Title: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) - George R.R. Martin
Release Date: The edition I have was first published August 4th 1997
Pages: 835 (mass market paperback)
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 and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is 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; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.
I first heard about A Game of Thrones when some people I followed on Twitter posted about how good the HBO series was. I google-d it and found out that it was based on a book so I decided to read first before watching, and that was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
The story starts with the depiction of the lives of the Starks in Winterfell. It was generally peaceful until King Robert, Lord Eddard Stark's good friend, offered him something that he wanted to refuse at first but, thanks to a terrible turn of events, ended up accepting.
I totally regret not giving more time for reading this book (I read this for four weeks *kicks self*) because the story was really fast-paced and unpredictable. At first it was quite confusing, though that's probably because of my lack of imagination. I would recommend reading a quarter of the book THEN watching the first episode of the TV series so that you can associate faces with most of the names. Also, I think another reason for that confusion of mine was because Martin jumped from one person's part of the story to another in every chapter, but I got used to it soon enough.
In conclusion, I love how there's a perfect mix of reality and fantasy in this story. Halfway through, I told myself I won't read the next book in A Song of Ice and Fire until after months, but I changed my mind when I got to the ending which was a total cliffhanger! So I would recommend buying the sequel, A Clash of Kings, before you finish this one.
My favorite part: Every time Tyrion displays his wit and humor, and Arya being the bad-ass that she is.
(photo from goodreads.com; summary from publisher's website)