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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I don't have anything to say about George R. R. Martin's work that hasn't already been said (it's excellent), but I would like to comment on the preparation and packaging of this document for Kindle.

Bundling - When one purchases a "bundle" of books, they receive individual books. There's a specific term for a collection of individual stories in one book - it's called an anthology. For Kindle, this product is explicitly sold as a "4-Book Bundle". Instead of receiving four separate files on my Kindle, I received one massive file with all for books strung end to end. That's not a bundle, that's an anthology.

Page Counts - One of the alleged benefits of the Kindle is the ability to reference real page numbers to discuss things with users with the dead-tree (that's paper) versions and location numbers for those reading on Kindles of different sizes. The page numbers in this release are broken beyond the first book - everything after page 695 reads as page 695, even the other books in the anthology. In addition, with all four books merged into one monolithic file, the location numbers are irrelevant for comparison after the first novel.

Metadata - Kindle books have metadata that is presented on screen so you can see what book you're looking at. This metadata has fields for author, title, publisher, etc. In this case, the title field is populated with "George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones 4-Book Bundle: A Song of Ice and Fire Series: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows (Song of Ice & Fire)". There's a whole slew of errors here:
1.) The author's name should not be part of the title field; there's a separate field for that.
2.) The book series is not "A Game of Thrones", even if the HBO series is. "A Game of Thrones" is just one book in the series properly called "A Song of Ice and Fire".
3.) The name is so long that it cannot be read on the screen of all devices. On the Kindle Touch, you end up seeing the author's name twice and not much else.

Of course, this all comes back to packaging. If the Bundling step had been done correctly (which is to say, not at all) then the Page Counts (definitely) and Metadata (hopefully) would have been correct. Amazon, if you did the packaging, shame on you. If the publisher did the packaging, shame on Amazon as well. I shouldn't get a book that is readable but with all the benefits of the Kindle format broken.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2012
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
I read somewhere that this guy's supposed to be the American Tolkien... If so, then he's defineitely a poor man's 2nd cousin 3 times removed and adopted to boot version. The story lines are interesting enough overall but not much happens to advance the storyline or develop the characters within each volume so you're left with partial characters meandering throughout the made up world with seemingly little purpose. Also, the author seems to relish in killing off the few likable characters and writes the remaining almost likable characters into situations that seem to hide the noble and shine the silliness. He also seems to build up to these almost moments (like Arya meeting up with Catelyn or Bran meeting up with Jon Snow) only to direct the storyline to a more senseless dramatic shift - almost like someone told him he needs to make sure the characters suffer more and really shouldn't have any happy moments along the tortuous journey their respective lives have taken.

The HBO series got me interested so I bought this to read further but should have just waited for the series instead. Anyone interested in signing a petition for the author to strike any future "You know nothing Jon Snow" sentences?
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I was intrigued by the HBO show, so I bought the books. At first, the story was great. Books always give you more insight to the story. After finishing the 4th book, I've about had enough. The story drags along with too many tedious descriptions, lists of names that don't matter, "F" bombs, and porn that would be better found in a Hustler. It feels like Martin started out with a good story and decided to stretch it out as much as possible so he could sell more books. I won't be buying the 5th book. I'm disappointed.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Fantasy fans and GRRM groupies, I am going to rain on this parade a teensy bit.

My overall thesis here is that GRRM lost track of where this story needed to go. I understand it was written over a fairly long period with substantial intervals between books. Perhaps that has something to do with this problem.

First the good stuff. GRRM has created a very compelling, believable universe in this series. He is also a master at character development and filling in what I will call the matrix of the story. That is providing lots of details and vignettes that help us to know and care about the characters with which he has peopled the story. Thats about it folks.

After the first book (GoT) in which the framework and over-arching story lines are introduced (which I am ready to acknowledge as a masterwork on a par with "The Fellowship of the Ring" in the LOTR series)the story sags to the point it is forgotten over the next 4 books. We lose nearly all of the original set of characters the first book introduced us to, either to death or some endless quest to rejoin a family that some do not realize, no longer exists. We meet numerous new characters who contribute virtually nothing to the Framework of the story and dissapear. We meet so many characters (some who have little or no relationship to previous characters) that it is difficult to remember what more important, potentially pivotal characters were doing hundreds of pages previously.

