by George R. R. Martin
A Game of Thrones is the first book in the epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. In the Seven Kingdoms, we come to find out that the seasons last for years, summers can span decades, and winters a lifetime.
This first novel centers around the Seven Kingdoms, the current king, the history of how he got to be king, and the contention for the throne. The story follows the (principal) Houses of the lands: Stark, Lannister, Targaryen, and Baratheon. There are many characters in A Game of Thrones, and each chapter is told in the third-person from the point of view of one character, who is indicated by the chapter title. At first, I was not sure that I liked this narrative style, but when there are many characters and locations, it does seem to be effective.
There are hints of dragons, giants, and other fantasy creatures throughout the novel, but the only direct experience with the fantastical, in book one of the series, is The Others. The Others seem to be some sort of Zombie, killing and inhabiting/reanimating the dead. However, the main fantasy point of the novel is definitely the fictional time, land, people, etc.
NOTE (8/29/11): I’ve read books two through four as well at this point (A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows), and will be starting on the 5th book later this year.
I have highly enjoyed the series thus far, but would only recommend it for those who truly enjoy fantasy novels. as these are epic novels, and not short, easy reads.