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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2014
I got this on offer at £7.99 which is obviously FANTASTIC value for the number of books. Even if it was full price I would pay though; these are possibly the best books I've read in a long time, and the first set where I haven't got sick of the sequels in a long time too! If you've seen the TV show I would recommend reading the books, they're much better and cover a lot more information that the TV show tends to omit. Basically very good books all in a handy package!

Just be warned though, there is no way of knowing how far through each book you are. Because it is all one file the total percentage is for all the books together, but it doesn't detract from the reading experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2012
I bought the 7 edition box set. Which is the books in the series so far in a branded box with a map. The books themselves are great, no complaints there. It's worth noting though that its actually really 5 books, two books come in two parts as they are so long. So Mr Martin has quickly whipped out any new books for the set.

However, if you care about the 'packaging'... The box itself simply isn't up to the job of holding so many heavy books, its just too flimsy. My box tore more or less instantly. I'm sure Amazon would have replaced it but I couldn't be bothered sending it back as it seemed a fundamental design flaw. That, and I actually just bought the set to read the books! :)
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2012
Well first of all I had assumed I had the complete story in the box set. It takes a long time to discover you're no nearer a conclusion at the end of book five than you were at the end of book one. People are still lost, hiding, killing each other, growing dragons, running from the terrors North of the wall and so on.

Over five books this gets very repetitive. The author has two (only two!) mechanisms for keeping you interested. The first is each book is split into different chapters where you get a different character's point of view and it pushes their story on a little bit. Then at random intervals, usually at the end of the book, some character you thought was intrinsic to the ongoing plot is surprisingly killed.

This is a kind of Sword and Sorcery version of the Thomas Covenant books, where you're hugely frustrated but keep reading them anyway and heave a huge sigh of relief when you finish one. I've struggled to the end of book five, but won't be buying the next book whenever it appears. It's a bit like the Dune series once Frank Herbert was dead, it started off well but each successive book was less exciting than the previous one, more of a chore to read, until eventually you reached a point of not caring what happens to any of the characters.

In conclusion there's probably a damned good trilogy in the whole idea, shame George R.R. Martin didn't have the discipline to find it.
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43 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on 24 April 2012
I am throughly hooked on the series on Sky.

So I treated myself. I can't put my Kindle down. Everything gets left on hold whilst I hiss & boo at Joffrey, want to slap Sansa silly, urge on Robb, Catelyn and Daenerys.
Of course, now that I have watched Peter Dinklage's skilful acting as Tyrion Lannister, I can only hear his voice when I read about the exploits Tyrion gets up to.

Definitely, definitely, get this book. Biggest issue is, dare you read ahead of the tv series or try to hold back?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I cannot recommend this highly enough. The story got me hooked from the first pages, and you can't put it aside.
Getting all six volumes at once is certainly the best value for money. I bought these set on the Black Friday deals so i bought them for a very good price!
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2011
LOVED this, its not my usual read- more into history and science- but i just couldnt put them down! Some people may be put off by the sci-fi/historical fiction aspects but really its just wonderful human drama. The characterisation is excellent (if a little brutal- theres more than one moment of NOO dont kill him i really like him!)- the storylines vast and engaging, the background exceptionally well drawn with huge amounts of little details. If its got one flaw its that the last two books run concurrently not consecutively and theres not enough to let you know which point in the timelines they intersect. Apart from that a tru tour de force i would heartily recommend to anyone and everyone!
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35 of 42 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.
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on 30 May 2015
These seven volumes are:

Book One: A Game of Thrones
Book Two: A Clash of Kings
Book Three: part one: A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow
Book Three: part two: A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold
Book Four: A Feast for Crows
Book Five: part one: A Dance with Dragons: Dreams and Dust
Book Five: part two: A Dance with Dragons: After the Feast

I bought these after watching the first four seasons of the excellent HBO television adaptation 'Game of Thrones'. I'm grateful to the author for creating the fascinating world of Westeros (and Essos) and found the additional background information herein useful, but these ponderous tomes are very hard going at times. Great literature this is not!

