One of my 13-in-2013 goals was to read 26 books, and I'm very close to already achieving that goal. Ideally I was aiming for one book every two weeks, but especially with a little extra time in the summer, I'm already up to 21 books.
3 of these are part of the Game of Thrones series, including Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, and A Storm of Swords. Together, they're about 3,000 pages of medieval craziness. I'm pretty sure everyone has at least heard of the Game of Thrones- either the book series or the HBO TV series.
A lot of friends had been recommending the series to me, calling Martin the Tolkien of America, and saying that GoT was one of the greatest modern fantasies written. I thought it would be a great summer read for me- some fun fantasy after so many papers.
After reading 3 of the books (out of 5 total so far), I can say for certain that I've definitely enjoyed the series. They're incredibly fast-paced and involved, jumping from character to character and backdrop to backdrop every chapter. While I don't think I'd go so far as to compare Martin's writing to Tolkien, one thing I can say about the author is that he's absolutely not afraid to change a character's perspective, introduce major controversy, boldly make taboo subjects seem almost acceptable, and kill off pretty much any character he pleases. For instance, incest in royal bloodlines is a topic often discussed and even participated in by main characters, yet Martin handles the subject in a matter-of-fact way that forces the reader to confront it head-on. His characters are very real, and act so. They are selfish, they are afraid, they are bold, they manipulate, they lie, and they are cowardly. They are, essentially, human.
Scott's almost halfway into the fourth book, and once he's done, I get to continue on with the series. The break is nice, but I'll be excited to delve into Martin's world again- partly because I'm nervous I might forget some of his vast cast of characters and who is alligned with whom and what crazy plots are coming out of the woodwork.
If you've been on the fence about this series, I would definitely suggest giving it a try. They're thick, but short chapters break them up nicely. Definitely one of the better series I've read in awhile. Just be careful not to get too attached to any one of the characters- you never know what might happen to them... ;)
Postscript- I have watched the first two seasons of the HBO series, and both Scott and I very much enjoy them. We've been actually watching the season after we finished each book together. HBO pretty much follow the books, and it's really fun to see how the TV show deals with certain plot points, characters, and problems. I'm really excited to see season 3, and I'm exceedingly curious about how they plan on doing parts of season 4, since Book 3 is seasons 3 & 4 of the TV show. Shows how much goes on in the books! If you have the opportunity, I'd say read the books alongside the TV series- keeps things interesting. :)