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783 of 803 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and surprising
On my latest foray to buy some new fantasy, the till assistant suggested that I might like to try George R. R. Martin. I had seen his books before, but had never committed to reading them, but on this recommendation, I picked this book up for my summer holiday. Over 800 pages and less than 5 days later it was finished.

Although somewhat slow in starting, the...
Published on 23 Aug 2006 by Steven Baker

238 of 252 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Incredible book, poor edition
As advertised, this is an incredibly good book - believe all the hype and purchase it immediately!

My one gripe is the format of the Kindle edition which is literally covered with typos e.g. 'Tf' for 'It', 'boh' for 'both' and quite frequently 'bum' or 'bumed' for 'burn' or 'burned'.

My suggestion, as this sort of poor quality production detracts...
Published on 30 May 2011 by Sebastian

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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 5 Mar 2011
Few years ago I stopped reading Fantasy books, got bored of elves, dwarfs, trolls etc etc, latelly i felt starting again and judging from all the review, I thought that R R Martin would have been a good starting point and...........absolutelly not disappointed, I dont want to bore people with long reviews that at the end only spoils the storyline of the books, reviews are on my opinion tools to help people to decide if buy or not a product so I can say READ IT!!! This book is a superb masterpiece! Long yes (if you think of the four books plus the fifth soon and not the final probably), with many caracters....yes, sometimes it can be a be slow....yes but never boring complex...yes, but so well written that I did get everything in without feeling lost at any point, the author took by hand and slowly walked me in this dream of a book of his...
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5.0 out of 5 stars wow!, 16 Feb 2011
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Well, I put off reading this for years, because the blurb on the back didn't really appeal to me, but then I heard my favourite author (Robin Hobb) say something about how much she was looking forward to reading the new books in this series that I thought I should maybe give it a go, and even then it was ages.

So I took it with me on the train, and within the first 2 pages I was hooked! This book is so compelling and addictive that it can be hard to put down! I'm a very fast reader, and even I found that I couldn't read it quick enough because i was desperate to know what happened!

The great thing about this book is that it is told from the point-of-view of so many different characters, that you never get bored with the same old storyline. It's very fast paced and jumps between characters and locations. The one thing I found rather difficult at times was the number of characters and the fact that some of them had very similar names, or the characters were named after people in their history, and therefore the names came up at other times in the book, but not actually relating to the character themselves. But after a while I got used to this.

My favourites so far are Jon, who I feel will be VERY important as the story progresses in the other books, he's a strong young man who is starting to flourish; and Bran, who despite how hard he tries to be grown up, I just find adorable, and I really hope he stays like this throughout the rest of the series.

Each character is very distinct and incredibly real. From very early on in this book, I found I could imagine the world perfectly and each of the characters within it.

So I adored this book and recommend it to all fantasy fans. Might be a bit hardgoing if you are just starting out reading fantasy, but worth trying it out anyway!

Can't wait to get started on the next book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The start of a great series, 4 Feb 2011
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This is the first book in what has become one of my favourite fantasy series.

I know that some people complain about the chapter by chapter point of view change but I think it is genius. This was the first time I came accross using a third person point of view like this and at first I found it a bit odd but it suits the story so well and it just proves that a writer can still be original even with something as usual as a POV. And of course it gives the opportunity to see what other characters think of each other and what the character thinks in private - a very good device.

The story while dark and violent is interesting and because the characters are so varied it just kept me hooked. My favourite is Tyrion (like for so many) but they are all good rounded characters and the departure from too good characters to too evil characters is another original take on fantasy that I enjoy.

The world is well built but not overly explained, the magic is not too heavy handed and although I enjoy the magic systems created by other greats such as Jordan and Erickson, I found the subtle use of it here very well done.

And of course we have the HBO series to look forward to as well.

All in all definately recommended even if you don't normally read fantasy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Epic. In every sense of the word., 3 Feb 2011
A. Tickle "Alex C-T" (UK) - See all my reviews
I bought this book after reading the first of the Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks. Weeks had listed GRRM as one of his principal influences and when I spotted this in the shop I bought it.
With due deference to Weeks GRRM is undoubetledley a master of storytelling. This book is truly epic and as everyone else has listed it as comparable to Lord of the Rings I don't hesitate to do the same.

