If you are expecting a hardcore fantasy epic, you will find the Game of Thrones book sadly lacking. There is nothing Westeros and it is Seven Kingdoms have to give that you cannot find in every other medieval setting, save for seasons that last a number of the mysterious beings known as the 'Others' lurking beneath the great Wall within the north. Instead, Martin provides a different kind of fantasy, one that focuses more on the human being aspect with the story. Take away the dragons along with the magic and you will find that the gritty human instinct remains, driving the main plot of political intrigue, conflicts, and ambition that compel a person to commit acts of murder, rape, or worse.
Still, they have enough fantastical elements within 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 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 consume, even for probably the most avid of readers. Thankfully, Martin's talent is in producing words that provide enough information, but stops short of being tedious. While Martin is not going to 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 before end instead of individual who waxes lyrical.