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4.0 out of 5 starsUnfortunate technical problem.
Reviewed in Canada on June 13, 2015
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.
5.0 out of 5 starsThe best novel I've read this year.
Reviewed in Canada on October 20, 2011
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.
5.0 out of 5 starsMy introduction to this wonderful series came from my grandson & after making it ...
Reviewed in Canada on March 9, 2017
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.
4.0 out of 5 starsI like it that so much is suggested or alluded to ...
Reviewed in Canada on December 3, 2016
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!
5.0 out of 5 starsI do believe the TV series does a great job depicting the books
Reviewed in Canada on August 24, 2014
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.