It’s almost the end of November and as I’m chasing the elusive 50K for Nano (I’m almost there, well, another 5K and I will be) I doubt I’ll be able to fit in another book from my TBR pile. But, I had aimed to read 30% of all the books I read during this challenge to be from my TBR pile, and I have actually accomplished that. I only realised today that the challenge was to encompass both October and November and I had really only started it in November, but when I looked back on what I’ve read and counted my reviews, I found I had read 10 books in total out of which I posted 3 reviews for the Clear Off Your Shelves Challenge:

A Test of Wills by Charles Todd
Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
A Grave Man by David Roberts

which makes 30% ish (well, a little less as 30% of 10 is 3.66 books. I can’t help calculating as I did an astrophysics degree that was basically all maths and physics for the first two years.)

But… when I looked back on the reviews I posted, what did I find but a review of A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin? Now that book has been on my TBR shelf for over a year, and since I finished reading it at the beginning of November this year, I guess it qualifies for the challenge! Yay! So that completes my Clear Off Your Shelves Challenge.

If feels really great to actually read books from my TBR shelf and I feel that I’ve actually accomplished something and that my book buying sprees aren’t all in vain. So thanks to Swapna of S. Krishna Books for hosting this wonderful challenge.

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

The last few years have been really great in the fantasy genre for me, what with my discovery of Scott Lynch, Steven Erikson and now George R.R. Martin. I was expecting my attempt to read A Game of Thrones to be a slow one, mainly because I tried reading it earlier in the year and didn’t get very far. I think my mind was on other things plus I had just finished reading Erikson’s amazingly rich Gardens of the Moon, and sometimes this happens. And did I mention that it’s a whopping 900 pages of a doorstopper?

But I’d read so many great things about his series, A Song of Ice and Fire of which A Game of Thrones is the first book, and heard about all the fans waiting patiently (and some not so patiently) for his latest installment which is apparently a few years late (give the guy a break people, creativity cannot be turned on like a tap!)

A Game of Thrones is set in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, populated by a host of characters from the naive to the ruthless, the good and upright to the cruel and evil, and all are engaged in a tapestry of violence from trying to keep the peace and doing the right thing to grabbing power with a vengeance. The world is that of high fantasy, medieval in its day to day detail, but the beauty and strength of Martin’s story is in his characters. This is a human story filled with longing, fear, love and lust. There is revenge, there is honour and there is betrayal. There is family, normal and twisted, there is humour and there is a sense of the bittersweet and inevitable.

In A Game of Thrones we meet the Starks and Tullys, who rule the North and the Wall which keeps out the unknown and the cold, the Baratheons, who rule the Seven Kingdoms married to the Lannisters who are beautiful and hungry for power, and finally the Targaryans, the last of the Dragon Kings, of which only a crazed prince and his beautiful sister survive.

This is a robust and complex book, but once you start reading, I guarantee that you will be hooked. Like me, you will learn to care about each character, shy away from the evil and cruel, cheer the weak and cornered and pray that those who need love find it. I developed a soft spot for the direwolf cubs who belong to each of the Stark children and guard them with their lives. I want one too!

I can’t wait to read the next in the series, A Clash of Kings, and am eagerly awaiting the HBO pilot episode of A Game of Thrones

But in the meantime, I’m reading The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan on my Sony e-book.