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 are offering that you simply cannot find in another medieval setting, save for seasons that last many the mysterious beings referred to as the 'Others' lurking under the great Wall inside the north. Instead, Martin comes with a different kind of fantasy, the one which focuses read more about the human being aspect with the story. Take away the dragons along with the magic and you'll see that the gritty human nature is still there, driving the primary plot of political intrigue, conflicts, and ambition that compel a person 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, along with the whispers of magic working behind the scenes. It is War with the Roses in a very fantasy world. For someone who enjoys reading both fantasy and historical fiction, Martin's masterpiece can be a godsend.
I admit that near to 800 pages can be a lot of take in, even for essentially the most avid of readers. Thankfully, Martin's talent is producing words that offer enough information, but stops less than being tedious. While Martin will not win awards for beautiful prose, his writing keeps the various readers engaged. The book never feels dragging and I appreciate more a blogger who can keep my attention prior to the end rather than individual who waxes lyrical.