Author: George R.R. Martin
First Book: A Game of Thrones
Series Status: 5 of a planned 7 books published.

Click to EnlargeIt is hard to summarize what makes these books so good, because there are so many good things to say. For the sake of everyone’s sanity let’s focus on two things that make this epic drama so rich. Firstly, out of literally dozens (hundreds?) of characters, the number who are clearly “good guys” or “bad guys” can be counted on one hand. For all of rest it’s a matter of perspective. Martin does an amazing job of showing us the same situation through multiple POV’s, and from each character we get a totally different angle on what initially seemed clear-cut. Secondly….death. If your favorite character is in peril, you need to be afraid because this could well be their last page. No one kills off more characters than Martin, and while it can be sad when it happens, it makes the stories of the living that much more compelling.

Also, if you watch the show on HBO, you must READ THE BOOKS. Sometimes books and their on-screen translations are far from simpatico, but in this case they each really add to the experience of the other.

Read a Free Sample of A Game of Thrones or Buy it Now!

Watch HQ’s Exclusive Video: A Song of Ice and Fire Explained in Under 3 Minutes

Back Blurb: Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.