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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 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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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.
I never read a book or a series like this before. I like fantasy but I go more towards the urban fantasy side of things. I do like to read about past monarchs and so that's what had originally drew me to this book. I had heard it was going to be a show on HBO and people were excited so I bought the book to try it out. My first read through I read it in two days. Stayed up all night reading. Needless to say I missed some things so that's why while I'm waiting the neverending wait til book 6 comes out all the while avoiding spoilers from the TV show, I devided to reread and see if it was as good as I believed. It's better!
There are so many fawning reviews that I'm sure my review will be lost in the middle but if someone does ever read this wondering is it worth it. It is. It truly is. This first book especially is awesome. It's seems overwhelming with its cast of characters but it's not.
This book sets the tone and introduces you to the main characters of the book or are they? Noone safe in these books. Noone.
I will say that this book, this series, totally deserves five stars. I think of some books that I've given 5 or 4 stars to in the past and then care it to this book and they aren't even I'm the same league at all.
The series has some harsh critics and as the series goes on some of their observations are correct. But as far as the first book, it's as near a perfect book that I've read.
It is violent. Very violent. Be prepared for that and a lot of rape and pillaging. If you can't stomach that then this isn't the book for you
Several years ago, I gave up on two books (Dune and Game of Thrones) and missed out on great series due to thinking they were just too complex and wordy. Now after reading this book (in addition to re-reading and completing Dune), I can say that I definitely appreciate it that much more a 2nd time around. While reading a Game of Thrones, the biggest thing is to not get frustrated/bogged down with all the characters, descriptions and side-stories. You do need to know who's who and where palces are, but don't let that ruin the enjoyment of the book for you. What helped me out a lot was finally watching the immensely popular HBO series with the same name and then I started to pick the book back up and was amazed how much the TV series helped my imagination/understanding out. It might not work for everyone. At the end of the day, you might still decide Game of Thrones just isn't your cup of tea... but at least give the TV series a shot and then go back and tackle this book! Just some advice from one formerly confused reader to another! :)
Overall Martin does a really good job developing characters you either love or hate as well as developing the overall plot and plots within plots element of Game of Thrones. ***very small spoiler***Perhaps the most interesting bit of all is that this was really the first book that isn't shy about killing off it's main characters. I guess I've been sheltered throughout my reading career in that the author has never had the guts to do such a thing consistently, but Martin does it in abundance and pulls no punches in this book. At first it was shocking, but then I realized it really made the book that much better. Admittedly, Game of Thrones is a little wordy at times and probably 300 or so pages bigger than your average novel in a series, but it's well-worth the read if you have patience and get through the 1st book. The ending is well-done in that it's not quite a cliffhanger, but it makes you think "wow, I really want to know how all these ends are going to tie together in the next book!"
Most Recent Customer Reviews
And now the TV show has over-taken the books you don't have to worry about spoilers anymore
I had heard Rob Inglis narrate The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and thought this might be similar. Boy, was I wrong.Read more