Is Martin paid per word? The constant introduction of new characters becomes overwhelming. It is never clear whether yet another new person will be(come) important and flicking back and forth between the main text and the (by volume 7) more than 50 page lists of the dramatis personae in the appendix becomes very tiresome. Even major characters disappear for hundreds of pages at a time.

In the early volumes, the chronology is at least linear, but this is abandoned from Book Four onwards, which adds to the confusion. Overall there is a sense that the author has so many ideas and so many threads, but struggles to keep track of them all.

George Martin has painted himself into a corner, because HBO will not wait for him to complete the saga. As an executive producer of the HBO series, he will be consulted, but it seems likely that the television adaptation will follow its own path. This is already apparent in season 5 of 'Game of Thrones' where there is considerable divergence from the source material.

Obviously those who read the book(s) first will have had a different experience of ASoIaF / GoT. Perhaps my enjoyment and appreciation of the books was tainted by my exposure to the wonderful Benioff / Weiss adaptation. Hopefully 'Game of Thrones' will continue to enthrall and will ultimately reach a satisfactory conclusion and NOT become another LOST!
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on 1 October 2014
As I recently finished reading this entire series for the second time, I thought it appropriate to give his high holiness the GRRM a well deserved review.

Truth time: I began reading these books after falling in love with the show. Now, I’m so obsessed with the book series that if they were a woman, I would surely be considered a stalker.

(Seriously, I was even hesitant of writing this review as for the possibility of never being able to stop typing.)

I am not even a big fiction guy. I’m a very avid reader and love to read for the purpose of learning something about something or someone. I love Walter Isaacson, Steven Johnson, Tim Wu, Michael Lewis, Deepak Chopra, Henry David Thoreau, Jack Goldsmith and a hundred more great writers, but I have a very limited selection of fiction writers I enjoy. I was a big fan of the Harry Potter series. I also enjoyed Siddhartha and Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment. I read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings when I was younger and enjoyed it very much. These are the books with indisputably incredible imagery that even the unimaginatively minded and book-haters should enjoy. Otherwise, due to the time commitment it takes to dive in to a book, I’ve always felt a pressure to keep it non-fiction so I’m gaining some sort of worldly knowledge. And then I read A Game of Thrones.

“There are no men like me. There’s only me” – The Kingslayer

This is misleading. I am not now a huge fiction guy. I am an A Song of Ice and Fire guy. Atleast for now. I read this heaping trees-worth of books (asoiaf), and tried to start reading something else from my arsenal of solid fav’s immediately after and within a few days I started A Game of Thrones over. Seriously, it was better the second time around. I have now just finished this second read and I forced myself to pick up a different book to read. I am now struggling to get through it without thinking about lamprey pie and blood sausage. I am confident that I will give up on this new endeavor soon.

Cont...

Full review at:

http://benfinan.com/2014/09/29/review-a-song-of-ice-and-fire-series-by-george-r-r-martin-55/
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on 17 May 2014
This isn't literature and I wouldn't say that it's as allegorical as something like Tolkien. Having said that, I think the breadth of characters, and the depth of those characters, makes this much more compelling. This is complemented by the fact that each chapter is written from the perspective of a different character, which brings the cast to life; not only do you see things from a particular character's perspective, but you also see how other characters see them. Over time you understand how the author sees characters "truthfully," and I'm impressed with how effectively this method is implemented.

Descriptions are sketchy for characters and settings - psychologically characters come to life but visual description is too literal. I think Tolkien and Tolstoy are apt comparisons for this (that should be praise enough), but these books fall short... but that's precisely why I like them. The religious element isn't there, and the allegory isn't there. The "song of fire and ice" frames a classic struggle between good and evil but I think that concept is simply a bookend to set the stage for the drama. Tolstoy's meticulous detail isn't there, and the characters aren't presented as richly, but as I described above, the author goes further than detachment and psychological examination to give you pictures from different angles. This is more compelling and more dramatic in my opinion. Likewise, while the plot is interconnected, it's very event driven, which also lends to it being addictive.

Every time you finish a chapter, you get a new perspective and a new part of the plot - things happen to new people. It's not surprising that this has become a television production because it is very entertaining in both forms. The books themselves are nothing short of perfect holiday reading - addicting - but missing the depth, richness, and meaning that you'll get out of proper literature... which honestly makes them much easier to read.
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