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Big fan of GoT. Read the books many times. The voices are sometimes a little strange (trying to come up with voices for so many characters would be difficult). My big problem is a technical issue and I will be returning the volume. After Chapter 12 the storylines are all chopped up, for example Bran's run in with the wildings is presented with the ending first, then the middle, then the beginning, and then a random chunk. Tyrions trial is presented much the same way. LIke when you channel hop on tv you get incongrous mixtures of conversations. If not for the technical problems I think it is enjoyable.
Martin has created a beautiful world in A Game of Thrones. There are hidden valleys, open plains and castles built into mountains. All of the scenery is wonderfully described.
A Game of Thrones is categorized as a fantasy and it does have an underlying mysticism but there are no wizards or brilliant displays of magic. Just a feeling that there may be more out there than what we are seeing. This creates another dimention of suspense. Which only enhances this novels rich texture of story, character and plot.
The story is set in a realm know as 'The Seven Kingdoms' and follows each of the characters and their individual story lines, many of whom intersect. Each character is a clearly defined individual. Martin has done a brilliant job of keeping every plot element consistent with the established norm for each character. Nothing happens, good or bad without reasonable justification. If you are looking for an action packed, magical thrill ride this is not the book for you.
This is a brutal world but an honest one. Every character is doing what they feel they must to preserve their lives and the lives of their families. If you do not enjoy violence or sex I caution you about reading this novel. Everything is done with tact and I don't feel any of it is gratuitious. That said, each reader has their own tollerance for such things and there is plenty of both.
If you are in the mood for an intense, well written story with good character development and plenty of action and intregue then you should enjoy Game of Thrones. I was drawn into this world from the prologue and it was hard to put down. This novel is a journey and if you have the patience to follow along you will be rewarded with a rich and compelling reading experience.
I have just finished this book for a second time because I know the new HBO show is being created of ASOIAF. This book is so great! I connect with every character, even the ones you hate from the noble, honest Eddard Stark and his wonderful yet all differant children, all the way to the dishonest, selfish Queen and her evil son. The Imp Tyrion is the character I love to read the most. He is so witty and clever. I actually read somewhere that George RR Martin wrote Tyrion in his own likeness. Every chapter is written from a differant characters point of view and each chapter has a defferant tone, so you can see how great the writer is by being able to do this so well. The book is Fantasy but it isn't over the top with a world you can't relate to. There is just a touch or a hint of magic to keep the book grounded. A Wonderful story that I recommend to everyone.
My introduction to this wonderful series came from my grandson & after making it through to the end, I've just finished book 3. This format is very easy to read & of course, the book is difficult to put down...you get involved in the lives of the characters.
A very rich and complex imagining of an entire world. I like it that so much is suggested or alluded to that is not fully explored, leaving much to be anticipated from later books. So many characters to like and to empathize with, and so many competing perspectives. The Daenerys chapters are among my favorites. And that finale...Wow!
This book grips you from the very start. I have watched the TV show and wanted to read the books to compare. I do believe the TV series does a great job depicting the books. Even after watching the series I still had a great time reading the book. Looking forward to the next one. Amazon again had the best price and was able to deliver the next day. Wow! what a great service.
3.0 out of 5 starsIt was a love hate relationship to be honest.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 20, 2018
Don't get me wrong. I love the series, I really do and there is no doubt that George R.R. Martin is a great mind and writer, but my feelings on this book are mixed. I wanted to love it, I really really did, (i didn't hate it, just found it...dragging) but I'm going to break down what I thought in parts. For me there wasn't much character development at all. I get there's A LOT of characters, but if I hadn't seen the series, then I would feel literally nothing for these people. Same goes for description of characters. There was too many names and important people to keep track off. I didn't feel any emotion from the characters. Especially when Drogo and Ned died. It was just like... Okay it's over now. Next chapter bye. There were times where I couldn't wait to read it, and times where I wasn't 100 percent sure I was going to finish it. I made a promise to myself that if I was to write a book review id be honest. But I'm not denouncing this series. I'm actually going on to read the second book in the hopes that I do find I love it and hope that fans of the show (and people looking for an interesting read set in an incredible world) pick this up and give it a go. But it took me 3 attempts to finish this one. I I gave it a three as for me, while I love the story and the world he had created, I couldn't get rid of the feeling that without the tv show, I wouldn't be able to put a face to a name or feel how the characters felt, which is something I've never had trouble with before.
