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A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) Paperback – March 22, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 8,651 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Readers of epic fantasy series are: (1) patient--they are left in suspense between each volume, (2) persistent--they reread or at least review the previous book(s) when a new installment comes out, (3) strong--these 700-page doorstoppers are heavy, and (4) mentally agile--they follow a host of characters through a myriad of subplots. In A Game of Thrones, the first book of a projected six, George R.R. Martin rewards readers with a vividly real world, well-drawn characters, complex but coherent plotting, and beautifully constructed prose, which Locus called "well above the norms of the genre."

Martin's Seven Kingdoms resemble England during the Wars of the Roses, with the Stark and Lannister families standing in for the Yorks and Lancasters. The story of these two families and their struggle to control the Iron Throne dominates the foreground; in the background is a huge, ancient wall marking the northern border, beyond which barbarians, ice vampires, and direwolves menace the south as years-long winter advances. Abroad, a dragon princess lives among horse nomads and dreams of fiery reconquest.

There is much bloodshed, cruelty, and death, but A Game of Thrones is nevertheless compelling; it garnered a Nebula nomination and won the 1996 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel. So, on to A Clash of Kings! --Nona Vero --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In a world where the approaching winter will last four decades, kings and queens, knights and renegades struggle for control of a throne. Some fight with sword and mace, others with magic and poison. Beyond the Wall to the north, meanwhile, the Others are preparing their army of the dead to march south as the warmth of summer drains from the land. After more than a decade devoted primarily to TV and screen work, Martin (The Armageddon Rag, 1983) makes a triumphant return to high fantasy with this extraordinarily rich new novel, the first of a trilogy. Although conventional in form, the book stands out from similar work by Eddings, Brooks and others by virtue of its superbly developed characters, accomplished prose and sheer bloody-mindedness. Although the romance of chivalry is central to the culture of the Seven Kingdoms, and tournaments, derring-do and handsome knights abound, these trappings merely give cover to dangerous men and women who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. When Lord Stark of Winterfell, an honest man, comes south to act as the King's chief councilor, no amount of heroism or good intentions can keep the realm under control. It is fascinating to watch Martin's characters mature and grow, particularly Stark's children, who stand at the center of the book. Martin's trophy case is already stuffed with major prizes, including Hugos, Nebulas, Locus Awards and a Bram Stoker. He's probably going to have to add another shelf, at least. Major ad/promo.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Song of Fire and Ice (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (March 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553386794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553386790
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8,651 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
First off, I'm a heavy duty fan of GRRM. I've read over a 100 different fantasy authors in my time (started at 12; I'm now 32). Took about 5 years off from the genre b/c I felt it was all getting too formulaic and cliched.
So, when I came back to fantasy at the end of 1999, I read the usual: Goodkind, Jordan, etc. and then someone told me about GRRM and man, that was the kicker!
Here are the reasons to choose GRRM. I've also listed the reasons not to choose him to make it fair b/c I know their are certain personalities who won't like this series:
WHY TO READ GRRM
(1) YOU ARE TIRED OF FORMULAIC FANTASY: good lad beats the dark lord against impossible odds; boy is the epitome of good; he and all his friends never die even though they go through great dangers . . . the good and noble king; the beautiful princess who falls in love with the commoner boy even though their stations are drastically different . . . you get the idea. After reading this over and over, it gets old.
(2) YOU ARE TIRED OF ALL THE HEROES STAYING ALIVE EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE UNDER CONSTANT DANGER: this gets even worse where the author kills a main hero off but that person comes back later in the story. Or, a hero does die but magic brings him back.
This sometimes carries to minor characters where even they may not die, but most fantasy authors like to kill them off to show that some risked the adventure and perished.
(3) YOU ARE A MEDIEVAL HISTORY BUFF: this story was influenced by the WARS OF THE ROSES and THE HUNDRED YEARS WAR.
(4) YOU LOVE SERIOUS INTRIGUE WITHOUT STUPID OPPONENTS: lots of layering; lots of intrigue; lots of clever players in the game of thrones.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
NB: THIS REVIEW REFERS TO THE KINDLE EDITION ALONE! This is a great book, and I've eaten up the series and have been on tenterhooks for George RR to get his finger out and publish A Dance with Dragons for YEARS now. (And the tv series!! Be still my beating heart!!!) But I have to comment on the extremely bad editing of the Kindle edition of A Game of Thrones. It is sloppy and unprofessional. When I first got my kindle, I never experienced this, but now it seems like every book gets worse and worse. I thought Sacajawea was bad, but A Game of Thrones starts out with poor editing and gets progressively more appalling as you get further into the book. People who only read the kindle edition will think that Princess Elia comes from Dome, since that is how it is (almost) consistently spelled throughout the book. (It's Dorne). But on the other hand, the `tom cat' is a `torn cat'- go figure. Little things like that at first, but now, in the last third of the book, the mistakes are coming on nearly every page. Random parentheses, inappropriately capitalized words, italics that make no sense, sentences that end abruptly - that kind of thing. It would be irritating, but something I would just accept in a free edition of a book (maybe). But for a Kindle book that costs more than the paperback, I expect more. I also own a hard copy of this book, and none of these typos are in that edition. I'm not sure how the Kindle editions are made, but I expect the same kind of professional editing that you get in print books. You don't get that here, disappointingly.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I see where a reviewer below faulted A GAME OF THRONES for being so chock-full of "tragedy, bloodshed, cruelty, death, rape, incest, drunkeness, murder, (and) infanticide."
Heh. Where I come from, that's a five-star recommendation.
Glibness aside, the person has a point. A GAME OF THRONES is indeed a graphic, viciously unsentimental novel. It features all the offenses listed above and more besides. It revels in them.
Can't you people see? That's the *point.*
The writers of heroic fantasy like to write about huge and epic struggles between capital-letter Good and Evil. Yet over and over again they demonstrate only the most puerile understanding of what good and evil actually are. In their blinkered, constrained little worlds, "evil" consists of sitting in a dank tower all day sending orcs or demons or what-have-you after the Crampon of Justice or some similarly-named hogwash artifact. Not even the darkest of their generic Dark Lords would be caught boffing his own sister or murdering a child (much less get away with it), and in that fundamentally nonsensical bit of characterization lies the crux of their problem: by sticking horns and a lightning staff onto a one-dimensional pulp villain and calling it Ultimate Evil, they cheapen and debase *real* good and evil.
I'm sure most of these writers realize this perfectly well; the problem is that they're writing to one of the most idiotically attenuated audiences on the face of the planet, people who really want to read the same book over and over ad infinitum with just enough variation from the template to create the illusion of difference.
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