It is not my intention to write a "War and Peace" review here. Let me close with some bullets that are areas of key dissappointment for me in this series.

1. Arya, far and away the most interesting character in this series. GRRM cheats us out of an outstanding heroine. His development of her story in Braavos is terrific. The dissapppointment is that it goes nowhere and contributes nothing to the story. Everyone expects that there will be a reunion with Syrio here. It doesnt happen. It ends as an isolated vignette. Hopefully in some future work he redeems this travesty.

2. Winter is Coming, Winter is coming... we hear this endlessly. So what? There is virtually no consistent development of this theme.

3. "The Others" A powerful creation and story line driver that is neglected to the point of it being a distraction.

4. The Wall. We end with some ambivalence as to the true purpose of the wall and its guardians. This is a Framework mainstay and its treatment toward the close dilutes the story.

I could go on and may if this review generates any feedback.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
So - you have watched the show on HBO, and now - you can't wait to the 2nd season!
You rush online, look franticly for the books on Amazon, You found this set of 4 books, and you want to dive right in, right?
Before you buy - let me tell you a little story:

Once upon a time (1996) there was a brilliant author who wrote and published a magical book.
All the people who have read this book were bewitched by it: as if under a spell, they could not let it down until it was finished.
They neglected their families and friends, they skipped school, they did not do any homework, laundry, cooking or cleaning while they were so enthralled with it's suspenseful plot, believable characters and general awesomeness. When they were done reading, all the people hailed the author and crowned him as the best fantasy writer since JRR Tolkien.
When the second book came out, The spell was even stronger. Book no. 3 was equally great, and the masses of followers grew and grew in numbers. Then - book no.4 was about to come out: the devouted were anxiously waiting. They have pre-ordered it online a year ahead. They have cleared their schedule. They were standing in bookstores, shaking and trembling with anticipation, until they could get their hands on the coveted book.
But Alas! - as they read on the book, the magic was gone. The plot was tedious, the suspense was gone, and instead of adventures and adrenalin, they got more and more, unimportant and uninteresting new characters. Some kept on reading, some just put it aside and went to do their laundry instead.
The years went by, and the 5th book was published. It's name was "Dance with dragons", but there was no dancing among the ranks of the devouted, for again, they have tasted the bitter taste of disappointment.

That, my friends, Is the sad, sad story of "song of ice and fire", and it's cult of disappointed followers. A series 15 years in the making - and still NO WAY NEAR the end. After 3 awesome books: "Game of thrones" "clash of kings" "storm of swords", came the overwhelmingly boring and repetitive sequels - "feast for crows" and "Dance with dragons". In this two books, You will wonder aimlessly through the pages, much like the characters, looking for some actual plot. I just wanted to tell you, my young friends, do not buy this boxed set. I know it is tempting , but believe me - Only the first 3 books are worth your time and money.You do not need to buy book 4 and 5. They are nothing like their older siblings. I know it is hard to believe they can be so bad that you should not even bother to read them - but it is, sadly, true.
GRR Martin has either lost his vision for his epic saga, or he is just shamelessly stalling and milking his fans for more money, for more and more bad books that do not advance the story line.
I dare say that after this last 2 books, no one hails him as the new Tolkien any more. Tolkien had integrity as a writer. Can you Imagine Tolkien publishing the first two books and then saying - "Hey, people really dig this stuff! Maybe I can make a few more shillings out of it. Why don't I let Frodo and Sam take the scenic road to mordor, meet some new people, have a few loughs, and add 1000 page or so".
Unfortunately - this is exactly what happened here. Why would you buy a boxed set of an unfinished book series? Save your money people. Borrow this books from a library, borrow from a friend , buy second hand. Do not put more money Into GRRM pocket before he proves he has integrety and ethics as a writer.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2012
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
After almost four thousand pages of reading, I'm left feeling that the plot plan for this magnum opus is mainly retirement income. The stories feel like they have direction and an overall plan of some sort, there may even be an end game somewhere, but the author seems to take every opportunity to string the story along. I enjoyed the authors writing enough to finish these 'first four', but feel that buying any more in this series would simply be throwing money into a bottomless pit. If in some future installment the author does in fact find his conclusion I might revisit the choice and read the rest, but the series just isn't captivating enough for an open commitment to an endless series of purchases.