None of the characters are what I'd call good. In fact this is probably one of the first books where I've been confused as who to back. I don't know who I want to succeed. Those who I initially thought Heroes have been clearly shown as other. Even the innocent have been called forth as Kings when I expected them to be loyal.
There was one line on the front of the book which made my decision to buy it. "Characters so vile they could eat the Borgias" which came from The Guardian review. I loved it. Not a couple of chapters in a 7 year old gets thrown from a high window. Its usually movies that make me look around in shock but this book managed it with ease. I had to put it down to come to terms with it.
Needless to say I very soon picked it up again.

The epic scale of creation here is almost to hard to imagine. Whilst some (rather helpful) maps are provided with the book there are whole continents and cultures we experience and some we don't that don't get any coverage. It was sometimes hard to keep this epic scale of proportion in mind but I loved the fact I had too keep flicking back to the maps to keep track of movements.
Whole cities, cultures, continents and dynasties are effortessly created. It is certainly high fanatasy but without the Orcs, Elves and Dwarves so common in similar high fantasy. Admittedley Dragons are a big theme, but we don't see any until the end they've been reduced to background creatures for most of it. GRRM even creates the ghostly and rather disturbing Others.

I have enjoyed many books but not so many that I immedietley picked them back up to read again. I cannot wait till I buy the next in the series. This has got to be one of my favourite current books. And as its so epic I'm almost certain it'll be one of my all time favourties. If you need to get lost in a book then Westeros is certainly big enough and thats not even taking into account Dothraki or the other continents and places mentioned.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent start to one of the best epic series of all time...., 28 Jan 2011
This review was going to be titled "One book to rule them all", and a way it's kind of apt. Many people hold Tolkien in high regard, and rightly so - after all, he effectively started the fantasy genre and without the invention of Hobbits and Orcs I doubt we would all get to enjoy the varied and diverse pages that fill the fantasy shelves in bookstores and our homes.

But here's the thing, I can't read Tolkein any more. Whilst the story is fantastic and original in its day, the writing is dull, there's more lulls in the plot than hills in the whole of Middle Earth, and the battle scenes are drearily written. Tolkien practically defined the fantasy genre for many decades, and many pretenders to the throne have come and gone over the years (with lots of good as well as bad books in there), but nothing has quite gripped me like A Game of Thrones has.

There's over 400 reviews here, and that's testament to the appeal of this book when you compare to most other fantasy works on amazon. And I'm sure there will be a whole lot more once HBO's first season airs in a couple of months time.

So what's to like about A Game of Thrones? Lots, but be warned...this isn't a book for the faint hearted or for the prudish. There's an almost dizzying array of characters which get introduced through the series, and Martin allows one chapter per character, which helpfully begins with their name. The mark of a good book is when you get to a Point of View (POV) switch and you don't groan. Every character here is alive on the page, there's no cardboard cut-outs, no stilted dialogue and in a refreshing way, no good guys and no bad guys.

What you get with Martin is a rich tapestry which isn't black, nor is it white but every colour in between. "Good" characters do bad things, "bad" characters you discover aren't quite as bad as you first thought, and everything is wrapped up in a weaving tale of war, politics, exile, love and mystery. And with this series, Martin really has taken the old writers saying of "murder your darlings" quite literally. I won't go into detail on this point, except to say that just as you're finding your feet, Martin will pull the rug out from underneath you - nothing is quite what you expect, and like the real world, people die and often they die suddenly, and there's shocks a plenty in this gem of a series.

Speaking of death and of violence, this series certainly is "gritty". It feels alive, but with that comes plentiful doses of violence, gore and general misbehaviour. It's certainly NOT a book for children, for as well as lots of bad language, there is gratuitous sex to boot. Some of it is quite explicit, and whilst it didn't bother me, you should be aware of this before reading the first page.

Remember this is the first book in a long work in progress ("will he ever finish it?" is the word on every fan's lips), and having read them all to date, I have to say it's an engrossing story that just gets better and better.

