For being in the genre of fantasy, there was surprising little fantastical elements or magic in this book. That's not to say there won't be in future books, but I was just shocked by how little there was in this one. There are so many wheels within wheels that it's reminiscent of Dune. You follow various characters (at first, it's overwhelming, but becomes clearer later), wondering how their plans will work out, and the outcomes are realistic and surprising. On a side note, the TV series by HBO did an amazing job of following the book, sometimes even having word-for-word dialog. The ending is spectacular, and although somewhat abrupt, I didn't feel frustrated waiting for the next book like I am on some series.