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The TRUTH that SOME PEOPLE don't want you to know about this book...
on January 13, 2015
(The following is BASICALLY the same review I recently wrote for "Inside HBO's Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 & 2", but I believe it is worth re-posting for this edition of the book, because much of the information may be useful to persons who are considering purchasing this edition. While I will be referring to "Inside HBO's Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 & 2" in the review, as you will see, that actually turns out to be irrelevant. I will also add a few comments concerning this Collector's Edition specifically at the end...)
TOTALLY OBSESSED OR UNINTERESTED...
First of all, let me start by saying that this is actually more than a two star book, but I am rating it two stars to draw attention to a VERY major flaw in this version of the book, one that every other reviewer, both here on Amazon, and everywhere else, seems to completely overlook, to my complete astonishment.
If you are unaware, there are multiple versions of this book. This book was originally released as “Inside HBO's Game of Thrones”. That book was later replaced by the version being reviewed here, “Inside HBO's Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 & 2”. There is also a “Collector's Edition” version of this book. A companion volume, “Inside HBO's Game of Thrones: Seasons 3 & 4” has also been published.
I became interested in finding out what was the difference between “Inside HBO's Game of Thrones” and “Inside HBO's Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 & 2”. If you had the first book, was it worth purchasing the 'revised' version? Which of the two versions came in the “Collector's Edition”?
I am completely serious when I say that coming to the conclusions I will present in this review took a major amount of research, which often led in circles. For those of you who wish to avoid the messy details (which will follow), I will jump straight to the punchline: THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE between “Inside HBO's Game of Thrones” and “Inside HBO's Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 & 2”! “Inside HBO's Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 & 2” DOES NOT COVER SEASON 2 except for 4 PAGES! “Inside HBO's Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 & 2” has episodes guides for season 1 but NO EPISODE GUIDES FOR SEASON 2! THE BOOK WAS SIMPLY RENAMED (and actually, NOWHERE IN THE BOOK is it CALLED “: Seasons 1 & 2”) to fool people into THINKING it covered season two and apparently IT WORKED!
“Inside HBO's Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 & 2” has episode guides for season 1. “Inside HBO's Game of Thrones: Seasons 3 & 4” has episode guides for seasons 3 and 4. EPISODE GUIDES FOR SEASON 2 DO NOT EXIST IN THESE BOOKS! HOW CAN THIS BE?
Now, for anyone interested in more detail...
I should state that I own the Amazon Collector's Edition version of the book(which I should be shown as a “Verified Purchase”), the “Inside HBO's Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 & 2” version, confirmed by the ISBN, and I also have the Kindle/mobi version of the book. The book that comes in the Collector's Edition is exactly the same as the Season 1 & 2 version, except that it has gilt page edges. The Kindle/mobi version of the book contains the same content as the print versions of the books.
“Inside HBO's Game of Thrones” is 192 pages. It is a FACT (and has been confirmed by a VERY helpful Amazon Support person) that “Inside HBO's Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 & 2” is ALSO 192 pages. This is despite the fact that the HBO Shop lists it as BOTH 192 pages AND 243 pages! I questioned the HBO shop about this some months ago and they confirmed for me that the book is 192 pages, but as of this date, they continue to list both page counts for the book (which is just another reason you buy from Amazon!). The HBO Shop ALSO lists the book as having an “8-page full-color gatefold”... I have NEVER seen a version of the book with this gatefold and don't believe it exists. This is PURELY speculation on my part, but I wonder if the "Season 1 & 2" version of the book was PLANNED to be 243 pages and include an 8-page full-color gatefold, but for whatever reason (successfully I might add) they just decided to rename the original book?
Another way we can confirm that there is no difference between the books is by looking at the Kindle version, but I discovered today that even that opens another odd can of worms. If you click “Look Inside” for “Inside HBO's Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 & 2”, you will be told, “This view is of the Kindle book. A preview of the print book (Hardcover edition) is currently not available.” However, if you go to the page for the Kindle version of the book, which is listed as, “Inside HBO's Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 & 2 [Kindle Edition]” and click “Look Inside”, you will be told, “This view is of the Kindle edition (2014) from Gollancz. The Kindle Edition edition (2012) from Chronicle Books LLC that you originally viewed is the one you'll receive if you click 'Buy With 1-Click' on the left.” The link for the “Kindle edition (2014) from Gollancz” leads to a page for a Kindle edition titled “Inside HBO's Game of Thrones [Kindle Edition]” and pricing information is unavailable. NOW... if you can follow that, you are better than at this than me! But ultimately, the point is, if you look at the Kindle version, you will see that it has NO season 2 episode guides, just 2 chapters (4 pages) that deal with season 2 (“Qarth & The Red Waste” and “Costuming Qarth”)... exactly the same as BOTH versions of the print book.
Towards the end of my research I finally reached the point where I contacted the author, Bryan Cogman, through Facebook and provided him a detailed explanation of my confusion about the difference between the two versions of the book and asked if he could provide any information in order to clear these questions up. He never responded. Of course, I don't suppose this should surprise me... If I had just renamed a book that I had already written to fool people into thinking it had been 'revised' or 'updated', I wouldn't go around bragging about that fact either...
So, am I making too much of this? I personally purchased TWO copies of this book because I was MISLEAD by the TITLE into thinking I was going to receive UPDATED content that DOES NOT EXIST! However, based on the fact that it apparently bothers NOBODY else, it would certainly seem so, but hey, if this review proves useful for ONE other person, then it will have been worthwhile!
IN REGARDS TO THE COLLECTOR'S EDITION ITSELF: It is quite nice, I won't comment on it too much as others have already covered that. What I want to mention is the crazy Amazon pricing policy on this Collector's Edition (and let me be PERFECTLY clear, anytime I say anything that may sound negative towards Amazon, that does not negate the fact that I consider them the UNDISPUTED LEADER of internet sales customer service and I LOVE THEM, but that won't stop me from calling it as I see it...) When I purchased my copy of this Collector's Edition from Amazon, they were actually selling FOR LESS than the plain book itself! And this was not some special sale, that price was available for quite some time and blew the price of all third party sellers out of the water. The next thing you know, Amazon raises their price on this to $90.00, which is too high and is blown out of the water by all the third party sellers. Sometimes, Amazon's pricing policies REALLY make no sense to me! (But HEY, as I write this I noticed it is a GOLD BOX deal for something like $56.00!) I suppose their methods are just beyond my comprehension! ;)