I'm quite critical of books in general, but I can honestly say that - without a doubt - this is a Masterpiece.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What a marvellous story!, 26 Jan 2011
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This book was suggested to me by a friend after I'd raved about enjoying Robin Hobb's fantasy books, and I'm pleased to say that 'Game of Thrones' is just as good if not better. The plot is dark and complex, the characters are multi-layered and not always what they seem, the pace gets faster and faster, and by the end of the book I was on the edge of my seat! I read this book on my Kindle and immediately went to order the next one in the series (and the rest of the series at the same time!) but discovered that they aren't available for purchase on Kindles yet - I am devastated! If you like fantasy books, you will LOVE this one. I can't recommend it highly enough and can't wait to read the next one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars lemon cake, 26 Dec 2010
this is by far one of the most exciting and underated book that i have ever come across. it consists of many elements that will entirely entice you with the story line. extra strongly recommend!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stick or Twist?, 11 Aug 2010
The question with this book seems to be not that it is a very well written classic of the fantasy genre (it is, hence the five stars), but whether it is worth reading, as the story is incomplete and could stay that way for a very long time due to Mr Martin's slowness in producing book five (out of seven, possibly). The answer for me is undoubtedly, yes. If the Song never finishes and we are left with a magnificent fragment or portion of a great tale, I will not be happy but glad I have read this book. Judge it on its own merits- great characters, plots, descriptions and a story that is never afraid to surprise in a genre which can be a bit too comforting at times.
Roll on A Clash of Kings.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing fantasy book, 21 July 2010
I remembered reading 'A game of thrones' when I was only a young teenager so when I saw it on Amazon I decided to buy it and see if it lived up to my childhood memories. Not only did it meet them it exceeded them!

George R R Martins 'A Game of Thrones' is one of the most finely crafted and well written fantasy books since J R R Tolkiens 'Lord of The Rings' it might be blasphemy to compare the two books but in reality there really is nothing else to compare 'A Game of Thrones' with.
GRRM is fantastic at description enabling you to conjure up a vivid image of the books many scenes and making you feel as if you were actually there and the characters themselves are no 2D fantasy stereotypes but feel like real living breathing humans with all their flaws and strengths. Every character has many different 'sides' to them just like a real person there isn't a knight in shining armour in this book nor is there 'an evil lord' there are villans and heroes as in every book but they are no fairy tale characters as in so many other fantasy books.

In a way 'A Game of Thrones' is three books in one, there's the conflict between the Lannisters and the Starks, trouble brewing for both of them in the shape of vengeful descendents of the former overthrown king and the apocalyptic but long forgotten war against 'The Other's'. At times 'A Game of Thrones' feels like real history so complex and well told is the Lannister and Stark storyline and the remaining Targayen or 'Blood of the dragon' scheming from across 'The Great Sea' to regain their fathers kingdom.
It bears much resemblance to any number of real wars of succesion and if this was all 'The Game of Thrones' had in it, it would still be a spellbinding book but GRRM's genius is that he combines with myths from the worlds past and the monstrous 'Others'. They are man's 'real' enemy magical creatures who would happily slaighter every man, woman and child on the face of the seven Kingdoms and only a greatly diminished 'Night Watch' stands between them and the Seven Kingdoms. As the various storylines combine this book goes from being an amazing historical novel into a masterpiece of fantasy fiction.

Quite simply if you like fantasy fiction and you don't have this book either go out and buy it or you'll be missing out on probably the best modern fantasy series since Stephen Donaldsons 'Chronicles of Thomas Covenant' and yes it IS better than either the wheel of time or The Malazan book of the fallen by a long long way. In fact it's not just a great fantasy series it's a modern classic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well recommended, 20 July 2010
simon211175 (UK) - See all my reviews
Like a few other reviewers, I'd seen this around, but never wanted to read. It's got around 300 pages more than my comfort zone, and a lot of people mentioned it was more of a political story than a sword and sorcery all-out action packed adventure. I eventually decided to read it bases on the forum debate somewhere within this site - deciding after several comments to read this one and Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen) by Steven Erikson in order to compare.

Regular readers of my reviews (of which I believe is just me) will know that I couldn't read Erikson's book, so I hoped this one would at least be readable.

I loved it. Each chapter takes the story from the viewpoint of one of the major characters, not all of them fighting for good. The chapters were so well written though, that during the fight scenes I wasn't sure which side I was meant to be rooting for. There are characters I immediately hated, some I immediately liked and others who grew on me as the story unfolded. There were no chapters in this book that felt like they were just there to fill the gaps - the characters were well fleshed out, the scenery enough to keep the story going, the plot and all its sub-plots enjoyable right down to the last page.

I'm not sure who I would recommend this to - fans of Erikson in my opinion might not enjoy this, but I've read comments from people who have enjoyed it. I guess I'd recommend it to anyone, as that would probably catch most people :)
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A Song of Ice and Fire (1) - A Game of Thrones
A Song of Ice and Fire (1) - A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (Paperback - 31 Mar 2011)
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