I have to thank my co-worker (and fellow Starbucks Runner) LJ for getting me back into the realm of fiction. It was with George R. R. Martin's "Song of Fire and Ice" series. I say series, but honestly, it is more like a Fantasy Soap Opera. The story is spread across (currently) four books, approximately 1000 pages each. I believe two or three more books are planned. HBO has recently optioned to bring the series to the small screen.
The story uses a Point of View device to tell the story. Each chapter is labeled with a character's name and the story is then continued from their POV. This creates various story threads and you find yourself looking forward to certain characters. As the books change, so do the POV characters. The last book took two "bad-guy" characters and made them POV, giving new perspective to motivations.
As a Fantasy story, Martin breaks from the traditional Tolkien mold. The milieu is largely Medieval, and for the most part, is lacking in the various boogies that populate such stories. Oh, there are Undead creatures and Dragons, but they rarely make appearances. There is no "Quest" in the story, and there are no set good guys or bad guys (thanks to the POV mechanism).
As a Soap Opera, the story often gets a bit seedy. Also, Martin will sometimes keep you with a character, only to have that character get killed. After this has happened several times, completely throwing you for a loop, I found myself trying not to invest to much feelings for any particular character.
I liked the last book the least. Mainly because he took on many new POVs and left other (MAIN POVs) out completely. He ended the novel with the explanation that their story will continue, but he had so much story to tell that he would rather tell complete story lines, rather than have a bunch of hanging threads.