Like a good chunk of people, I started reading the ASoIaF series because of the TV show based on the books. When I started watching it, s3 was just released on DVD and yeah, I fell in love with it so much I needed to buy the books. They sat on my bookshelf for so damn long (the sheer length scaring me into not picking them up) before I decided to start the series.
I started this, then put it down and just didn't pick it back up. It remained like that for, what?, six-seven months before I picked it up again… and finished it in a week.
I loved this book so much. I think the reason it took me so long the first time 'round was because it was so freaking like the TV series (Gods, do I miss those days) but I pushed on and so glad I did, because there's just little things in the book that they didn't include in the show.
The characters in this series are just so… amazing. I love how well they are fleshed out, how pure their emotions come through the page until you're feeling it with them. I love that whilst reading a Stark chapter, you hate the Lannisters and everyone that sides with them, but then you read a Lannister chapter and you're like… wow, those Starks aren't exactly the best, are they?
You route for whoever you are reading. Sure, you attach yourselves to certain ones because it's still a piece of fiction and that's what you do with fiction - you mark your favourites. But there's no-one in here that's truly hate worthy… except Joffrey. He's just a little s***.
The magical elements are unlike most fantasy books I've read in the sense they're hidden deep down and haven't started stirring yet. I've already read the 2nd book and know that as the series goes on, the more magic comes out. And it's amazing that way.
There's not just one plot going on, there's a million different little ones, that somehow all steer towards the End Goal which I have no idea what it'll be because GRRM hasn't finished. But still! You can see plainly that whilst these little plots seem interesting in their own right, you reach a point in the book where you realise that because of that little plot, the entire story is blown open.
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat start to the story, and fascinating characters. Highly addictive from about halfway onwards
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 30, 2016
Wow! What a book. This was a bit of a gamble for me, as I don't tend to read fantasy-based books. Generally speaking, I like a good crime novel or thriller, but with all the hype surrounding the Game of Thrones TV show, I wanted to dip into the first book in the series and see if it was worth reading. It really took some time for me to adjust to the idea that the plot wouldn't be wrapped up within 300 pages like many novels. In fact, after 300 pages of this book, the plot was only just beginning to take shape. Another 500 pages later and I was ready for Book 2!
Although this is indeed a gripping story, it took a long time for me to gain momentum. In fact, twice I left the book alone for a couple of months and then started again, or backtracked through a few chapters. It was probably just past the halfway point in the book that I felt the pace developed and I was hooked.
The book's chapters are named after each of the key characters in the story, which I find adds an unusual sense of anticipation when you see which character's story is about to unfold. The curse of me coming to this book so long after it was written (would you believe the book is 20 years old already?!) is that all of the key plot-lines have been spilled through the TV show. I love the TV show, but I can't help but feel a sense of lost excitement, as I see the name of a character at the beginning of a chapter and think "I wonder if this is the part where he dies". Grrrr! Regardless of the self-inflicted spoilers, I've enjoyed this so much, I've already bought the rest of the books and look forward to ploughing through them as time allows.
The enhanced features in this version of the book are a pleasant addition but I wouldn't say they have been essential. There are audio narration clips scattered throughout the book, but after a while the novelty wore off, and I skipped many of them. The most useful feature, was the ability to click on a character name and to be taken to a summary in the book's appendix. This is particularly useful for this book, as it hosts a huge number of characters that are hard to keep track of. However, a more advanced version of this feature appears to be built into the Kindle's X-Ray feature, making the book's hyperlinks less essential.