Just as a side note, I felt the many and lengthy pornographic scenes were an attempt to attract a demographic and had no relevance to whatever tenuous plot into which they were wedged.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
The Game of Thrones series is GREAT. I have no complaints about the actual content of the series, as I have found it absolutely riveting and a page-"clicker".

That said, I do not recommend getting the bundle for the Kindle. I had not realized it, but all four books are crammed into a single Kindle file, meaning it is even harder than normal to tell how far into a book you are. This is frustrating, particularly when it comes to maps or wanting to go back and re-read something for clarity. Kindle is not necessarily reader friendly anyway when it comes to going back to read something. 4000 pages crammed into one file makes that pretty much impossible.

Sure, you can use the table of contents to go to a particular chapter, but then you have to know which chapter corresponds with which; the chapter headings within the book are by name, not by number.

So, even though you save money by having all the Kindle files in one, it can be difficult to navigate through, and with as many characters Martin has in his books, being able to go through and re-read is kinda necessary at times.

So, five stars for the actual content of the series. I'm so very riveted that I have read through all of these within a couple of weeks. But two stars for the difficulty of four books in one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
These are amazing books but the pictures and descriptions led me to believe that this was a better quality than what I got. The book set was of average quality (picture a regular hardcover book) with a different dust jacket. In order to justify the box set I would have at least made them leather bound or anything else would have been great.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2012
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
Ok so I bought the bundle of four books - the tangible soft cover printed on paper books. I bought them around the time that the other reviews complaining about the poor physical quality of the books were written (mid-year 2011). I did not find any of those problems -missing pages, pages falling out, binding breaking or miss printed pages. The paper seemed a little cheap; the books were very heavy so a higher quality of paper would have added even more weight to this bloated epic. (This is the transition from the product review to the content review).

Yes I did say bloated. Some compare Martin to Tolkien, I just don't see it. Is it just because he is writing a long story in a fantasy world? Others have done that. Is it because he is an exceptional writer? There are several of those too.

Martin has used over 4000 pages to get the story where? Half done? After 4000 pages of Tolkien I had read the Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, including appendixes, The Silmarillion, The Unfinished Tails and The Children of Hurin and then re-read The Lord of the Rings, not including the appendixes and The Silmarillion one more time.

What's your point you might ask - go ahead, ask. Well I don't know what my point is. I am vaguely dissatisfied. Less than happy, I feel unfulfilled. It was a lot of work to get through this marathon of literature only to find myself half way home with years of waiting before another frustrated read leaves me unsatisfied.

I enjoyed the first two books, I really did. But Martin's style has eroded my thrill of reading. During the fourth book I found every little style annoyance began to cause me physical pain. What annoyances? Let's see, "fearsomely strong cider" every time the cider was sited , "cuz" every time Jamie spoke to a cousin, "nuncle" by characters who had used uncle in prior books and always telling us about little girls underwear. Really no more talk about small clothes -please.

Martin does not remind me of Tolkien, more like David Brin - Startide Rising second trilogy anyone? Or maybe George Lucas and Star Wars - great ideas, masterfully executed - initially and then run into the ground by its own weight.

Yes I will read book 5 - I'll buy it used. And I'll read book 6 and 7 and 8 and 9 and...my Self-esteem will diminish with each book. Most likely either Martin will die before the story ever comes close to an end leaving all of us unfulfilled.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2011
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
The writing is phenomenal, the delivery service is next day but the quality of this edition is unspeakable. The binding is flimsy, the paper is gray and the font is small and ugly. Looks like it was created to slap me in the face as much as to cut production costs.
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