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 give that you just cannot get in every other medieval setting, save for seasons that last years and the mysterious beings referred to as 'Others' lurking under the great Wall inside the north. Instead, Martin supplies a different kind of fantasy, one that focuses more on a persons aspect of the story. Take away the dragons and the magic and you'll discover that the gritty human nature remains, driving the main plot of political intrigue, conflicts, and ambition that compel you to commit acts of murder, rape, or worse.
Still, they have enough fantastical elements inside the form of knights, dragons, kings and queens, princes and princesses, and the whispers of magic working behind the scenes. It is War of the Roses inside 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 essentially the most avid of readers. Thankfully, Martin's talent is at producing words that supply enough information, but stops lacking being tedious. While Martin is not going to win awards for beautiful prose, his writing keeps your reader engaged. The book never feels dragging and I appreciate more an author that can keep my attention before end in lieu of one who waxes lyrical.