Friday, January 11, 2013

Audiobook Review: A Game of Thrones

**Warning - This review may contain spoilers**

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1)
by George R.R. Martin, Roy Avers (Narrator)

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. To the south, the king’s powers are failing—his most trusted adviser dead under mysterious circumstances and his enemies emerging from the shadows of the throne. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the frozen land they were born to. Now Lord Eddard Stark is reluctantly summoned to serve as the king’s new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder not only his family but the kingdom itself.

Sweeping from a harsh land of cold to a summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, A Game of Thrones tells a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; a child is lost in the twilight between life and death; and a determined woman undertakes a treacherous journey to protect all she holds dear. Amid plots and counter-plots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, allies and enemies, the fate of the Starks hangs perilously in the balance, as each side endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones. (Goodreads)

My Review

I was introduced to A Game of Thrones through HBO's TV adaptation of the novels and quickly became hooked on the series. When I realised how long I was going to have to wait for the next season to air I turned to the books for my Game of Thrones fix.

I have enjoyed diving into the world of these wonderful characters. George R.R. Martin has clearly spent a lot of time developing this world with its complex history, culture and mystery. Each of his characters have an intricacy that I appreciate. They each have a story to tell, challenges to face and dreams to defend. Sansa, however, frustrates me, whilst other leading ladies learn to stand up and fight for what they want, she tends to sit back and wait for someone to rescue her. I suppose they cant all be heroines though.

There are many hints of 'the others' throughout this novel and brief glimpses of their history but not enough.  I know that Martin is laying the groundwork for what is to come in future books, well at least that is what I hope he is doing, but I want more now. There are a couple of incidents involving 'zombies' which the characters just accept as normal and move on from. I wanted them to question these events and investigate them further. I WANT MORE. What are these creatures? where did they come from? what, if anything, is to be done about them? how do they fit in with the rest of the story and the history of this world? I guess I'll have to keep reading to find out.

I will most likely continue reading this series. At least until the TV show comes back onto our screens. I need to know what happens to these characters next, particularly Arya - I'm quite attached to this little fighter. I want to know more about 'the others' and of course the ultimate question - Who will win the Game of Thrones?

A note about audiobooks - The last time I listened to an audiobook I was ten years old and the story was about princesses. Almost 20 years on I've returned to audiobooks and I'm still captivated by fantasy novels, though this time the story focuses on kings and queens. I've enjoyed 'reading' via audio as it has allowed me to work on my crochet projects whilst 'reading' a book. Two of my favourite hobbies at once, fantastic!

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