340 of 353 people found the following review helpful
on 21 April 2012
Like most I know, I discovered this series when the HBO television adaption aired on Sky in 2011 and was instantly gripped. Since then I have read all of the books back-to-back and wow... they are AMAZING!
I am NOT a typical fantasy fan... in fact the idea of goblins and wizards going off on some good vs evil quest of grand proportions does NOTHING for me. But this is no typical fantasy novel. The story spans several view-points from across the fictional lands of Westeros and beyond. It is a story where no characters are safe from harm (or death) at any time. Each of the character-arcs are expertly woven and plot developments continually keep you in the dark whilst simultaneously steadily moving toward what can be some really devastating conclusions.
What I love about these books is that every character serves their own purpose, has their own private agendas and are all capable of good and bad to one extent or another... they do what they must to survive, and through their actions I found myself able to relate to and bond with these fictional people, who I have loved, loathed, pitied and despised. These novels are extremely character-centric which means the reader really does become emotionally involved with its characters, and believe me I did!
As with a lot of other fantasy series' ASOIAF is set during a medival time-frame, a time defined by murder, chivalry, classes and war... a lot of war. However unlike other fantasy series' magic and mythical monsters do not play a major role, but instead is allowed to steadily build and spread from the beginning, with beings such as the mystical Others, skin changers, wights, dragons and more. This gives the series more of a realistic grounding, and is perfectly researched by Martin.
The bottom line is that I found this series truly addictive. It was difficult to put down at times and I really cannot recommend it enough. Give it a go... you will not regret it!
246 of 262 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2012
For all Game of Thrones or Song of Ice and Fire fans this is the set to get. First of all great service from Amazon, it came a day earlier then expected, which was fantastic. The story, itself, is brilliant; there are a tone of great characters that develop superbly in a gigantic, fantasy medieval world called Westeros, ( a very authentic map of Westeros is actually included in this set if you buy it in papaerback and it's easily nice enough to be framed if you're a massive fan) the story lines are very exciting and there is always a good fear for the characters as Martin doesn't mind killing them.
However if you are new to the series I'd recommend you pick up the first in the series, A Game of Thrones, or watch some of the TV show before buying this to see if the series is definitely to your taste. A lot of people complained that there is too much sex, swearing, detail and that their favorite characters were killed off. If you don't like any of that in the your fiction then I wouldn't suggest the series to you. If, however, you love that sort of stuff in your fiction, like me, then I urge you to go read A Game of Thrones right now or try and catch the TV show.
The books themselves are a lot better quality then the previous paperbacks. Before I bought this set I already owned all of the books but they were very used, small fat things with tiny print and the hardback of the fifth title was very, very heavy and after a while a nuisance to hold, if you have kindle those issues are not a problem but a lot of people have been annoyed with the kindle edition so I wouldn't recommend that unless the kindle edition is significantly cheaper. These paperbacks are taller, slimmer and the print is easier on the eye then older editions.
Also the fact that the newest book in the saga, A Dance with Dragons, is split into two parts; Dreams and Dust and After the Feast is an advantage for the majority of Ice and Fire fans that didn't like A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons as much as the first three. The latest two books in the series were not as well liked because Martin put half the characters in the fourth book and the other half in the fifth book and they both carried on directly after the third book in the series. The advantage about the fifth book being split is that you can read book 4 and 5 part 1 together so you won't go to long without half the characters and come Part 2 After the Feast all the characters are back together in the same book again.
Lastly some readers were irritated at the the box, mines okay, but it's just okay, nothing special. Many faults were that some boxes had split and a few customers experienced difficulty putting the books back into the box, honestly I wouldn't worry about it too much because Martin plans to release at least two more books in this series so the box isn't vital. On the whole, though, this set is outstanding, I would definitely recommend this box set to you if you're a fan of the books and/or the TV show unless you can get them cheaper separately and aren't worried about the map. Thank you for reading my review, hope it was helpful.
62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on 18 June 2014
Amazon - WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!!!
The individual purchases of ASOIAF have X-Ray enabled - Of all the books ion Kindle this is a series of books that ABSOLUTELY needs X-Ray to keep track of all the very many characters and locations in these books.
But because you purchase 5 books in one order - nope no Xray an incredible disappointment.
