Author : George R.R. Martin
I am a huge fan of fantasy novels. My all time favorite is the classic Lord of the Rings trilogy, along with the Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien.
A Song of Fire and Ice series,however, comes as a close second. Finally, something in the genre that is different and so very refreshing.
What struck me most is its sense of realism. Mr. Martin makes us taste, see, and feel a world that could have been real.
Descriptions are graphic. I could almost smell the rotten corpses, and also taste a luscious banquet. Characters speak the way they would, perhaps, if they existed. If crude language is called for, Mr. Martin pens it as it should be. For the guys out there, there’s plenty of action, blood and gore. Of course, some magic as well; but, magic hardly figures in anyone’s victories. It’s still pure guts, smarts, and power that determine the tide.
The books’ strength, however, lies in the characters. The series does not have fantasy’s usual static good and evil personas. As in real life, each has several facets in his personality and these make each character so interesting and multi-dimensional. No one is really virtuous and no one is wholly evil. We can identify with all or at least sympathize with all his characters.
How does he accomplish this? Wonderfully, Mr. Martin devotes each chapter to a selected character. He makes us get to know the person — how he thinks, what he likes, why he feels a certain way, his logic and perception of the world, why he does what he does, etc. No one is cut and dried. This way, he develops his story and the voyeur in you, that you just have to have more of it.
Hence, his four thick novels aren’t enough. I suspect the story may not be even halfway done; but, that’s why George Martin fans are impatiently waiting for the 5th book of the series, promised in 2007 and not yet delivered. GRRRR!!!! We want the 5th! We want the 5th!
Books in the Series : A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows
October 4, 2008 Update: Ooooh! Dance With Dragons, the 5th book is out! It is not available in my location yet, though. Rats!