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The Golem and the Jinni
Helene Wecker
A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin The first book in “A Song of Ice and Fire” series is a worthy read, but be prepared to be in it for the long haul. It’s definitely different from the epic fantasy I’ve read. There isn’t a true hero, which means there isn’t a true villain. There aren’t many fantastical or magical elements. There isn’t a huge quest to defeat evil and so on and so forth.

However, there are some excellent parts to this book along with some really annoying parts in turn.

First, let’s look at the plot. The overarching plot of the series that “winter is coming” after decades of summer is really intriguing. I liked how they kept dropping little tidbits into the story about what it will mean once winter is upon them. Life will become harder, deadlier and creatures will come from beyond the wall. However, this is not the main plot of “A Game of Thrones.” The main plot of AGOT centers on gaining/losing political power, which grew a little tiring by the end. I was just ready to move on.

Secondly, the characters felt more realistic than other characters from epic fantasies I’ve read, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. The lack of a main character sort of bothers me. I’m a very character driven reader. I want to feel emotional connections to the characters I’m reading about. However, AGOT was not that way for me. There are like 15 main characters and each chapter skips to a different POV. It gets convoluted because each main character has tons of side characters with tons of different plot lines. It adds interest because you never know who is going to get offed, but the emotional depth was missing for me. I really didn’t care when characters died. Some of the characters I did connect with and liked reading from their POV (Eddard, Arya, and Tyrion are personal favs).

Thirdly, the lack of magic was sort of disappointing. This read more like medieval historical fiction than epic fantasy. But, I feel that more magic is coming in future books because Martian seems to be setting that up.

Overall, I would recommend this book just not to everyone. It has great potential and I do want to know what happens, but I need a break. As a side note, this series is geared towards adults. There are some graphic sex scenes that are not pleasant and lots of death.