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4.6 out of 5 stars
3,754
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 12 January 2017
This book is fantastic; I honestly don’t think there’s any other way to describe it. This is an incredibly complex story, only the first part of it in fact because it’s a 7 book series, with some of the best and most realised characters in fiction as far as I’m concerned.

The story is told from the perspective of multiple characters, and they are all given equal ‘screen’ time, with every chapter showing events as seen through the eyes of someone different. Because of this, you occasionally see the same incident from different angles, and the result is that no-one is painted as entirely black or white, and the more you read the more you learn about the characters, and the more you want to learn.

I like some characters – Tyrion and Ayra being my favourites – more than others, but they’re all really well written, as are the situations they get involved in, which are set in vastly different locations.

Some scenes may disturb readers because of the violence they describe but this is hard fantasy, and the type of world described is one that used to exist, which helps to make this book so good.
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on 2 April 2017
This is an epic story. The breadth of George R.R. Martin’s imagination and attention to detail is incredible. Of course I’ve seen the HBO TV series, which is what inspired me to read the book, but that’s a doubled edged sword. Having seen the series it helped me to understand what was going on, but also it spoils it as I generally remembered what was going to happen, removing some of the mystery and excitement. Having said that, I did spend a lot of the book hoping things would turn out differently.

My biggest frustration is, why didn’t Syrio Forel pick up one of the Lannister swords and defeat Meryn Trant? The book is ambiguous, so maybe he did survive and will be back? There’s time and my fingers are crossed.

Catelyn Stark is an excellent character. However, I really don’t like her. She is proud, stubborn and ultimately causes her husband's death and the downfall of her house. Although, Eddard Stark does a pretty good job of that all on his own. All the characters are well thought out, it’s just a shame that some of them were cast badly in the TV series, changing them significantly.

The TV series follows the book really closely. Of course there is more detail in the book and things happen which are not in the TV series or are left for later, but it’s still remarkable how true to the book the TV series is. However, there are many scenarios in the book which take place in different places in the TV series. I spent quite a bit of time trying to work out why.

I’m taking a break from Westeros to catch up on some sci-fi, but I’m looking forward to coming back and if you haven’t been there yet, I strongly suggest you give it a try.
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on 3 June 2017
First a little history for you. While fantastical tales are as old as storytelling, modern fantasy fiction and fairy tales are different. Folk tales took place in our world, even if their location was far away or long ago. In contrast, fantasy authors since the nineteenth century have shunted their stories off into separate worlds, often helpfully mapped in the first few introductory pages. This shutting away is a major characteristic of modern fantasy writing, illustrated by the fact that Wikipedia lists 202 fictional worlds (I counted them) created by well-known authors. It’s as though real life doesn’t have room for fantasy anymore. Fantasy has been banished, like an eighteenth century convict sent to Australia.

A Game of Thrones appears to follow this familiar pattern. The story is set in its own fictional realm, with maps provided of three fanciful continents, Westeros, Essos and Sothoryos. There are also recognisable medieval elements of fantasy – castles, knights, swords, fair maidens. However, the story opens with a more historical than fantastical feel. There are no wizards with pointy hats. The powerful families of the book take advice from “maesters”, people who are like early scientists, studying the technical aspects of medicine, architecture, history, navigation and so on. Old wives' tales concerning lost magical forest dwellers do not impress them. They have shut the old tales out of their minds. In fact this shutting away of folklore is made literal, by a vast ice barrier, a kind of Hadrian’s Wall, blocking all access to the northern part of Westeros, manned by a group of soldiers known as the Night’s Watch. It is not entirely clear what lies behind this fortification, beyond a sense of slowly developing threat. We hear stories of magical goings on, which the maesters airily dismiss. An ocassional zombie-like creature emerges to do battle with the Night's Watch. It’s as though all the folklore of Westeros has been exiled behind that wall, just as fairy tales in the real world have been exiled to their own separate places. You get the feeling they are not happy to stay there.

Meanwhile in the medieval setting south of the wall, George R.R. Martin tells a well-handled tale of brutal, self-involved, incestuous politics. There are complex meditations on the nature of power and virtue. However, for me the real quality of the book is that underlying sense of old world legends and tall tales shut away, waiting to come back. If you were to write a book that was both modern fantasy and a thoughtful reflection on modern fantasy, then A Game of Thrones would be it.

