Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Teen Review: Grand fantasy series

by George R. R. Martin
674 pages
Book 1 of 7 from a series called A Song of Ice and Fire
Mature young adults and up
Reviewed by M.K., 12th grade


In the fictional world of Westeros, summers can last decades and winters a lifetime. As the long summer comes to an end, a dreaded and ancient evil thought dead for thousands of years is slowly making its return, planning to take down the kingdom's massive “Wall.” As Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark, head of the honorable Stark family and ruler of Winterfell, is enjoying his peaceful life, his old friend, King Robert Baratheon, bestows upon him the second most powerful title in the Seven Kingdoms, “The Hand of the King.” After making his way south to the capital, Ned soon realizes his old friend is under threat from lords, liars, princes, survivors of a previous dynasty, and even his own queen. As plots, schemes, betrayal, tragedy, war, death, and terror engulf the Seven Kingdoms, the Starks prepare to fight a battle against all odds. For "when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die."


A Game of Thrones is without a doubt a classic. In my opinion, not since The Lord of the Rings has there been a more captivating fantasy series. This novel is incredibly well-written but also easy to read. The conflicts are thrilling, the descriptions of the scenery mesmerizing, and there are so many characters with such a variety of thoughts, emotions, and personalities that it's almost impossible not to be drawn into Martin's spectacular world of Westeros. But perhaps the greatest compliment I can give it is that you don't have to be a fan of fantasy to enjoy this book. There are so many references to modern politics and the dark arts behind it that it makes it enjoyable for everyone.

My Rating: 5/5

Editor's note: I, too, am working my way through this series (every single book is at least 600 pages, and the third one is more than 1,000!), and I agree with M.K. that it is enthralling. Also that people who like historical fiction will enjoy this every bit as much as those who read fantasy, because it is full of the kind of political and personal intrigue you would find at, say, the court of King Henry VIII! I hadn't thought to review it for the YA blog, since it is an adult fantasy series, but many older teens are naturally graduating to reading adult fiction (as they should at some point), so we went ahead and posted M.K.'s review here. Just note that there is some mature content (as one reviewer said, "there are graphic scenes and terrible behavior!"), so consider whether it is appropriate for you!

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