What could be said about Game of Thrones, the first of George R.R. Martin's epic series, that hasn't been said a million times? It's absolutely brilliant. Going into these books (I read them after the show began but before I'd seen the show...), I enjoyed my share of sci-fi/fantasy along the lines of Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer... fairly light-hearted stuff (in comparison, at least) that always felt grounded in the same world I live in. The one genre I really disliked was "Middle Ages Fantasy" as I called it. Lord of the Rings, for instance, while the films were visually appealing, was not my cup of tea... too detached from reality. So when I first saw articles and clips from the HBO Game of Thrones series, I thought it looked like the one type of fantasy series that I would never enjoy. I held out for a looong time, until 3 different friends of mine with similar tastes in books/shows/films promised me that, while they too disliked this sub-genre of fantasty, this series was different, and I HAD to read the books or start the show. Grudgingly, I picked up the first book, figuring that I'd push myself half-way through it and let me friends know I tried and they were totally wrong.
Of course they weren't wrong.
What George R.R. Martin has done here defies genre, period. It doesn't matter if you're like me and don't care for this sub-genre of fantasy... it doesn't matter if your like my spouse, and don't like fantasy at all. If you enjoy brilliant, incredibly-developed, thought-provoking stories... those with a strongly developed cast of characters who blissfully lack being "good vs. evil" and instead all display their shades of grey, good traits, evil traits, unique traits, all sorts of traits... then this book is for you. Buy it. Open it up. Start reading. You won't regret it.