A student of mine gave me this book. It took awhile until I got around to reading it, but that wasn’t as long as it took me to get into the story. It had been a long time since I read any contemporary fantasy and I had a difficult time getting into the plot and paying attention to the plethora of characters (you know, you could have told me there was an appendix with a flow-chart of characters and their relationships). However, once I got to a point that I knew who was who and what was what I was sucked into Martin’s world and couldn’t put the damn thing down. Basically, there is a medieval land with various nobles and various allegiances and all of a sudden this house of cards comes crashing down (referred to as “a games of thrones”). Did I mention that there is also this area where horrible creatures once lurked and it seems they have returned? One of the best (and most aggravating) things about Martin is that he pulls no punches. And I’m not referring to the abundance of pedophilia that is described throughout. You might be positive the plot is going to go in one direction and then that character gets killed or what-have-you ending that development prematurely. I haven’t been kept guessing since who knows when, so I’m eager to get the next book in the series. It seems there is also various novellas, comics, games, and an upcoming TV series based on this work.