Also the Books all come out as One book with a few thousand pages and NOT as 5 distinct books, or even in Kindle terms 10 Kindle books.
Bizarre and bemusing that they dropped the ball here, this of all books would really benefit from an e-book functionality and Amazon blew it.
Great book, sucky implementation - just plain lazy Amazon - you get a D- here - must do better.
******* BETTER SOLUTION found
Buy all seven Kindle books, yes seven - Book 3 and Book 5 are sold as two Kindle Books each, go figure - ALL 7 can be purchased for £13.58 over HALF price and you get all the books as individual books AND you get XRAY - So for half price you get a much better ebook - go figure Amazon.
189 of 211 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2012
These novels are amazing, I cannot recommend them enough. Well thought out and detailed characters, with compelling story arcs, the pace is not rushed nor overly long. If you like the TV series, these books are much more vivid and detailed.
The only drawbacks are with the kindle version which is expensive and of poor quality.
As well as being expensive (under the agency model used by Amazon to allow publishers to set prices, which is currently under investigation as to being anti competitve) the Kindle version is poorly structured (all books are in a single file and the left/right navigation jumps to the start of each book rather than each chapter) and there are typographical errors.
Often you are left wondering what a word like "ndes" means when in context it should have clearly been "rides". I had hoped this was an isolated instance but have counted at least three in the first third of the second book. (I purchased the five book kindle version after reading the first in paperback)
If we are paying a premium price for a product that costs virtually nothing to distribute, they could at least ensure that the quality was the same as their printed material.
Love the books (so far), love my Kindle, disappointed with this Kindle version.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 August 2012
I absolutely adore this series and so far every single book has had me hooked until the end.
The books are exciting and witty, and Mr Martin's tendency to kill off main characters means that you never know who is safe. Each character has his or her own definitive personality which makes it easy to switch between narratives and follow the intricate web of plot lines.
Concerning the plot lines, George R.R. Martin manages to keep track of all of his many characters so well, and the huge spread of narratives all across the Seven Kingdoms and beyond gives the reader an almost eagle-eye view of the events of the novel.
Excellently written and easily read: a must-read series for any fantasy fans.
The actual product - the box set - is also an excellent present, and the Amazon price makes it cheaper than buying each book individually.
As well as that, the books come with a nicely illustrated map of the Seven Kingdoms and Westeros, which was a lovely surprise.
35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 2012
I should start by saying that I purchased these books after seeing the superb show Game of Thrones (named from book one) on TV. This is not normally something I would recommend, because personally think it's better to read the source material first. That said, I was exceptionally glad I took the plunge to buy the books, because it is one of the most thematically rich, rewarding, exhilarating and impossible to put down series in the "fantasy" genre.
I should say that for those of you who are coming to A Song of Ice and Fire having seen the TV show, it makes the show look even more impressive, and yet there is a lot of additional material present in the book that makes it hugely rewarding. The writing style is wonderful. Descriptive but fluid, it has a rawness to it that makes you love and loath characters in equal measure. The style of writing has an adult feel to it, both in the graphic nature of violence and the sexual relationships of the characters. The scale of the book is huge, with most locations set within the vast continent of Westeros, which feels as big if not bigger than Tolkien's Middle Earth.
Criticisms, there aren't many. I found at the outset there are a lot of names and this can make it seem a little bewildering at first. It doesn't take long for that to pass though. The main "criticism", comes in the form of the more sexual side to the books. Within the first 100 pages of the first book Game of Thrones you encounter incest, and the marriage/sexual act of one of the main characters, Daenerys Targaryen, who is 13, with her husband. In the TV show, they have made the characters older to overcome the obvious issues, however this may make some readers uncomfortable. I should note that rarely is this stuff described very graphically or for prolonged periods of prose, and thus only makes up a tiny proportion of the overall story. That said, I, like any sane person am not condoning this, I am just trying to present it as portrayed within the books. A final note, although not strictly a criticism, Martin has not finished the whole body of work yet, so by the end of the seven volumes you will need to wait longer for the conclusion to the story.
