I will admit that I had mixed feelings about reading this one to begin with, but at the encouragement of several other book lovers like me who had read it, I decided to give it a whirl. I wasn’t unsure about reading it because of the genre, or any negative reviews I’d heard, I was simply unsure if the book would - A) live up to the high expectations I had after watching the first season of this show, and/or B) would be diverse enough from the show to hold me captivated for 694 pages. In previous other instances where I watched the film or television show prior to reading the book I’d always felt bogged down by the book and slightly bored even if subsequent books in the series were amazing. It’s not that the book was going to be poorly written (for if so why would anyone have even considered turning it into a movie/show), but now exciting can it get if you already know most of the major conflicts as well as their resolution.
I wasn’t entirely wrong in my assumptions, but I’m still glad I read the book. It took me a bit longer to read it than normal and I did take a few breaks from it to read other books that were less predictable during that time. The reason that I’m glad I did go ahead and read it was that there were enough plot points that the televised version skimmed over or omitted altogether that had I just started with the second book in the series I would have been likely to have had some moments of definite confusion.
So my advice is this, if you haven’t yet seen the show, read the first book in the series first. Once you’ve read the first book, watch the entire first season. If you’ve already watched the first season but loved it enough to not want to have to wait to find out what happens next, you’re going to want to read the book. And lastly if you really can’t handle reading the first book after having seen the show, just skip it and hope that Martin recaps enough of the changes to keep you from becoming too lost in the books that follow. I’m sure it won’t be too bad.
All that being said, lets get down to brass tacks. Martin is a stupendous writer. He uses that style where you jump from one character to another each chapter which keeps it interesting. He tends to make you wait just long enough for new information on any particular character to keep you in suspense for much of the book, or at least I would have been had I not already known what was going to happen next to all of the characters. Nevertheless, Martin manages to write a 700 page book that can actually keep you interested and keep you reading to the end, leaving you with just enough questions left unanswered that you are anxious to get your hands on the next book. And lucky for you, the entire series has been written already, so you shouldn’t have too hard a time getting hold of the next book. I’m looking forward to reading the next one myself.