I mentioned before that I was finally reading this massive epic fantasy series by George R R Martin. Basically, I’ve had the books for ages, buying them because it was something I wanted to read, but putting off the actual reading until the series was finished. I don’t like to be left hanging. But now there’s going to be an HBO series based on the whole A Song Of Ice And Fire series, so I decided I should start reading. I’ve just finished the first book, A Game Of Thrones, and Merlin’s Cock, is it a fantastic book.
So many people have told me I should read this series and no one I know that has read it thought it was anything less than awesome. I can understand why. The scope of this story redefines the word “epic”. It’s massive in its ideas, in its cast of characters, in its imagination. You travel through the lives of the key players in a volatile time for this particular kingdom and it’s never boring. The political intrigue is fascinating, the races and places are vivid. Seriously, as a writer, this book bemuses me. How Martin is able to create and maintain this world in such detail is mind-blowing. It truly is a masterful achievement.
I had an idea about what this first volume was leading up to, what the basic shape of things at the end would be. I was pretty close to accurate in my prediction, yet Martin still managed to deliver that with a breathtaking clarity and lots of surprises. I can’t wait to read on with this series now, even though I know it’s not yet concluded. I can understand the masses clamouring for a final volume.
However, in my new determined effort to read more outside my genre, I’ve promised myself that I’ll read one non-genre novel for every genre novel I read. So I’ve now moved on to Unimagined, by Imran Ahmad. It’s the story of a young man from Pakistan and his life growing up as an immigrant in Britain. So far it’s excellent. Fundamentally a memoir, it’s written with a kind of succinct brevity that makes it hard to put down. I’ll report more on that when I’m finished.