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I have just read George R. R. Martin's 'A Game of Thrones'. It was an amazing adventure in many ways.
In my world, everything less than 300 pages are sloppiness, when it comes to writing novels. Therefore, I had high expectations when I realized that 'A Game of Thrones' book one was nothing but 745 pages long. I was aware of HBO's adaptation of the books, but had not seen the series. I was completely unaware of what to expect. I was aware, that this saga might contain an extremely complex and extensive gallery, and I must honestly say, that I had my doubts. Would it be difficult to separate the different characters from one another? Would the action be confusing, when so many events took place at the same time?
All my worries were put to shame. I have never read a book that was written with such elegance and finesse. Despite the enormous amount of details found in the book, George R. R. Martin never loose the readers. Each chapter centers on a single person and event. In this way George R. R. Martin gently introduces his readers to his universe. It takes time to get to know the different characters, but the author takes all the time he needs to succeed in that matter. Despite the fact, that the book from the first page is very action-packed, the author's calm overview is clearly sensed. He has a story to tell, and the reader is led through with a sense of purpose and safety, providing a feeling that the author is in completely control.
Another thing I have to mention that makes 'A Game of Thrones' an epic work of art, is the use of mythical creatures and supernatural beings. The story is set in a fantasy universe, but it is the humans world. Dragons, undead and other fantasy creatures exists, but are never allowed to dominate the story. It's an impressive balancing act.
It is simply not possible to criticize any part of the book. Writing style, composition and action melts together, and brings the story to a higher level. George R. R. Martin has been compared to J. R. R. Tolkin, but having read 'A Game of Thrones' book one, I am convinced that Tolkin has found his match. As much as I love 'Lord of the Rings', I must admit that 'A Game of Thrones' outshines Tolkin's work in every way.
With 'A Game of Thrones', George R. R. Martin has written himself into the literary history. I surrender unconditionally, and bow in awe before a true master.