A few weeks ago, my husband and I read Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. He read the entire thing out loud to me while I would nurse Sophie--at 20-50 minutes 5-7 times a day, it took us a little over a week to get through the whole book. I think my husband found it tedious at times. I ate the whole thing up. In my most recent post on Jane Austin I mentioned that I adore character driven stories. I'm also a real sucker for political dramas--I'll probably mention this again in my review of Code Geass. Game of Thrones's entire existence is the embodiment of political drama; needless to say, I was in my element.
The plot was complicated primarily because of the number of characters. I'm not sure I could even give a basic summary without writing pages describing the characters involved because everyone and everything that happens is so well intertwined. I'm going to share some of my favorite characters and moments for those familiar with the story. For those who aren't... well... go fix that. =P Read it. It is fairly well written. The book may have a humongous cast of characters, but they're all very unique. In fact, that is one of my favorite aspects of this story. Each character feels human in their own way. No one in this world is perfect.
My favorite characters were Daenerys and Jon Snow. I also really liked Arya's water dancer instructor (even though he was a very minor character). My husband and I both generally enjoyed Tyrion's chapters--those were usually worth a couple of good laughs, and if you can't tell yet, that's one of our favorite things to do. Neither of us really cared a whole lot for Sansa's chapters; we both thought she was a bit of a airhead.
My most favorite chapter in the whole book belonged to Catelyn--the one near the end where she goes to negotiate with Waldor Frey. I think a large part of this is due to my husband's brilliance when reading aloud. He read Frey's dialogue with a Grandpa Simpson style voice. If I could figure out how to pull it off, I'd seriously love to post an excerpt from that chapter read by him here. It had me in absolute stitches.
We just heard from the library that book 2 is in, and I'm excited about getting to read it. I'm really looking forward to seeing where things go. There were hints of a much broader entity (person or group or whatever, not sure) manipulating things behind the scenes that no one person is aware of. I am glad for that though. Initially Martin seemed to be setting the Lanisters up to be the bad guys, but they were coming across as almost cliche in their villainy. They may be clever and vicious and capable of creating trouble and suffering for the good guys (early on in the book, it looked like the Starks would take this role), but I think it would have left the story a little flat. Thankfully it has moved beyond that. I love stories like this where there are no real clear good or bad guys.