"You must become so free that your very existence is an act of rebellion." -Albert Camus
There's not much I could say about this first installment of A Song of Ice and Fire that hasn't been said. The allegories I noticed don't come into play until later in the series and would be spoiler-y to include here.
That being said, I thought I would give my two cents in terms of recommendations: the types of people who I think might want to steer clear of this saga.
Don't Read A Song of Ice and Fire If:
• You don't like fantasy. This is a fantasy series and will bore you to tears if you don't already like or have any interest in the genre, whether in book form or movie form.
• You are offended by relatively graphic sexual scenes and ample nudity. I would not say the sex scenes in A Song of Ice and Fire are all that graphic, but I've read the works of Kresley Cole and Larissa Ione so my opinion means jack squat in this regard. That being said, I've seen some people be turned off by the book because there is a lot of nudity, sex and allusions to sex. And they're not scenes you can skip either because important plot points come up during these scenes.
• Politics makes you want to jump off a cliff. These books span a literal game of thrones: people are trying to 1) rules all of Westeros (the main continent), 2) break off from the monarchy and rule their own section of Westeros, 3) rebel, 4) stay the hell out of it. Although the politics is fictional, there is still quite a bit of it in certain characters' POVs and could potentially be boring.
• Complicated scenes - particularly complicated sex scenes - freak you out. This is a medieval world. There are thirteen year olds being sold to thirty year olds and they have sex with each other. I saw a reviewer write about how Dany and Khal Drogo's relationship was a glorified version of Stockholm Syndrome and it completely ruined her enjoyment of the book. If these types of things will upset you to the point where you can no longer enjoy the rest of the book, you might want to steer clear.
• You like it when the good guys win. LOL. Sorry. You're not going to find that here.
• Graphic depictions of violence make you squeamish or even mentally ill. Just don't put yourself through that, because there's a lot of it.
• You need to like or relate to characters to enjoy a story. There are a lot of characters in this series and they all have their flaws and their good points... except for the crazy ones who just have flaws. You may love all most of them, but you may not like a single one.
• You've seen the show and you don't like it. You probably won't like the book, either.
I hope that this list of people I think might not enjoy ASOIAF is helpful for those of you who have been toying with read the series. From my 5* review, I am sure you've gathered that I loved this book, but I do realize that the series isn't for everyone.