older teenagers.
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