So many people reviewed this book and we don't need another one you will think. Especially someone who read it 20 years late. But considering I am one of those who read it after the TV show, I am only six years late. But still, the hype is so big, fans are dying being too fanatic and critics are so savage they could kill the show or the book. Without forgetting the very genius ones who leak scripts and episodes ! (sarcasm here). Anyway, it took me a while to read the first book because my pleasure of reading consist in fact to constantly starting new books and I sometimes found myself with six or seven started books.
As everybody knows, the first book is very close to the TV show. In fact there is the same dialogs, same story timeline, not so much less and not so much more. And I loved it. We absolutely cannot rate this book in the same way than the reader who reads it before the show came out. The final spoil is too big to be ignored. So I mostly concentrated more on the form of the book. I must say George R.R. Martin has the simplest complicated way of describing and constructing his characters. The feelings they have and the way they think is ornamented in a genius way and this is what, I think, make it possible for the show to be absolutely complete and deeply detailed. It’s a typical story timeline which is split by short chapters placed in the point of view of all the important characters. So we can assume that the book has already a cinematic ambiance.
What is most incredible about the story is that the different characters live and develop so far from each other and still at the very end of the book and knowing that they will meet one day let you think about the extremely large and rich journey that is waiting for them. This long journey but also the big importance the past events seems to have for every family is what makes each small detail very important to remember. Those subtle details who take place in the show as in the book, has an immense history that is written and known somewhere behind and before everything took place. (Look at all the wiki about westeros history and important characters that are already dead when the events took place). So this is what I call a complete story created by a complete and solid imagination. A big story written on the surface of an even bigger story that you, as a reader, need to dig a little. That is why I find this first book of the serie totally genius and so is the TV show !