I had originally given this book 2 stars, but while writing this review; I realized that while the book had kept my attention somewhat, I hated it.
Goodread's description of A Game of Thrones:
"In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes of the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom's protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty.
The "Song of Ice and Fire" series is suppose to be great. Most all my friends gave it high ratings (and many more). I was so looking forward to reading it, but it turned out to be a disappointment for me. I love high fantasy such as The Lord of the Rings and others and I really wanted to read this series for a challenge, but I don't know now if I will or not.
The book kept my attention through out reading it, and I wanted to find out what happened with some of the characters, but others were boring or just too unbelievable. I enjoyed each chapter being about a different POV and found myself skipping ahead so that I could read about one particular character than coming back to the beginning of the book.
Although I like fiction and/or science fiction that contain the evils of society (rape, evil, betrayal, murder, or horror, etc...) such as The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever, horror books such as The Tommyknockers, suspense such as Odd Thomas or Dean Koontz's Frankenstein series, or The Lord of the Rings and non-fiction books (I believe) like the Holy Bible, I just could not bring myself to like this book. There just didn't seem to be any redeeming qualities to some characters and Martin had no rhyme or reason for killing off who he did. Some scenes were even sickening to me. (view spoiler)[such as Jaime pushing a 7 year old child out a window purposely or Catelyn's sister breast feeding her son (who isn't a baby) (hide spoiler)]
Another problem for me, in this book, is (apparently) Martin's fetish like fascination with women's body parts, rape, sexual abuse of ALL kinds, incest and bigotry. Now, granted these may not be Martin's idea of good things, but he sure describes them in excruciatingly detail. He sure didn’t want you to miss what women’s breasts are called or other body parts.
Finally George R.R. Martin in an interview on program Q (from Canada), stated that his intention was “to take epic fantasy, which I love, and combine it with some of the gritty realism and ambiguous morality of, I think, the best historical fiction, with layers of complexity, and real human characters, sexuality, violence, all of that good stuff.” (emphases my own)
The Q fill-in host, Brent Bambury, "suggested that Martin might indeed outstrip (J.R.R. Tolkien). Bambury repeated the claim of Time magazine, that Martin is the American Tolkien. But made it even more provocative: “Many feel it’s an accurate comparison. Others say no, it’s not accurate, because he 'Martin's' better.” Though Martin went on to spend a good deal of time recalling his reading of The Lord of the Rings as a young man, maintaining that “the books had a profound effect on me,” he did not demur. (Quotes from http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/v...)
I really do not think I like the authors idea that this is a realistic view of society. To tell the truth, he even caused me to feel biased against him by basically saying that his book was on the par with or even better than J.R.R. Tolkien's books.
As a friend on Goodreads noted about me: my problems maybe because of the "vast difference between glorying in violence... and using it as a device". This explains it perfectly!
One last question to consider. A commenter (Mary) of the previous mentioned article had this to say: "Do you want your fantasy to inspire you, or to drag you down into the dirt with it?... From LOTR to Narnia to Star Trek, all of these worlds provided me with a sense of hope. [me too]... [after reading 3 of the books in the series; she said that she] was left feeling disgusted with humanity (men in particular). There may be more cruel people in the world today, but that's not a reality that I'm willing to accept as unchangeable."
I personally want my fantasy to inspire me in the end