Fairly typically I am a bit late in the game of reading this one as everyone else seems to beat me to it. I started watching this series at the beginning of the year (yes, I really am that slow!) And found that I really enjoyed it. I am not sure what I expected from the books, to be honest as reading a book after you have seen any kind of portrayal of it in the world of entertainment tends to be a big disappointment.
However, I have got to say that this one proved to be the exception. Well, I can only speak for book 1 as I have not got round to reading any of the other ones. I am fully expecting the TV series to go off in its own direction at some point but it could be that I am pleasantly surprised by this.
I actually found that it followed the series quite well but gave you added insight into the characters as you read their chapters. I did think that the inclusion of Deni‘s dreams helped to explain some of our actions more than the series did. Mind you, she is my favorite character and so I am bound to be a little bit biased! I did discover that George RR Martin seems to be unable to decide on her name which was a fairly annoying point. It differed from Deni to Dani to her full name (which my dictation device will not accept!)
In general, the book made you like the characters even more in most cases. Sansa was not one of them because she appeared pathetic in the series, but reading her chapters made you think she was actually even worse. Oh, and of course Joffrey!
I have got to say that it is a completely immersive read and it turns into quite a page turner even though you already know most of what happens. I still found that you read it wondering what happened to the characters next because of all the things that had not been covered by the TV series. (Like the dreams)
I would find that it is very likely I will be buying the rest of the series at some point. I would actually give this book 4/5 stars and highly recommend it to anybody interested in fantasy or politics.
It is worth noting that the sex and language are very understated in the books although it definitely is not on the TV! Well, they do say that sex sells!