18. (18) – Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin

Before Game of Thrones, I was always hesitant to delve into the world of epic fantasy. So often these series go on with no end in sight and I liked my novels to be largely self-contained. Iain M. Banks for example is great about writing Culture novels that wrap up in each book so that one does not feel the need to press on right away. However, George R. R. Martin opened up a whole new world of novels that I would later read because Game of Thrones was an invigorating read from beginning to end.

There are a ton of characters to keep up with as Martin shifts from chapter to chapter to the perspective of 11 different characters (and there are other main ones whose stories we do not follow as directly), but the shifts are easy and I found myself getting a feel for all of these characters shockingly quickly. I like how Martin kept the magic to the fringe in this book, you can sense it is there, that it will play a part down the road, but he is dealing with the internal conflict of civilized world. Martin is natural with his dialogue and gives us plenty of tension throughout the story. One is often guessing where different characters loyalties truly lie. 

There’s not much more to say about Game of Thrones.  It’s one of the biggest properties in fantasy, with the most impactful show of the last decade.  This started it all, and if you haven’t read it yet…do yourself a favor and pick it up. 

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