In some ways I endured this book rather than enjoying it, particularly towards the end where brutality cranks up, and magic finally makes its fiery return. There were stomach-churning sections that I had to skip by. Nevertheless I see why this is a milestone in fantasy fiction.
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on 19 October 2015
I fall into the category of watching the TV show before reading the books, which I'm going to guess gives you a different experience.

I absolutely loved the depth this book goes, a depth no TV series or film could ever manage to portray. I was hooked from the very first page and stayed that way through the whole book, all 800+ pages of it.

I really liked that each chapter was a different character's POV and as with the TV show, I enjoyed some characters much more than others. Tyron is even wittier and likeable in the book than the TV show, I found Sansa a little boring but found a whole new level to Catelyn that I didn't get from the show.

Jon and Robb remain two of my favourite characters and it was fantastic to get more of an insight into Jon and how Robb felt having to go into battle and grow up quickly when things changed in Kings Landing. You get a real idea of just how young these characters are, the Stark children and Daenerys especially and their storylines seems more brutal for it.

I took my time reading this, not wanting to rush through it and miss important parts, I don't think anyone should rush it, it's a story to take your time with. GRRM weaves and incredible tapestry with his words and paints a word so clear, you are sure it's real. Being as I watched the show first, I expected to picture the actors as I read rather than the characters GRRM created, this didn't happen however and I feel that is tenement to GRRM's writing.

I've just downloaded the next book and can't wait to jump in. Absolutely worth more than 5* in my opinion.
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on 24 March 2017
Simply awesome!

The first book of the song of ice and fire saga gripped me within the first few pages and I couldn't put it down. I really like how each chapter is based upon the character's view point. This made me feel connected to the character and empathise what they were going through.

Lots of twists and turns, recommended to anyone who likes fantasy.
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on 22 March 2017
Well, in terms of reviewing the product, This was a kindle purchase so instant delivery and no faults in the coding. Regarding the product itself, if you are reading this you will no doubt know it is a now one of the best loved TV franchises ever so I wont delve too much into the plot but my experience of reading is as follows;

I bought this on the back of loving the TV show and have found that the show follows the book quite closely. I thought there may be a wealth of back story and sub plots that the series hadn't picked up on but if i'm honest, there wasn't a great deal. There is some good character development and if you are in the same situation as me I would say go for it definitely as when taken as a stand alone product, this is an enjoyable read, isn't too heavy and moves along at a good pace. It never gets boring, it is just a shame that having seen the series already, some of the visualization is taken away - Ned Stark is always Sean Bean in my head.

I wish I had read this before I watched the TV show so I could give a more impartial view of the book alone but being a huge fan of the show, I would recommend this highly and will be buying the next one in the series shortly. Very enjoyable.
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on 28 May 2012
I bought this book because it was on offer from Amazon for £1.99. Good move by Amazon as I have now bought the following three books for around £22! It took a while to get into it; the main problem being the huge number of characters and the overall complexity of the story. I started off looking for family trees on the internet and that got me off to a bit of a start, and then I installed a couple of apps for my iPod Touch, which covered all of the characters, the houses, the religions and so on - and I was away! So, if you're going to get into this series you need to put in a bit of work at the beginning to get on track, and of course save your pennies to buy the rest of the series, because you will. You definitely will!

For info, the apps I installed were were "Game of Thrones Wiki" - needs connection to the internet and "Game of Thrones - Companion" - works offline.
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on 8 March 2017
The first TV series followed the book quite closely so to an extent I've had spoilers. However if anything it helped. In normal circumstance I would have had to make notes on who is who so I could follow it, but the TV series made it a lot easier.

The style flows smoothly, adding a fair bit of depth to the story. I am surprised just how much I enjoyed reading it.
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on 18 May 2017
When your completely obsessed with Game of Thrones, have watched all the series 3 times over, bought the book but are too Lady to read it, this is perfect....you can say 'Tyrion doesn't look like that!' and 'That's what happens on TV!'. All 4 books cover Season 1.
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on 19 July 2013
I hesitated to read this because I thought it would be a second Lord of the Rings with whimsical characters who are all slightly 2-dimensional. Or maybe it would be a 'man-book' (my husband and son both loved it), all weapons and action. Instead, I find a book where the characters are very real. The whole story, set in an imaginary world, reads more like a historical novel and the imaginary world, however fantastic, could be an aeroplane's ride away. I found myself totally caught up in it. There's plenty of battles and actions too but it never detracts from the people. I can't recommend it too highly.
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