Customer Review

35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy at it's finest. Epic landscapes and fantastic characters - this is a stunning body of work., 27 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: A Song of Ice and Fire, 7 Volumes (Paperback)
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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L. Hubbard
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Location: Cardiff

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