Customer Reviews for

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

64 out of 68 people found this review helpful.

I wasn't sure I was going to like this one.

While I am fan of sci-fi and fantasy, I had never read anything by George R.R. Martin. I was scolded for this oversight by many of co-workers and friends. I finally gave in this past month and have been converted to a fan.

Be warned, "A Game of Thrones" is not for ...
While I am fan of sci-fi and fantasy, I had never read anything by George R.R. Martin. I was scolded for this oversight by many of co-workers and friends. I finally gave in this past month and have been converted to a fan.

Be warned, "A Game of Thrones" is not for the casual fantasy reader. It is deeply intricate and rich. While Martin focuses each of the chapters on roughly ten main characters, there are well over fifty full realized characters in just the first book of this series. It would be very easy to get confused or frustrated in the early pages of the tome, but to do so would be to lose out on the epic second half of the book. Up until the last one hundred pages, I was still on the fence about this "game of thrones." Now, having finsihed it, I can't wait to move on to the next book.

As a standalone book, I would not reccomend it; as the beginning of an epic series, I am totally hooked.

posted by Elantraboi on June 14, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

171 out of 312 people found this review helpful.

Nothing like Tolkein!

I trudged through all of the existing 4 novels in this series hoping to find enough redeeming qualities to justify my investment, and came away sorely disapointed. Authors like Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time), Tolkien (LOTR), and even Terry Goodkind (Sword of Truth), all ...
I trudged through all of the existing 4 novels in this series hoping to find enough redeeming qualities to justify my investment, and came away sorely disapointed. Authors like Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time), Tolkien (LOTR), and even Terry Goodkind (Sword of Truth), all spin intense tales that leave you encouraged and inspired by the actions of their heros; Martin grinds through character after character, who all seem to perish by one betrayal after another. As soon as you start rooting for someone, they end up on the chopping block...this repeats so often that you can't help but wonder what holds the story together.

These novels are more like a soap opera than an epic fantasy series- murder, betrayal, and graphically portrayed incest/rape seem to be Martin's bread and butter, with practially nothing else in between.

For some strange reason, I find that highly disgusting and will go back to reading books with real heros and goals that I can emotionally (and morally) rally behind.

posted by 4437389 on March 3, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2011

    Nothing like Tolkein!

    I trudged through all of the existing 4 novels in this series hoping to find enough redeeming qualities to justify my investment, and came away sorely disapointed. Authors like Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time), Tolkien (LOTR), and even Terry Goodkind (Sword of Truth), all spin intense tales that leave you encouraged and inspired by the actions of their heros; Martin grinds through character after character, who all seem to perish by one betrayal after another. As soon as you start rooting for someone, they end up on the chopping block...this repeats so often that you can't help but wonder what holds the story together.

    These novels are more like a soap opera than an epic fantasy series- murder, betrayal, and graphically portrayed incest/rape seem to be Martin's bread and butter, with practially nothing else in between.

    For some strange reason, I find that highly disgusting and will go back to reading books with real heros and goals that I can emotionally (and morally) rally behind.

    171 out of 312 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2008

    Cumbersome series

    This series was recommended to me by many friends. I have to say, it's only the second time I've ever stopped reading a book. I think I got into the second book in the series before I realized that nothing was going to happen. Oh, things keep happening, but they're new things. No questions get answered, no plotlines get resolved, and I simply haven't the energy to read through this many books just to find out how one particularly puzzling plotline resolves itself. When I found out that the series wasn't even finished by the author, I gave up. I had to fight for every page of this book. Normally I can read through a book in a matter of hours. Not so with this author. The narrative is so cumbersome I found myself reading the words on the page instead of watching the story unfold in my imagination. However, apparently many people enjoy that type of reading experience. This author reminds me very much of Tom Clancy. Long winded, tortuous writing styles that make you feel as if you're training for a triathlon as opposed to joyously experiencing another world.

    83 out of 174 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I wasn't sure I was going to like this one.

    While I am fan of sci-fi and fantasy, I had never read anything by George R.R. Martin. I was scolded for this oversight by many of co-workers and friends. I finally gave in this past month and have been converted to a fan.

    Be warned, "A Game of Thrones" is not for the casual fantasy reader. It is deeply intricate and rich. While Martin focuses each of the chapters on roughly ten main characters, there are well over fifty full realized characters in just the first book of this series. It would be very easy to get confused or frustrated in the early pages of the tome, but to do so would be to lose out on the epic second half of the book. Up until the last one hundred pages, I was still on the fence about this "game of thrones." Now, having finsihed it, I can't wait to move on to the next book.

    As a standalone book, I would not reccomend it; as the beginning of an epic series, I am totally hooked.

    64 out of 68 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2008

    Im confused? People like this book?

