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A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – August 4, 1997

4.5 out of 5 stars 8,539 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"A Game of Thrones is a contemporary masterpiece of fantasy. The cold is returning to Winterfell, where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime. A time of conflict has arisen in the Stark family, as they are pulled from the safety of their home into a whirlpool of tragedy, betrayal, assassination, plots and counterplots. Each decision and action carries with it the potential for conflict as several prominent families, comprised of lords, ladies, soldiers, sorcerers, assassins and bastards, are pulled together in the most deadly game of all--the game of thrones.

Review

"The major fantasy of the decade . . . compulsively readable."—Denver Post

"We have been invited to a grand feast and pageant: George R.R. Martin has unveiled for us an intensely realized, romantic but realistic world."—Chicago Sun-Times

"A Best Book of 1996: Martin makes a triumphant return to high fantasy . . . [with] superbly developed characters, accomplished prose, and sheer bloodymindedness."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A splendid saga . . . . Inventive and intricately plotted."—BookPage

"Magic . . . George R.R.Martin's first fantasy epic [is set] well above the norms of the genre."—Locus

"Such a splendid tale and such a fantasticorical! I read my eyes out and couldn't stop 'til I finished and it was dawn."—Anne McCaffrey
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Product Details

  • Series: A Song of Ice and Fire (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 831 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (August 4, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553573403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553573404
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.4 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8,539 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,861 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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