Overall, I cannot recommend this highly enough. The quality of the writing is superb, the story is as complex as it is engrossing and George Martin cannot be praised enough for this stunning (but unfinished) body of work. As discussed, there are recurring aspects that some readers may find distasteful. Getting all seven volumes at once is certainly the best value for money, and when you get to the end of one book, you will be glad the next one is there waiting for you. For fans of the TV show, reading the source material from which it is derived will give you added appreciation for what they achieved for the show (albeit some details are different), and an appreciation for the vast and complex web of characters and stunning locations George Martin has constructed.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2014
I bought the books after seeing and enjoying the TV series (1 - 3) and I think that's probably the best way to do it, because if you like the TV series you'll love the books. They flesh out the story and particularly the background history, while having seen the series I find I see the actors and hear their voices as I read.
If you like Stephen Donaldson, Tolkien, Anne McCaffrey and Frank Herbert, I think you can be fairly guaranteed to enjoy George R.R.Martin.. though he is not nearly as masterful in his words and style as Tolkien, he makes up for it in fantastic storylines and vivid characters, and is much, much, more adult in both plot and personalities. It's actually 7 books in all, and I only got them recently so I'm only on to book 3 just now. Maybe I'll update this when I've read them all...
Even just this far in I'm delighted with them, and feel they're well worth it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2012
I watched the TV seasons one and two and got too impatient for season three so i decided to buy and read all the books and i have to say that i prefer the books over the TV series.
The details in the book are great when i read the story i can easily visualize everything.
Im currently reading A Feast For Crow and ive started slowing down the amount of reading i do because i dont want to be done with the books yet.
Also the map that comes along with the books is a nifty little extra and most of all the price is excellent, i live in the Netherlands and i would imagine that if i bought it like this in a store id have to pay 100 to 150 euros for it all.
A must buy for all the Game Of Thrones / A Song of fire and Ice fans.
54 of 64 people found the following review helpful
1. The Series, Itself - FANTASTIC
Martin writes a gritty fantasy epic, that truly IS epic. Raw, dark, honest, but full of liars, this series will shatter any notion you have that fantasy is for kids, or that adults cannot have their pleasures. Martin does not shy away from butchering his characters, yes even the main ones, and this lends a sense of urgency and real alarm to the series. Find yourself liking one of his characters? Watch it, that character could be next. Meanwhile, the dishonorable and "evil" in the series really seem to get away with their acts. While the series is not without the comeuppance of evil, get used to darkness thriving, as Martin does not pull his punches. There's a reason HBO has been successful, and a large portion of that reason is the source material.
2. The Kindle Edition - JUST FINE!
I've seen complaints about the Kindle edition being horrible, from the formatting to the fact that it's 4 books squished into one. I have seen nothing that convinces me that the Kindle edition is anything less than perfect. Yes, there are 4 books. On the Android versions of the Kindle app, there is nothing to distinguish the books on the progress meter. I am 31% of the way through the series, and I don't know when this book ends and the next begins. On the Kindle, itself, however, there are marks where each book ends and the next begins, so you can more easily see where you are in the 4-book series. However, there is a total Table of Contents (ToC) just after the cover of the Kindle book, so you can quickly jump to the beginning of any of the books.
The formatting, also, receives no complaints from me. I don't see how there could really be a problem...there are words, which are strung together to form sentences, which are likewise strung together to make paragraphs....what's the problem? New chapters start on a new "page".
And with the kindle edition, you can bookmark and highlight the book to your heart's content. Honestly, it really is the best of all worlds.
That being said, the paperback series is currently being sold for less than the Kindle version of the same product. This is seriously annoying, as the Kindle edition does not have the overhead of paper, the printing process, etc...This is more a complaint about the pricing of kindle books by publishers than a complaint about this particular book, however.
Verdict: Awesome series, in an awesome format. I love not having to carry around multiple books when I'm getting close to finishing one. I also love being able to read on multiple devices, and having the latest page read sync to each device. All standard features of a Kindle book!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 January 2015
This review will not be about the content of the books but more the case of the quality of the collection box and books themselves:
the reason I have given this product 3 stars is due to the fact that the box that the books come in arrived scratched scuffed at the corners of the box and some of the books spines were bent and already had vertical stress lines as if the books had allready been used. I put this down to delivery, so I ordered a replacement and the same problems arise again so let this be a warning to anyone wanting to buy these books as a collectors item that the box is poor(ish) quality and as are the books spines. other than that the design is very appealing so I didn't want to be too harsh with the review.