A couple of weeks ago I finished reading A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, and I really enjoyed it. I'm eager to read the next book, although I'll try not to hurry, because he's only written five books of the projected seven –book series. Even if it takes me a couple of years to read all five books, I might have to wait a few years for book six.
It took me a few chapters to get into it. I'm not super impressed with Martin's style of prose, though it's not bad. It never seemed very creative or evocative.
The characters and story, though, were great. At first, it didn't seem any better than a typical fantasy story, but as details accrued and character portraits developed it became very engrossing. I especially appreciated the organic feel of the complexity: The characters all have natural-feeling personalities and react in believable ways within a detailed setting, so the way the story progresses never feels forced.
I also appreciate the refreshing lack of romanticization. The whole setting is believably gritty and dirty, and people who are motivated by honor are at a disadvantage. There are characters I like quite a bit, and I'm worried they are going to die, or worse, turn dislikable.
Right now I am simultaneously reading two books: Who Wrote the Gospels by Gary Greenberg, and Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Friedman. Both are pretty interesting. I enjoy reading about the linguistic analysis and side-by-side text comparisons that went into the detective work.