20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
If you're undecided on buying this..., 7 Feb. 2013
I took my time in deciding whether to purchase this or not, mainly because of the few criticisms I read here, and the fact I had not seen this in a store to get an idea of what it was like. What made me finally buy this was due to digging around the internet and thankfully there are some videos of people on Youtube opening up The Lands of Ice and Fire and I did not fault the book. So if you're like me who wants a `try before you buy' I would highly recommend looking these up beforehand.
Already expecting the content I was still impressed overall, despite being a diehard fan of maps and cartography filled with dense material that may not be easy on the eye to everyone. These maps are very appealing and compared to the more complex and jam packed maps I enjoy reading, these seem a little cartoonish. However, this is not a bad thing as the illustrations of the major monuments (in the Westeros map, for example) and the bright colours work really well.
I suspect there will be two types of people wanting this - those who have read the books so far and those who currently are or waiting to. For those already up to date on the books like myself, I found the maps more as a scale of distance and reference point for characters than anything else. For example I never realised the sheer scale of Dany's movements. Additionally it was great to finally scale up how far away certain lands were such as Asshai. When reading the books without this it can be a little daunting trying to keep up with locations (I found the tricky-to-pronounce names in Essos hard to place). If you're still reading through the books then these would be a great addition to have as a reminder of where places are that are out of reach in the little maps in the actual books...
...but not the Westeros map. Personally, the map of Westeros is slightly tedious for me. It had more detail in the books than this map, which is why I would have preferred an alternative to a regurgitation of what's already in the books. I would have liked a `House map' of Westeros, not only showing where the major houses are depicted on the map but also the lesser known, and possibly Houses that have died out. However, I know Westeros is imperative to A Song of Ice and Fire so it obviously has to be in this content, but something a bit more informative would have been better. Finally the journeys map has a sense of redundancy to it once the next book will be released, and to follow the journeys of the POV characters is hard work. Once you decipher whose line you're following it then takes some figuring out which way the arrows are going as some characters loop back into places. This is just mainly inside Westeros though, as the journeys of Dany, Victarion and Barristan Selmy seem to flow nicely.
A quick note about the quality of the maps. Yes they do have slight wear with the creasing and folding but that seems inevitable with a greater quality of paper that these maps are on. The creases have had no impact on this product so far. One major point (which I haven't come across a review that has picked up on it) is that they are fingerprint proof. With a lot of fiddling getting these in and out of the holders and pointing and finger tracing, I'm glad I have something that won't get ruined with unnecessary things like that.
There are some very good meticulous reviews on this already which is why I've not mentioned everything in it but overall this is a very good piece of kit and I would recommend this to any Game of Thrones fan as the distance of the Known World stretches far beyond what we've seen in the little maps within the books. Like a geek I will give it its own place next to the books and I will even open it up to my friends who enjoy the TV series, because, despite the criticisms I mentioned, it is an excellent addition to have. So if you're undecided about buying this, have a look at a few videos floating around the internet so you know what to expect first.