If you are expecting a hardcore fantasy epic, there is the Game of Thrones book sadly lacking. There is nothing Westeros and its particular Seven Kingdoms have to offer that you simply cannot find in some other medieval setting, save for seasons that last a number of the mysterious beings called the 'Others' lurking underneath the great Wall inside the north. Instead, Martin comes with a different kind of fantasy, the one that focuses more about a persons aspect from the story. Take away the dragons as well as the magic and you will see that the gritty human nature remains, driving the main plot of political intrigue, conflicts, and ambition that compel one to commit acts of murder, rape, or worse.
Still, it's enough fantastical elements inside 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 from the Roses in the 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 consume, even for one of the most avid of readers. Thankfully, Martin's talent is at producing words that provide enough information, but stops lacking being tedious. While Martin will not win awards for beautiful prose, his writing keeps people engaged. The book never feels dragging and I appreciate more a blogger who are able to keep my attention before end instead of one who waxes lyrical.