5.0 out of 5 starsBrilliant read. A must for GOT fans
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 30, 2018
Saw the TV series before I read the book. The TV series remains faithful to the first book in the series and you can actually visualise the TV characters when reading through the dialogue (especially Tyrion). Enjoyed this book immensely and found it easy to read, although all the different houses and characters are sometimes difficult to keep up with. It definitely makes it easier to follow if you've seen the programme first. I like how the author fleshed out the characters right from the start. This is fundamentally a fantasy novel, not a genre I'd usually opt for but is very much a character novel centred around the main players and their motivations/plots. Brilliant writing. Looking forward to reading the second to see if that measures up.
5.0 out of 5 stars‘When you play the Game of Throne you win or you die’
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 1, 2016
I must confess to being surprised how much I enjoyed ‘Game of Thrones’ (on Kindle) by R.R. Martin. My sole contact with the TV series was, in error, viewing half an episode without knowing who was doing what and why – but recognising the quality of production, By some freak inclination I bought the Kindle version – as usual after reading several 5 stars & 1 star reviews. After 30 minutes reading I wondered if some 1 star reviewers had been reading the same book as myself as it was galloping along at a great pace. To be fair I wasn’t put off by strange names (I’ve used enough in my own writing) or ‘nasty goings-on’ (again mea culpa). Furthermore, I’m very experienced in the study of Medieval History so well at home with the period. Indeed, the Lannisters are clearly based on the family of Elizabeth Woodville (c. 1440-92), the queen of Edward IV (1461-83); in King Robert (‘..Six and a half feet tall, he towered over lesser men..... ) the reader has Edward IV (as in the last 5 years of his life); surely in Joffrey (‘pouty lips... disdainful walk...’) there is Thomas Grey, Elizabeth’s son, who shocked the Court by marrying the dowager Duchess of Dorset (old enough to be his grandmother) in 1478. Perhaps I stray too far in linking the ‘mad king’ (killed by Jaime Lannister) with Henry VI (1422-61 – died 1471) or Ned Stark and family with that of Richard Neville, Earl of York. As for identifying Tyrion Lannester ‘The Imp’ with the SHAKESPEARIAN image of Richard III (1483-5) I’m at a loss. For the critics of the ‘seamier’ episodes, may I point out History records murders on the battlefield, rushed beheadings, witchcraft and wholesale cruelty and spite as making up much of life in 15th century ‘Merry England’. The major HISTORICAL criticism I’d make is the absence of organised religion in the events: I’d excuse direwolves, Others and other supernatural features as but the imagination of a good writer at work. There is no doubt R.R. Martin is a gifted writer. He’s far less elaborate than Tolkein but then he’s far less ambitious – no aim of providing a multiplicity of languages in a world of differently formed creatures (including talking tees) just aiming to produce a dramatic tale of human ambitions, rivalries and treacheries with an added spice of ‘wyrd’ (as the Anglo-Saxons would have understood it) and ‘weird’ as enjoyed by lovers of Gothic novels and ‘colourful’ films. The writing canters along through speech, thoughts, pen-portraits and dramatic encounters. It’s not so ‘down to earth’ as that of Terry Pratchett and yet surprisingly simpler than that of J.K. Rowling. Martin matches the pleasure given me by the other three authors over decades. As always I’d read a selection of both 5 star & 1 star reviews. Here are some of the latter with my comments. ‘I don't think it helped that it jumps about from person to person/scene to scene.’- a standard way by thriller writers of maintaining tension. ‘So many pointless characters with so many stupid names’ – such may add atmosphere and also remove the reader into a different world; those that count will be repeated as so become familiar. ‘Why no resolution?’ - because it’s part of a SERIES; I must confess I dislike villains ‘surviving’ to reappear in an entirely separate work for another dose, but such is not true here. ‘A story that doesn't make sense and characters about whom I couldn't care less’ – I recommend reading a DETAILD history of English history 1455-85 (or even 1399-1499) to get the same effect. In the book there are several engaging episodes such as the journey by Catelyn up to the Eyrie, the escape of Arya from the Lannister coup, the battle featuring Tyrion and the struggle of Jon with the ‘undead’ . Such are frequently described from the viewpoint of participants with some success. My favourite character in the book is Tyrion Lannester (‘The Imp’) – much smarter than any of the other characters and with a macabre, self-deprecating sense of humour (perhaps based on the Shakespearian Richard III) - Petyr Baelish is a similar, if paler, character. Arya Stark, Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen are close behind, possibly because they make more of themselves than either the reader or the other characters expect. A couple of characters I found almost ‘nauseating’ - Joffrey Baratheon and Robyn Arryn, both spoilt and given power when grossly unfitted. Enigmatic characters, such as Sandor Clegane (‘The Hound’) and POTENTIALLY Sansa Stark intrigue me. Disappointing for me, because of plot potential, are Jaime Lannester (apart from ‘the things I do for love’ incident). My title is voiced by Queen Cersei to Eddard Stark in a scene when I was wondering if any man could be so stupid – he’s so disappointing that perhaps his termination proves welcome. I should stress here that I know nothing of what happens in the saga in subsequent books so my opinion may drastically change. Any criticisms? The chapters are simply titled according to the key personality therein. Especially using a Kindle, this makes it more difficult to access the previous scene; adding numbers would help – e.g. Jon1, Jon2, Jon3 & the use of ‘Search’- deal with the confusion felt by some readers. AT THE MOMENT the episodes involving Daenerys Targaryen among the Dothraki are very detached but clearly there for future developments . Even so I must admit the appearance of a pair of dragons doesn’t offer an ‘attractive ‘ story line – direwolves are the limit for me. Anyway I award the book 5 stars and look forward to reading the sequel.
Omg this is the most beautiful book I've seen in my life! The pages, the feel, the font...just lovely...as per the other reviewers here on Amazon, I went for the hardcover edition...and I'm so glad I did! This is a must buy for a book lover or a GoT fan...thank you Amazon for the lovely service and prompt delivery!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 14, 2017
This is reading pleasure on a grand scale, about 800 pages of it. The variety of characters, lands and exploits is staggering. In fact the most difficulty for a reader is keeping track of all the varied personalities and their interrelationship to the general scheme, but fear not for at the back of the book there is a large section where such matters are detailed. No wonder this inventive fictional writing spawned the blockbuster TV series. In fact it is a good companion to that series.
This book is genuinely one of the best I have ever read. I first purchased this book in March of 2015 so that I could read it on holiday. I sped through it in a matter of days while I was abroad. The book has a great atmosphere, and while Martin isn't the best writer out There - he doesn't write as beautifully as Tolkien - he is a gifted and intelligent writer. But the main reason why this book is so great is because of two main reasons, story and characters. The story in Game of Thrones leaves you page turning like crazy, it is that gripping. The characters in Game of Thrones are also convincing, and it helps that each chapter is from the viewpoint of a certain character, because you get inside that person's head and find out about their personality etc. Overall, this book is a great read, and is a must read for any Tolkien fan or just fantasy fans in general. And if you're a new fan, read the books before watching the show, don't make the mistake I made!
5.0 out of 5 starsA Song of Ice and Fire (A Game of Thrones, Book 1.) As always no spoilers.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 21, 2019
I watched episode one of series one and loved it so much that I went out and bought the book the next day, I finished the book just after episode 8/10 had aired on the tv, I would've finished the book sooner but I wanted to coincide it with the series, but I was frustrated with waiting seven days to read more so i finished it.
King Robert Baratheon makes Ned Stark the kings hand, and commands him to travel South to Kings Landing to investigate the death of Ned's predecessor, Ned finds corruption and murder at every turn, not knowing who is friend and who is foe, he cannot trust anyone.
Set in a fictional land the books chapters are all from the point off view of one character.
