If you are expecting a hardcore fantasy epic, there is a Game of Thrones book sadly lacking. There is nothing Westeros and it is Seven Kingdoms have to give you that you simply cannot find in some other medieval setting, save for seasons that last a number of the mysterious beings referred to as 'Others' lurking beneath the great Wall inside the north. Instead, Martin supplies a different kind of fantasy, one that focuses more on the human being aspect with the story. Take away the dragons as well as the magic and you will see that the gritty human nature is still there, driving the main plot of political intrigue, conflicts, and ambition that compel one to commit acts of murder, rape, or worse.
Still, it's got 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 with the Roses inside a fantasy world. For someone who enjoys reading both fantasy and historical fiction, Martin's masterpiece is a godsend.
I admit that near to 800 pages is a lot of ingest, even for essentially the most avid of readers. Thankfully, Martin's talent is within producing words that provide enough information, but stops less than being tedious. While Martin will not win awards for beautiful prose, his writing keeps the reader engaged. The book never feels dragging and I appreciate more a blogger who are able to keep my attention prior to the end rather than one who waxes lyrical.