This story centers around the Stark family, one of the major noble houses of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros but it also has several other prongs including Daenerys Targaryen, the exiled princess and Tyrion Lannister, the Imp brother of the Kingslayer. The Stark family gets split up into three groups. One group comprises the mother, eldest son Rob and the two younger boys who stay at home in Winterfell. One group includes the father, Eddard and his two daughers who go with the King to King’s Landing where Eddard becomes the King’s hand (second in command.) The last group is the bastard son, Jon who goes north with his Uncle to become a member of the Night Watch and protect the wall that separates the Kingdom from the Others.
This is the first book in the series, there are currently four books in the series with three more supposedly coming in the future. However, the fourth book was completed in 2005 and there is no information on when any of the other books will be released. This series falls into the fantasy genre. The story is told in a limited third person narrative from the numerous different characters the point of view with each chapter bearing the name of the character it is focusing on.
In this world summer and winter each can last up to ten years, currently summer is soon going to end and winter is approaching. It is forshadowed that winter is coming not only literally but figuratively but we have yet to find out exactly what this means, although numerous things are stirring, including death, war and something evil rising from the land beyond the wall. There are eight main characters in this book, the majority of the characters are from the Stark family with numerous secondary characters. Most of these are well rounded and even though some are evil, they still have some good in their hearts and deeds, all except Joffry Baratheon and Viserys Targaryen who are just plain evil. This book is considered a high-fantasy book, even if there is not a large super-natural aspect to it, although there are Others, Undead predators and dragons.
As each separate story-line unfolds the book gets more and more interesting and the overall feel is one of coming doom. My favourite characters are Daenerys, Arya and Jon and I really like where these stories are going. I also like reading about the imp Tyrion, his attitude and character are fitting and I am really curious to see how he handles the next stage on his path. However, I felt that Daenerys journey was very sad, yet it was required to bring her to the point where she now is and my heart really goes out to Arya. She is made of really tough stuff, yet she is also just a little girl facing a really difficult situation. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series so I can find out where each of these characters are going and what is next in store for them as well as all the Starks and who will finally end up on the throne.
I highly recommend this book, the plot was thick and full of lots of action and character arcs. As a reader we can see where some mistakes were made by the characters and the consequences of these bad decisions, which really makes the book life-like. If you enjoy reading about the intrigues of court and high fantasy, with plenty of action, then you will enjoy this book.