Characters, action, settings and the feelings that the characters experience are all described in great detail. I have just finished reading it for the second time and it was just as exciting as the first time around. I have no hesitancy in recommending it to all who like the action fast and furious. I give it 5🌟.
5.0 out of 5 starsNot Disappointed! Brilliant Historical Fantasy - if that’s a thing!!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 13, 2020
I left it a respectable time after the televised nonsense, to start reading this series! I was told by people who’d seen the TV series that is was all about war and sex!! Having read the first book, I now appreciate that it is about so much more and is far wider in it’s scope. Well rounded characters. A far-ranging premis. Not a load of magical bunkum. Good “historical” content and language. This reads like the best, British (although it isn’t) early Middle Ages historical fiction - something I love. This makes it instantly familiar and readable. A good fantasy, without being too far fetched or indeed “fantastic”. Normally I’d be somewhat daunted by this number of thick volumes in a series. In this case I’m eager to work my way through it. War & sex - yes there is a fair bit and it’s pretty ‘no holds barred’ but it’s in context and not overwhelming in the overall tale. Good use of language (not too US-centric) and well deserving of all the plaudits. I was not disappointed & am eager to read the rest.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 18, 2017
Amazing story. I started reading the books after I was sad to say goodbye to season 7. I must say that I struggle with the writing. It isn't something I would usually read. The story is good, the writing isn't so good. I have to read a chapter at a time and I'm having to be patient. It isn't the type of book that I can pick up and struggle to put back down.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 30, 2018
The first three books I would actually give a "7". Books 4 and 5 unfortunately get a 2. The first three books were page turners, though still flawed. As others have said aswell, his realism sheds over into sadism at times. And then there is the overuse of phony cliffhangers-- for instance, we are told Arya is hit on the head by an ax swung by a man on horseback and many pages later we find it was only the flat of the ax and so she survived. Highly unlikely, but aside from that, cheap storytelling. The TV series has some of the same flaws, but improves on the books by removing some of these idiotic cliffhangers. And the characters are frankly more human. Shae, for instance, is a cliched " bad" prostitute in the books. She is a real human being in the show. Despite their flaws, the first three books were real page turners for me. Books 4 and 5 were mostly dreary. Many of the most interesting characters, good and bad ( and yes, the distinction is clear) have been killed off, only to be replaced by new characters who are simply not that engaging. Seasons 5 and 6 on TV have been justly criticized, but there are at least some truly exciting episodes and some moderately entertaining dialogue even in the slower episodes. I have rewatched them all. I have zero interest in ever rereading Martin's books, because the last two have actually been so bad. I don't really care if he ever finishes the series. For me, the TV series, flawed as it is, is the real story as far as I am concerned. Martin created an immensely fascinating world, but he badly needed an editor who could stand up to him.
Where do I even begin in a review of A Game of Thrones, the first book in George R R Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire saga? Thousands upon thousands of reviews have been written of these books, and my review probably echoes a lot of what has already been said. George R R Martin is, in my opinion, one of those rare authors who gets everything right.
Characters: The ASOIAF saga is populated by a large cast of characters. This can be a bad thing if an author skims over them and doesn't give them enough detail to make them distinguishable, but equally a small cast can make a story feel very insular and self-contained and unrealistic. Martin creates a large cast, which gives his story epic scope, but also gives each of his characters care and attention. Superfluous characters aren't named, but described, thus sparing the reader from having to keep track of too many. Secondary and main characters are each rendered with unique traits and personalities and respond to the environment around them based on their prior experiences and current set of circumstances, just like real people do. This is absolutely key. As a reader do you care about what happens to a character who doesn't behave like a real human being, a character who seems too thinly drawn and sketched out to exist in the real world? I sure don't. But when a character is written as a real person, I start caring about them, and I give them and their world greater plausibility and believability. It's about immersion into the story, and George R R Martin hits the sweet spot with his characters.
