If you are expecting a hardcore fantasy epic, there is the Game of Thrones book sadly lacking. There is nothing Westeros and its Seven Kingdoms are offering that you cannot find in any other medieval setting, save for seasons that last many the mysterious beings known as the 'Others' lurking underneath the great Wall inside north. Instead, Martin provides a different kind of fantasy, one which focuses read more about the human aspect from the story. Take away the dragons along with the magic and you may realize that the gritty man's instinct is still there, driving the principle plot of political intrigue, conflicts, and ambition that compel a person to commit acts of murder, rape, or worse.
Still, it's got enough fantastical elements inside form of knights, dragons, kings and queens, princes and princesses, along with the whispers of magic working behind the scenes. It is War from the Roses inside a fantasy world. For someone who enjoys reading both fantasy and historical fiction, Martin's masterpiece can be a godsend.
I admit that close to 800 pages can be a lot of ingest, even for probably the most avid of readers. Thankfully, Martin's talent is at producing words that supply enough information, but stops in short supply of being tedious. While Martin will not likely win awards for beautiful prose, his writing keeps people engaged. The book never feels dragging and I appreciate more a writer who can keep my attention until the end as opposed to individual who waxes lyrical.