Highly Recommended: Game of Thrones

A Game of ThronesA Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (1996)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I would never have chosen to read this book–despite the raving popularity of the HBO mini-series adaptation–had it not been recommended to me by someone whose opinion I trust, and boy, am I glad I did. This first installment of the Song of Ice and Fire series was the big surprise of my reading year and easily one of my favorite books of 2011.

That this series is classified as fantasy fiction was a huge red flag; scifi and adult fantasy novels hold no appeal for me. (Young adult fantasy is another story.) However, on the strength of solid writing and fantasy elements that are suppressed for much of the story, I was able to enjoy the book as a work of period fiction, completely immersing myself in the details of the medieval setting, the complex characters, and an exciting, tangled drama of warring kingdoms.

This tome is a breathless, whirlwind of a read. By the end, when a fantastical storyline reared its head, I was so invested in the characters, I hardly minded and couldn’t wait to start the next book in the saga.

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