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752 of 771 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

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235 of 249 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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Anti-Fantasy novel, 24 April 2011
By 
S. Hussein "rubaiyat79" (Leicester, Leicestershire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Undoubtedly one of the greatest fantasy books ever written. Martin has succeeded in writing the anti-fantasy novel with this saga and this first book. The sheer scale of the narrative truly is worthy of the word "epic" for while it can at times be confusing, you are totally emerged in the intrigue. Martin critics all that we associate with fantasy: heroism, honor, nobility, destiny. Martins world is savage, cruel, and unforgiving. But this book is truly a rewarding experience.

While many have commentated negatively on the exceedingly long periods between instalments and distastefully forwarded the notion that Martin will be deceased before he finishes the saga I for one do not care. While i would love to see this saga finished and finished soon I understand that Martin is a slow writer, that he may suffer from writers block for long periods and find something else easier to write. For all that I greatly appreciate the hrs of sheer entertainment this book, and the saga has imparted. For that I would recommend picking up this book and beginning a journey through a vast world and characters who shall keep you companyr for the rest of your life.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I finally read it!, 8 April 2011
By 
Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords and honest men. All will play the Game of Thrones.

Summers span decades. Winters can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. It will stretch from the south, where the heat breeds plot, lusts and intrigues; to the vast frozen north where a 700-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond.

The Game of Thrones.

You win, or you die.

I'm not adverse to a massive doorstop of a novel. Peter F Hamilton, Stephen King, Frank Herbert have all written huge books that I have not only read but re-read numerous times. When it comes to A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin things are just slightly different. I have been promising myself that I would read the first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire saga for a long time. So long in fact that it became something of a personal Moby Dick, my literary equivalent of a great white whale. It got to the stage where I was a little intimidated by the whole thing and I never thought I would get around to reading the it.

Circumstance, as ever, have finally prompted action on my part. With a little less than two weeks before the television adaption hits our screens I decided to finally man up and grab this beast of a novel by the horns.

At its heart, this novel is a story about power and how the struggle for it affects all those who crave it, as well as all those surround them. Like the old saying goes - power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

There are literally hundreds of characters but most of the action, certainly in this first book, focuses on the various members of two noble families, the Starks and the Lannisters.

Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell hails from the north of the Seven Kingdoms, and is bound by tradition and honour. As the head of his family, he is obligated to dispense the king's justice, which can sometimes appear cruel, but he has a reputation for being a fair and just man. Stark is a fascinating character. I was reminded of Duke Leto Atreides in Frank Herbert's Dune. Lord Stark, like Duke Leto, will always do the right thing, irrespective of the cost to himself or those around him. He is driven by his principles and will not allow himself to deviate from them.

The Lannisters are the villains of the piece, though in fairness, not everything is as black and white as that. In their family a real standout character is Tyrion Lannister. In many ways he is an outcast from his family. He is a dwarf and his father, Lord Tywin Lannister, is disinterested in him because of this. Tyrion, however, has a quick wit and a brilliant mind. I warmed to him immediately and enjoyed all of his appearances throughout the book.

It would be so easy for me to carry on waxing lyrical about all the other characters that are such a delight to read but I would end up writing something as long as the book itself. Suffice to say that the characterisation is marvellous and I found it one of the novels main strengths. Once I finished the book I realised that I had a genuine interest in what happens next. This is the best compliment I can give. I cared about the story, and was anxious to learn more.

A Game of Thrones is a massive undertaking, just shy of eight hundred pages long, and if you decide to dive in, then rest assured this tome will steal hours of your life. That said, those hours will be entirely memorable and you will thank yourself for taking the plunge.

