Warning, this article may contains spoilers (I am trying to be sublime about them though) and have written them in white text just to be on the safe side.
According to Wikipedia these books are in these subgenres:
High Fantasy – lots of fantasy stuff going on – like magic and monster. Opposed to low fantasy that has less magical components and is set in familiar world.
Dark Fantasy – a bit of horror
If you are reading the same book, check in the back for the family trees! Not any real clues that kills the book and comes in handy.
000- Got the book in Academic Book shop near Aleksanderinkatu, Helsinki.
001- Haven’t even read the prologue yet. Goes right into it though with a guy named Gared who’s old ‘n’ sturdy. Will and some noble on a high horse travelling through a dark (and scary) forest.
002- Lots of introductions (short chapters with names of characters) in the beginning, primarily of young people – indicating that these probably will be people we will be following later on in the series.
003- I like this. Pretty fast paced now in the introductions, beginning of the story; it’s not like the first book of LOTR.
004- Some animals / species or plants are real, as in they exist in our world too. For example Aurochs. One example I found is not the name of a tree ‘here’, but maybe they are taken from the name of a place – like the tree specie Weirwood.
005- Other animals are of course the dire wolves that are introduced to the reader very early in the book. There is a nice page on wikipedia about them :)
006- People can die! Even “good” ones. At least that’s what I hope. But I guess in all fairness it probably won’t be malazan style but I will hope!
007- About half-way through now. Some characters are less introspective, or is that just how I feel it? Because they ‘must’ be hiding something?
008- Ahh, beautiful. I think I will most definitely be reading more. Good character building in this book. Not too much “boring” – I mean it did not feel like the first book in Lord of the Rings which was relatively devoid of action. This book is definitely not and doesn’t feel like a classical ‘first’ book. For example lots of references are being made to the war when the current king Robert took the throne with the help of Ned/Edward. But not too much specific, it sure sounds like a lot of good action/stories happened ‘back then’.
009- See 002- :)
010- Done with the book now! Man am I hooked!
011- Deaths? Yes. Definitely deaths by high-profiled characters in the book. But not by ‘surprise’ as in the Malazan. Maybe I should stop comparing everything to the Malazan series..
In terms of proportion action/politics I believe the book is in par with the Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan. Probably a bit more action. Now will this change? I sincerely hope so, good action is something I enjoy. As long as it’s not too repetitive. Maybe it’s easy for authors to get stuck in the ‘same’ kind of action – describing quite detailed how the actual swords play go. This I find boring. But every now and then it’s nice – especially if there’s something besides the-hero-wins happening.
Now the ‘heroes’.
There’s the usual ‘we believe in the good and we are awesome’ – represented by the Stark family.
There’s the ‘Dr. Evil’ crowd – represented by the Lannister family.
There are two outsider threads: Jon Snow and the Dragon siblings Dany and Visy.
Jon is ‘good’ but he is a hidden gem for the Starks. Maybe he will go his own way and pwn the Wall/north. Maybe he will come in handy later to fix the rest of the continent after the dragons/others come back. I hope both :)
Now as George R.R. Martin takes like 3 years between each book I will read something in between, then I’ll get on to the next in the series.