- Mass Market Paperback: 864 pages
- Publisher: Bantam; Mti Rep edition (March 22, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553593714
- ISBN-13: 978-0553593716
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.4 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9,499 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – March 22, 2011
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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 the Hardcover edition.
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 the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
Of course they weren't wrong.
What George R.R. Martin has done here defies genre, period. It doesn't matter if you're like me and don't care for this sub-genre of fantasy... it doesn't matter if your like my spouse, and don't like fantasy at all. If you enjoy brilliant, incredibly-developed, thought-provoking stories... those with a strongly developed cast of characters who blissfully lack being "good vs. evil" and instead all display their shades of grey, good traits, evil traits, unique traits, all sorts of traits... then this book is for you. Buy it. Open it up. Start reading. You won't regret it.
Long term fans of the genre will make immediate comparisons to other giants (!) of the field, and the first name to spring to mind will, of course, be J R R Tolkien, with his breathtaking LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. On a superficial level, Martin’s books are longer (by a looooong way) and yet despite the extra length and time involved in writing and reading them, he has failed to gift the reader with the quality of prose, and downright beauty, that is the trademark of Gandalf, Frodon, Elrond and company.
Humour has a minor role in the book, but only with certain clans. I am thinking of the Lannisters here, folks, but only the loveable and highly durable Tyrion (the imp) demonstrates qualities of this nature worth mentioning. And of course he uses humour as a defence mechanism in order to cope with the situations and compromises he finds himself in on a daily basis.
For the rest of the cast, life is much, much, much too serious to be caught laughing. And it’s only going to get worse. Winter is coming, you see. One of the plethora of strong features of GOT is character development, and they oftentimes grow and develop right before your eyes. Obviously time passes in this book but i found it immensely satisfying seeing how some of the younger generations of the book’s populace cope with, and grow into, roles they find themselves in. Some under duress, some at the hands of fate and some, Gods forbid, at the result of their own engineering.
There is the subtle hint of dragons making an appearance in the story, but having just reached page 604 out of 780 I do believe that the reader is running out of time and words if they are going to be blessed with the presence of these magnificent creatures in the first book of this epic fable. Of course there is a lot more going on than just the re-emergence of dragons; like i just mentioned, Winter is Coming, and even though that is a saying strongly favoured by the Starks, it may well turn out to be a metaphor that affects the entire world that Mr Martin has so wonderfully crafted.
The pace of the book ebbs and flows. It started off well, with several major emotional shocks hitting the reader full in the face early on. By page 300 I was ready to declare my personal love for Catelyn Stark (I still am) but then things slowed down and i found myself forced to carry on the exploration of this fantastic world i have become lost in. And for every page i forced myself to read, i found myself resenting the time doing so, and not spent playing hide and seek in Middle Earth with Sauron and company. But then the pace of the book picked up again, new characters came to life and a multitude of betrayals took place which made my investment more than worthwhile.
Some of the locations described in the book are truly breath taking. Some of the ideas, too, are good enough to make you yearn to become one with the book and morph yourself right there. This book is incredibly deep. Characters that are presumably killed off are spoken of with such fervour and respect that you may well find yourself hoping against hope that they will be found again. There are many aspect of the book that have moved me, or grabbed my imagination by the throat and not let go. I have attempted to keep this review spoiler free and purposely vague at times. I can fully imagine myself reading GAME OF THRONES multiple times. Not for the beauty of the prose, because that is not its strong point. But certainly in order to relieve the drama, and the excitement, the cliffhangers and the shocks, you could certainly call me a fan.
Four stars for a dead set modern day classic. It is not perfect by any means, and i can only assume the story will get stronger as i make progress through the books. Watch this space and I will let you know.
Summer is over. Winter is coming. Books rule.