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Showing 1-10 of 6,123 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 9,360 reviews
on August 25, 2003
I spent quite a while staring at the blank screen in front of me to come up with a fitting description of A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin. Should I compare it to the classic Lord of the Rings for its impressively epic scope? Would it be best to focus on the honest, often painful humanity of the many characters - so rare in a fantasy novel - that personalizes each point of view? Perhaps I could impress other customers here with the sheer brilliance of a plot that weaves so many seemingly disparate stories together to form a believable alternate universe in which not only politics, intrigue, war, adventure and romance can coexist plausibly, but magic as well. How could I do such a work justice?
I might as well get this part out of the way first. Obligatory Synopsis: in a fantasy continent that bears a familiarity to Middle Ages England, Winter is coming. Winter in this world means a sort of mini ice age that will last for seven years before receding. In the always-frosty Northern area, the races of nonhuman beings are gathering to advance with the snows; there are hints that there is an ancient, evil power behind their forces. At the same time in the South, political infighting for the Throne has begun. Overseas, the daughter of the dispossessed former King is maneuvering forces of her own for a bid for the throne. All this is told through the various stories of both "good guys" and not-so-good guys.
For starters, AGOT can't be accurately compared to any other book or series in the Fantasy genre (not without insulting it). The nearest thing of its type is the laborious Wheel of Time series by Jordan - see what I mean? And yet this first in the Song of Ice and Fire series is fathoms above that aimless, droning style. Martin has perfected what Jordan had arguably introduced; the multiple characters' points of view telling the vast saga on an intimate, up-close scale. Never did I feel that I was being strung along, but rather lead by increments toward an incredible revelation somewhere up ahead. Martin builds the suspense masterfully in each book.
But by far the most striking thing about the Song of Ice and Fire is the "rules" that the author breaks. Martin is not afraid to tell the tale from the point of view of some very unlikable, even immoral characters. He is bold about revealing facts from a character's past that challenge one's impressions and assumptions about their ethics. He does not lay all his cards on the table up front, but rather unexpectedly reveals details that later change the whole picture and twist the plot admirably. And his most unusual move: this author even allows "favorites" to die occasionally (no names here...)! These risks pay off well to serve the story as a whole, bring a sense of true humanity to the people of this world and drive the reader on to the next series installment.
It's just too bad that I can't magically transplant my sense of admiration for AGOT onto this page. Hopefully, you are intrigued enough to give it a try; it would be a shame to miss what IMHO could be the best series of the decade.
-Andrea, aka Merribelle
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on September 3, 2016
I originally read this many years ago and recently decided to do a reread and it's as awesome as I remember. I've never read a book that the author has invested so much time and thought into the back story. The world comes to life so vividlyvwhen I read this book and it's not because there is a TV show that I can base it on. It's from his rich and descriptive writing.

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
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on July 3, 2016
I'm all caught up on season six of the TV show. I just finished the first book and plan to read the rest of the books. I'm glad that I watched the show first. The reason I say this it that to me, it made me understand the characters, plot, and setting more. It also makes me appreciate the books a lot more because even though I've seen all of the episodes on tv, it felt like a brand new experience in the world of Westeros. I highly recommend this book/tv series to any mature audience.
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on March 22, 2016
FIRST PUBLISHED BACK in 1996, the opening volume of the fantasy epic called A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE is immediately captivating, enthralling, entertaining, and even shocking. This is epic fantasy at its best. Well, for some of the book, anyway. It is also immediately obvious why and how this book (and in fact the whole series) has become one of the most watched, and most loved TV shows ever made. I won’t say that it was written just to be adapted, but the genius of the author has created a fictional world so well populated with amazing characters, who in turn love each other and hate each other with such passion that at times the book simply sizzles. At certain points in the book some characters are seen to be doing unmentionables to each other, and when discovered by innocent parties, take further measures so extreme in order to protect themselves you may well find yourself in such shock that you literally wont be able to put the book down.

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.
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on August 20, 2012

Book 1 was pretty interesting, basically focused on 2 families; the Starks of Winterfell and the Lanisters - with a side on the 2 survivors of the previous King's lineage who would factor in later in the battle for the throne. And Daenerys (surviving child of previous King) is very very boring to read about...her stuff could be condensed to fewer and shorter chapters. (She even bored me in season 1 the HBO series based on this book - which by the way is more like watching porn.)

By book 3 the focus was less and less on these main characters and more on others. Very obviously in there to add more volumes and not to make the story more interesting. The story seemed to be expanding for the sake of expanding. As if getting more complicated makes you a better author.

I might have stopped after book 3, but since there are only 5 books I went on. took me FOREVER to get through book 4 (because it just wasn't holding my interest - so much of it was wasted on stuff I didn't care about and missing the characters that I DID care about).

Now I'm reading book 5 and a good chunk of it should have been in book 4 because book 4 went PAST this, and now it's taking you back to fill in details. Stuff you might have wanted to know THEN, but now that you already know what happens the going back for details is just frustrating... and I'm reading in a pissed off mood now wondering why the hell the author didn't just do it in order of events unfolding or leave it out? It's like someone dropped chapters on the floor and they just picked them up and printed them out of order. (I think more thought goes into planning the lineup of songs on a CD!)

I'm frustrated wondering why he is wasting my time on these other characters and why isn't the story progressing more towards a conclusion - or at least being more interesting in the process?

