The Song of Ice and Fire series has been around for over a decade, yet somehow it exploded in popularity a few years back. It now has a TV show, and it has gained so many fans that I won't be surprised if we soon can buy the house flags or miniature figures to play war with.There are tons of raving reviews for A Game of Thrones, so when my boyfriend gifted me the book I decided to give it a try.To be very honest, I don't get what all the fuss is about. It's just a standard fantasy book. I have read dozens of books that are like this. It's a decent book, it has some good world-building and a nice history and it must have taken Martin months to just figure out all those characters. But let's be honest, as a casual reader you don't care for 80% of the characters he created. You care for the cast of main characters. Especially in the beginning of the book I was disappointed with how not-so-greatly written A Game of Thrones was. The children speak like fifty-year-olds and the dialogue is bland. I was expecting exceptional language and beautiful description, but I was sorely disappointed on that point.People that say they are gripped from the first page are liars. How can the first chapters NOT be confusing? There are masses of names that you have to take track of, and confusing me is not the way to grip me. It took me half a year to get through the first half of the book. The build up is sooooooo slooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww. I really feel like adding a lot more o's and w's to that one, but I'll keep those to myself.Once the book finally gets started, it really is entertaining. There finally is some war and courtly intrigue and people die and overall the plot starts moving. Sadly, the book doesn't get started until four hundred pages in. That's the length of an entire book, people.If it wasn't for the TV series, I never would have tried to finish the book. It's a good book, but not any different from so many other fantasy books I have read. Now I have invested so much time in the characters I will continue the series, but if you're daunted by the length of the books, don't start. Just watch the TV series and read a slightly less wordy fantasy book.Also, did any of you people notice that the entire first book could be condensed to a 100-page prologue to the series?