Show, Don't Tell: At the same time, we are only shown glimpses into these characters. We don't know everything about them straight away, we don't know all their inner thoughts. Just like in real life, a character is revealed to us bit by bit through their actions, and we get to know them slowly as we do real people. Not only is this great showing over telling, but this keeps the story fresh and unexpected, even for characters who lead the story and we know well. Martin allows his characters to be organic; existing in their present moment, but responding to events as they unfold and growing as the story unfolds. Moreover, each character has agency. How they respond directly impacts on the other characters, and affects those characters' responses. Again, this is what happens in real life. This makes Martin's characters and plot feel realistic and natural.
World-Building: It's obvious that Martin has spent a great deal of time creating this world in his mind before writing it. This not only renders the environment in lavish detail for the senses, but allows him to plot out events well ahead of time, making sure the storyline is taut and well-constructed. As a result each scene directly contributes to advancing the plot and there's no filler or superfluous material. In addition, Martin can create twists in the plot that surprise and delight the reader even whilst at the same time having just enough hints to in hindsight see its inevitability. And through judicious writing, Martin makes sure that no event is too foreshadowed, ruining the surprise. I've seen authors foreshadow their novel's climax far too heavily, a mistake which means the plot becomes predictable and the writing too clunky. Martin avoids that pitfall. Knowing this world like the back of his hand means that Martin has tight control over where the plot is going, and presents us as readers with a world as realistic and fleshed out as the characters that inhabit it.
Epic Scope: Time to fess up; I love epics. The reason being that the vast world of an epic is true to the vast world in which we live in. Through the aforementioned factors - large character cast, character agency, thorough and carefully planned world-building - Martin is able to connect all his characters and places, and give his plot long-term coherency. This is what makes ASOIAF a true saga, and gives it a wide scope of sweeping grandeur. This also allows Martin to tell the story more slowly, giving us an epic tale of each character and their situation evolving, instead of the story feeling rushed and skimmed over. The way that Martin uses multiple character perspective for different chapters could go wrong, by feeling too jumpy or like we're spending too little time with too many characters. It doesn't go wrong because by developing each character properly, each character chapter has its own distinctive voice, and by developing the plot properly the story can develop at just the right pace, giving us exciting scenes that advance the plot just enough to keep us wanting more, without feeling either too hurried or too ponderous with unnecessary filler. This is how epic is done.
Master of Language: Finally, Martin has a great knowledge of language and what makes good creative writing, aside from all the story-telling expertise. Bad writing is, I've found, rather limited in scope, may feel pedestrian and prosaic or swing all the way to the other extreme and get overly flowery and pompous, perhaps be repetitive, and all in all simply fails to either evoke any emotion in me as a reader or interest me in the story. Good writing shows wide-ranging knowledge of language, enough to come up with writing of creative flair and inventiveness that keeps me interested, but is judicious enough to know to use it sparingly, weaving it seamlessly into the text, and avoiding glaring repetition. This keeps the writing fresh and interesting without becoming too flowery and overused.
Consistency: The real test is consistency. Can the author produce the aforementioned levels of quality again and again at the same consistently high standards? As my reading of the ASOIAF saga is ongoing, I can safely say that yes, George R R Martin can. And this is what gets an author on my auto-buy list, because with a consistently fantastic author I know I am guaranteed a great read every time without even having to see the latest book before I buy it. I'm hooked. George R R Martin is quite possibly the definitive fantasy author of our times, and his writing is cream of the crop across genres.
If only all novels could be as well written as this.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 3, 2020
I haven't watched any Game of thrones so this was my first taste of it . I must admit I was hooked from almost the first page which is rare these days. Great characters and great story lines told by a master storyteller. I find the descriptive element excellent too. I feel as if I can easily visualise the scenes and put myself in them. The character building makes you quickly identify with each one and become involved in their world. I love the way the author devotes a chapter to each character and of course I soon had my favourites. I can't wait to read the next book and I will be watching all seasons at some point I am sure.