Customer Reviews for

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) (Movie Tie-In Edition)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

188 out of 194 people found this review helpful.

"When you play the games of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground."

For anyone new to this series, whether you've just heard of it, or you've seen Game of Thrones on television, the first thing I would say is that these books are certainly not for children or the faint of heart. The violence is graphic and the sex (some would say) is po...
For anyone new to this series, whether you've just heard of it, or you've seen Game of Thrones on television, the first thing I would say is that these books are certainly not for children or the faint of heart. The violence is graphic and the sex (some would say) is pornographic. Rape is commonplace (often heard of, but rarely witnessed). A Song of Ice and Fire pulls no punches. It depicts a brutal world of treachery, murder, lust, and greed, in which even the good characters have to be ruthless if they wish to survive. Time Magazine has called Martin "the American Tolkien," but that is a superficial judgment. These books are nothing like Tolkien. Imagine the Sopranos in Middle Earth, and you'll get the picture.

And yet, as dark and twisted as these books are, they are compelling. No sooner did I finish one book than I started the next, and I am eager for the publication of "A Dance With Dragons" in July 2011. This is because Martin's greatest strengths are plot and character. He weaves his tale out of many threads. The perspective shifts from chapter to chapter, as his main characters take their turns at center stage in Dickensian profusion. Some of them know what the other characters are up to, some think they do, and some don't know much at all. But each advances the complex plot, driving the story and the reader forward.

There are two areas in particular where Martin does an excellent job. First, he is more ruthless to his characters than Steven King. No one is safe. No one. Second, almost all of his main characters are quite well rounded. They can surprise you. One character, for example, commits a horrific crime early in the series, and is known to have committed another. As the books go on and the portrait of his character develops, however, it becomes more difficult to pass a simple judgment because he begins taking actions the reader wants to admire him for. I had to keep reminding myself of what he had done before, and that, as someone says in one of the books, sins can be forgiven, but crimes must still be punished. The good guys aren't simply good, and the bad guys aren't simply bad.

All in all, a good, fun read, if you're up for it. There is no middle ground.

posted by ThomasHill on May 23, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

39 out of 155 people found this review helpful.

Waste of Time

I work at a book store and tons of people have recommended this series to me. I finally decided to give it a chance-all I can say is...what the hell? The plot was boring and it was downright degrading to women. All of the characters were nasty and corrupt and there was ...
I work at a book store and tons of people have recommended this series to me. I finally decided to give it a chance-all I can say is...what the hell? The plot was boring and it was downright degrading to women. All of the characters were nasty and corrupt and there was not a single cause for the good in this book. It was an altogether depressing lot of characters. I will not read Martin again.

posted by csaint on April 12, 2011

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