A Game of Thrones is an introduction into probably the most compelling world of fantasy since...well it is the most compelling world of fantasy. I like to think I love fantasy novels, but I can sometimes get a little frustrated with how unrealistic they are if that makes any sense? I just think that sometimes good guys can be a little unbeatable, bad guys are evil and very powerful and you get your wizards, dragons, elves, dwarfs and gods and blah blah blah! there's a quest, a prophesy, a magic ring or sword - it's all very formulaic and tired - predictable, basically. Fantasy has had it's Tolkien time now and it's quite frankly childish D&D era 'I bring forth a lightning storm, I bring forth a lightning storm' I could name names, but that isn't what this review is about.
A Game of Thrones quite simply reinvents what fantasy should be and makes it better. You couldn't possibly know what is going to happen, the author knows what you expect and deliberately goes in another, more unexpected, direction - like life. The way GRRM writes makes his world believable because it isn't patronising you or giving you what you want, it is giving you what you don't want and that is, funnily, what makes it so refreshing.
I read everything and any genre and it is perhaps some testament that after reading this and the subsequent 4 novels (which get better and better I might add) it makes reading anything else just seem...not so good.
If Carlsburg did fantasy novels...well, you get the picture.