Having now read the book, I have high hopes for the forthcoming television adaption. The television show certainly has a lot to live up to. Martin has written a novel that is truly epic in scope. This is storytelling at its most masterful. I now relish the prospect of returning to the Seven Kingdoms. Now that I have started I know that I will not be satisfied until I have read all of the novels in the saga.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So so, 4 July 2010
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I have read this book avidly. I could not stop reading it and wanting to know about the ending. The author has an immense imagination and lots of creativity to create a well knitted plot. The detail with which he describes the characters is very intricate.
I found the jumping from one character to the other with each chapter a bit unsettling. It is almost one of the reasons that kept me reading on because I wanted to know what happens to the character. But at the same time it felt like a jolt to the smoothness of the narrative. I also found some parts of the story to be a bit unsettling and almost revolting (could be because I was pregnant) and in fact discouraged me from buying the sequel because I wanted more heroism from the story rather than gruesome nerve from the characters.
I think that for a read this book has amazed me as to the creativity and ideas the author manages to come up with. It has surprised me but at the same time has not left me interested in wanting to continue the story, which was disappointing.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The start of something amazing, 19 Jun 2010
By 
Neil J. Pearson (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Excellent. Fantasy done in a mature and harsh style, with only the slightest hint of magic and monsters. Each chapter is from the point of view of a single character (there are around 9 POVs) allowing the three main threads of the story to unfold. One story follows the Steward of the North being offered to become the King's right hand man. The other follows a young boy training at the Wall - a giant ice-wall protecting the human world from whatever lies beyond it. Finally there is the story of a brother and sister on another continent planning a way to reclain their family's throne. Most of the characters are bastards in some form or other (excluding the bastard Jon snow, ironically) and the few that aren't are usually on the receiving end.
The characterisation is incredibly strong throughout which is impressive as the cast is huge but even the smallest part is fleshed out. The plotting is perfectly placed and the book never feels anywhere near as long as it physically is. And the twists/revelations in this book are some of the most shocking in fantasy. Simply put, I ordered the rest of the series before I'd even finished this one. It's one of those series you can reccomend to friends and they wont be dissappointed (5 out of 5 for me)
It seems a no brainer that this is being adapted for a HBO series. Can't wait. Beat the crowd before the TV show makes this book series huge.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's good, but be forewarned..., 28 Dec 2009
By 
N. SMITH (UK) - See all my reviews
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Before you embark on this epic song of fire and ice, be forewarned that the story is not yet complete. This first volume was published back in 1996, the fifth volume is is due out in 2010, but that is unlikely to satisfactorily resolve all the story lines and I suspect that it will be many years yet before the final volume is published. My suspicion is that Martin started the story without any clear idea how to end it, or got lost on the way. However, make no mistake, this is a fine story, and A Game of Thrones is the best of the four volumes so far published.

Described as an epic fantasy, it is truly huge in scope, but quintessentially is a political soap opera at heart, albeit set in a medieval environment of knights, swords and legend. Elements of magic and fantasy are hinted at and gradually emerge, but the political games are always center stage. The story follows the fortunes of Eddard Stark and his children, a decent and honourable family who are cast into a turbulent maelstrom of deceit, treachery, cruelty and murder after Eddard is asked by the King of their realm to be his ruling minister. But all the players in this shadowy game of thrones are unaware that even darker forces are mobilising in the north, while, to the east, an unforeseen player will soon join the game.

Martin is a ruthless writer and it is best not to become too attached to your favourite characters. More than that, do not judge characters too quickly, for as the tale unwinds some who seem virtuous prove less so, and otherswho seem villainous in the first book are treated more sympathetically later. (Speaking for myself, I found this a bit too much in parts, particularly when we are asked, in later books, to empathise with a character who commits a particularly heinous crime against a seven year old child in this first book).

