If you are expecting a hardcore fantasy epic, there is an Game of Thrones book sadly lacking. There is nothing Westeros as well as Seven Kingdoms are offering that you cannot discover in some other medieval setting, save for seasons that last a number of the mysterious beings known as the 'Others' lurking under the great Wall in the north. Instead, Martin offers a different kind of fantasy, the one which focuses more about the human aspect with the story. Take away the dragons as well as the magic and you'll realize that the gritty human instinct is still there, driving the key plot of political intrigue, conflicts, and ambition that compel someone to commit acts of murder, rape, or worse.
Still, they have enough fantastical elements in the form of knights, dragons, kings and queens, princes and princesses, as well as the whispers of magic working behind the scenes. It is War with the Roses in a fantasy world. For someone who enjoys reading both fantasy and historical fiction, Martin's masterpiece is often a godsend.
I admit that near to 800 pages is often a lot of ingest, even for one of the most avid of readers. Thankfully, Martin's talent is producing words that provide enough information, but stops in short supply of being tedious. While Martin is not going to win awards for beautiful prose, his writing keeps the reader engaged. The book never feels dragging and I appreciate more an author who are able to keep my attention before end in lieu of one that waxes lyrical.