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 have to give you that you cannot get in every other medieval setting, save for seasons that last a number of the mysterious beings referred to as the 'Others' lurking under the great Wall inside the north. Instead, Martin offers a different kind of fantasy, one which focuses more about the human being aspect with the story. Take away the dragons and the magic and you will see that the gritty man's instinct is still there, driving the main plot of political intrigue, conflicts, and ambition that compel someone to commit acts of murder, rape, or worse.
Still, it has 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 with 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 800 pages is often a lot of eat, even for one of the most avid of readers. Thankfully, Martin's talent is in producing words offering enough information, but stops lacking being tedious. While Martin won't win awards for beautiful prose, his writing keeps people engaged. The book never feels dragging and I appreciate more a blogger who is able to keep my attention prior to the end instead of one that waxes lyrical.