The vast size of the story is one of it's greatest weaknesses and the later books seem to diversify a little too much. But this first book stays on song throughout and the author cleverly sets the scene so that the reader becomes partisan to all the wheeling and dealing. You will find yourself rooting for those few decent folk in the book, you'll share their triumphs and disasters and you will end up demanding justice be done. Just remember that you'll have to wait for it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding., 25 Aug 2004
I am so pleased I've finally got around to reading this book!
It's a breathtakingly brilliant piece of fantasy fiction, but due to its sheer brutality, frankness and honesty it won't be everyone's cup of tea. This is definitely a book I wouldn't recommend to minors!
Also, this story has a LOT of people you'll need to get to know! It's not the sort of book you can pop into for 100 pages a week - it definitely needs dedication, but once started you'll find it hard to put down anyway!
Don't start this book expecting a David Gemmell type where the baddies always seem to redeem themselves. I don't think Mr.Martin works like that! Just because the people in this book seem to be on the side of good doesn't guarantee they'll be with us at the end! Just because there's baddies in this book, don't expect them to get their come-uppance!
Just buy it. I can almost guarantee you'll be glad you did.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply breathtaking, 14 July 2004
By A Customer
This has got to be one of the best books of this genre. The story grips you from start to finish leaving you begging for more. I'm so pleased that Game of Thrones is just one of several in the series of Song of Ice and Fire and that the author has another on it's way.
The writing flows easily through all the fight scenes and descriptions and the myriad of characters are superb. It's simply fantastic the way each chapter is from a different character's perspective and how each one manages to tie into the next.
George R.R. Martin is definitely one of the best writers of this ilk. I can't wait to read more.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply the best, 24 July 2003
By 
If there are ever textbooks written for fantasy literature, this book (or a part of it) will be included. The writing is brilliant. Each word counts. Phrases that are supposed to be witty actually ARE. Events that promise to surprise you DO. Characters who are supposed to be clever do genuinely clever things. In addition, Martin produces countless unique turns of phrase with the casual ease of a master.
As for plot, this book represents the very best of a budding genre. To call the book high fantasy and compare it to Tolkien is not quite fair. Tolkien based his work on myth. Martin bases his primarily on history, and his work should properly be called a fantihistorical. Although the series has elements of myth, the most astonishing facts are nearly always historical. The Targarian habit of marrying brother to sister to preserve the bloodlines, for instance, was practiced by the Egyptian pharaohs. You will actually learn real things about history if you pay attention in this series. Martin’s meticulous details are dazzling—types of cloth and food, details of trade and political agreements, a proper proportion of elderly, mentally ill, and sickly people in society, and realistic process of infection from wounds. His medicines are also well-researched, many of them used in some society at some time.
Many of these elements are not apparent at the beginning of the story. Perhaps intentionally, Martin throws the reader off the scent in the prologue. Although the book contains magical events, they are rare. So rare, in fact, that when they occur, the reader may find herself skeptical, looking for a logical explanation and wondering if Martin really means us to believe magic is afoot.
Like a skilled swordfighter, Martin is constantly weaving and ducking our guesses. He frequently starts a typical thread of plotting, only to turn the whole thing on its ear and take the story in an unexpected direction. And he does all this as naturally and skillfully as a dancer. If you enjoy fantasy, history, or just really good writing, this book is a must-read.
…and I dare you to read this one and not read the next two! Only one word of caution: this book and the next two are really all one story with no major break. _A Storm of Swords_ ends in a cliff-hanger where you’ll be waiting with the rest of us on pins and needles. If you’re very impatient, you should perhaps wait for the series to be completed before you begin.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Praise for George R.R. Martin, 23 April 2001
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I ordered this book from Amazon for the hell of it really. What a supprise! I have a number of literary heros, David Gemmell and Guy Gavriel Kay being the foremost. I will now have to add George Martin to the list. This book is stunning. Heros are more underststed than with David Gemmell but the characterisation is unparalleled. The plot moves at a fair pace and twists and turns unexpectedly on a regular basis. Just like the chararters, you don't know who to trust, who to like and who to fear.
You are very quickly emersed in a believable world of blood and intrigue and I would recommend this book to any fan of fantasy. I can't wait to read the next two and know I will regret finishing them as I will have lost the joy of reading them for the first time. Andrew Guile.
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5.0 out of 5 stars loved reading it despite having watched the tv series, 22 July 2014
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Watched the series and regardless of knowing what would happen, I really enjoyed reading the book. Lots more detail to indulge the mind.
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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 (Hardcover - 21 July 2011)
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