Book is 5 so clearly not even close to the end of the story which had I known this, I would not have begun! (Especially after forcing myself to read the whole dang series by Robert Jordan - which could've/should've easily been half as many volumes!) In books 4 & 5 the story barely advances at all - who knows how many volumes this is going to end up to be to get to the end. And at $20+ a book it gets expensive to finish a series.

I really wish authors wouldn't do this. They get a story idea that's good for a few books and then make a deal to deliver WAY more volumes which means they have to complicate it with more and more meaningless fluff and sub-stories. More volumes doesn't make it a better story!!

BOTTOM LINE on this book series: DON'T even start this.

You might want to try reading books by Brandon Sanderson or Terry Goodkind instead. (Goodkind did pretty well with his long series, managing to keep the story moving along - though around book 4 he was constantly catching up readers who perhaps didn't read previous volumes, which gets annoying, so there could've been less volumes, but it was nowhere near as annoying as Jordan and Martin). Or, for a more modern day fantasy series, I HIGHLY recommend the DRESDEN FILES series - lots of snappy wit in those and good story in each volume.
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on May 22, 2016
I just ordered the hard copy edition of this book. I have already read it once on Kindle (library loan) and plan on rereading it. I usually read something once and call it good. I have only reread a book series one other time. I know as I reread it, I will pick up on things I missed the first time and also missed during the show. This book is pretty similar to the 1st season of Game of Thrones on HBO. It has more detail as any book would. It is definitely worth the read. I imagine I will read it even another time in the future.

It is definitely not for children to read. It is for mature audiences since there is vivid descriptions of violence and sex.
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on May 6, 2015
I choose this rating because the audiobook is good. What I like about the audiobook is that long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom's protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones. George R.R. Martin sold his first story in 1971 and has been writing professionally since then. He spent ten years in Hollywood as a writer-producer before he returned to prose in the mid-'90s and began work on his epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. He has been in the Seven Kingdoms ever since. Roy Dotrice won a Tony Award for his performance in A Moon for the Misbegotten and an Emmy Award for his work in The Caretaker. His film credits include The Scarlet Letter and Amadeus. Dotrice's recording of Game of Thrones holds the Guinness World Record for most character voices for an audiobook. What I dislike about the audiobook is that I wanted to listen to more of it. I would recommend this audiobook to other people.
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on August 25, 2014
A multi-faceted fantasy can mean different things for different people. But for me, this story inspires because it tells the story of underdogs, a bastard, a princess sold like a common slave by her cruel maniacal brother and a dwarf who must endure redicule and prejudice for his whole life. Despite cruel hand of fate had dealt them disadvantages, they forged ahead by their wit, wisdom, honor, but most of all, goodness in their souls. Unlike other fantasies, Games of Thrones is unique and ompletely believable because the characters emobdied human traits we so easily indentify with. They craved love, ambition, power, sex and would stoop to treachery to get them if necessary. For the brave and the honourable like Eddard Stark and his family, even Tyrion, compassion is foremost. So many interesting characters and rivalries between seven kingdoms and their fascinating histories. All these rivalries and treacheries confined in an elongated fantasy land sandwiched by the mysterious wall in the north and the fiery dragons in the east. A marvelous tale which I am sure the likes of Charles Dickens would marvel at if he got to read it. Like millions of GOT fans, I take my hat off to GRRM. His scope of imagination, eloquence, wit and humor cannot be praised enough. I love your stories. My favorite characters were Dany, John, Arya, Tywin and the wolves. But most of all, I love Tyrion. An important lesson for us all is that despite receiving the short end of the stick from birth, one can still charm others with one's wit, intelligence and good heartedness.
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on March 2, 2016
I've seen the series but still thoroughly enjoyed the book. I was not sure what to expect other than the many comments that it is a complex read and hard to follow all the characters. Despite having seen the series - which sticks closely to the book - there was enough extra in the book to make it well worth the read. I didn't find that at all, each chapter follows a character and it is an effective way of writing, as you wait impatiently for the turn of your favourite character or plot line to reemerge. It is not a difficult read by any stretch, and the book is generally well written although the action sequences are not particularly sophisticated. I have Kindle version and was pleased to see a book properly edited without typos etc. Overall I really enjoyed the book and have moved onto Book 2.
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on September 16, 2015
Game Of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
Genre: Action/Adventure Fictional

This book was absolutely phenomenal. While reading this book I did not know what would happen next. There are so many twists and turns that the author puts into it. It was impossible to lose focus while reading. This book is about many characters set in an age of knights and chivalry. This book takes you on in adventure in their fictional world with new cultures and fantasies. The main idea of the book is to find out and connect the pieces to see who will end up sitting in the royal throne; hense the title. The characters always are growing and changing the way you view and connect with them. The series on tv is incredible but the book makes you feel like you are actually in their world. Personally it is hard for me to stay entertained in a book but unlike any others, game of thrones let my imagination go into the words. The author was able to put so much imagery into the text yet able to keep things in enough order so I was able to follow each step. I highly recommend this book to anyone highschool and up. Do not just watch the shows but also follow them with these books because they will give you so much background information and give you a whole new viewpoint on the land and characters. Once again, this book was absolutely incredible and I cannot wait until I get the pleasure of reading the next!
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