    This book is terrible. It's what I would imagine sword & sorcery pornography would read like and even then it merits a special subcategory for those who get off on rape, incest, and pedophilia. The rest of the book is unimaginative hackery, and vainly attempts to emulate the works of superior authors. All that which makes epic fantasy worthwhile is absent in this work. We cheered for Frodo on his march to Mordor not because he could swing a sword and have mediocre sex but because we saw a man of decency and humility exhibiting courage, integrity, and loyalty to his companions despite the corrupting power of the ring and the overwhelming obstacles placed before him. None of Martin's characters have my sympathy. I read other review that Martin's characters are great because they are not black and white but grey or some nonsense. People are not colors and the graphically described rape of minor is not literature but the manifestation of perverse man's fetish.

    50 out of 133 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2008

    The best

    This is as good as the Fantasy genre can get. I've read dozens of fantasy books by dozens of authors and this is simply the very best series I've ever read. It stands head and shoulders above Lord of the Rings or really anything else I can imagine. --- The characters come completely to life. The author conveys a sense of reality to each person in his story. There aren't just 'good' guys and 'bad' guys as there are in the plethora of other highly rated fantasy series 'LotR, Dragonlance, Savadore books et. al.'. Instead, each character has their strengths and their weaknesses. Their noble redeeming qualities and their inner demons and selfishness. In essence...they're human! It sounds simple, but surprisingly not very many authors can accomplish this feat as well as Mr. Martin has been able to. He does a brilliant job of making each of the characters unique and detailed in their personality and mannerisms.--- The story line is brilliant and kept me interested throughout the series. This is possibly the fastest I've read through a book.--- Another thing...this book is not for children. There's no Bimbldee-goo Gobleshanks or Dimpledink Fumplesnaps B.S. kiddie stuff like Tolkien. There is no 'good guy' to root for, only different people of different kingdoms. And sometimes the person you might peg as a 'good guy' may not 'win.' The subject matter at times can be quite mature and maintains a high level of maturity throughout.--- So, although there are countless other rave reviews for this book, I figured I'd contribute anyhow. Believe the hype, and don't believe the naysayers. If you enjoy medieval fantasy 'not high fantasy, there aren't goblins and elves in this book' with an in depth and very realistic storyline get this book now.---

    42 out of 55 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Game of Thrones

    A Game of Thrones is the first book in a seven book series called A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. A Game of Thrones is based in a fantasy world called the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, which is very much like Medieval Europe. The Seven Kingdoms have been united under one rule for the last 500 years ever sense Aegeon The Conquerer united the land. After a brutal civil war against the "Mad King" the land has known peace with the New King (Robert). However, this is all about to change if the King's best friend Ned Stark can't figure out why or who wanted King Robert's friend and "Hand" Jon Arryn dead. With Jon Arryn dead Robert places his loyal friend Ned Stark as his Hand, which has the authority of the King. But if Ned can't learn how to play The Game of Thrones then his term as Hand may become a short one.

    In the East decendents of the Mad King still remain and are trying to form their army once again to reclaim the Seven Kingdoms like their ancestor Aegeon the Conqueror 500 years earlier.

    And far in the North there is a Wall. Built to protect all of the 7 Kingdoms it has been undermanned with rapers, robbers, and thieves. The wall is accustomed to losing men, but when one of their scouting party never returns they must find out what is happening and if the wildlings are the cause of it all.

    A Game of Thrones is told through the eyes of 9 characters. Enabling the reader to see the point of view of all the sides of the conflict. This is the first series that I have read that does this and I absolutely love it. Being able to see all the viewpoints of the conflicts in the story is very interesting. Martin also does a very good job in suprising the reader. With just changes in your mindset on a specific character who you thought you knew or simply with what you know to be "fact." I GUARANTEE that you will NOT be able to predict the ending of A Game of Thrones or any of the others. Finally, I believe that this is the best series out there today and everyone that is a fan of fantasy, mystery, or just reading a well written story should buy!

    ***CAUTION*** If you do not like a book with a lot of characters or one where the story is continous from book to book. Then this series may not be for you.

    32 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This book SUCKS! It is the worse book I have ever read!

    All the good characters have terrible things happen to them. Evil triumphs constantly, the best part of the book is about the northern wall and the author doesn't even bother to expound on that enough. By the time that you start to get to know a character he switches you to a new character and after 100 pages he's STILL introducing NEW characters!! The names are difficult to remember and there are hundreds of them. There is no main character, it's absolutely infuriating. Children are molested and murdered. There's incest, rape, and every other disgusting deplorable thing in this piece of trash. This book is so bad that I refuse to read any more of it. I'm not just going to throw it in the garbage - I'm going to pitch it in the fireplace and watch it turn to ashes. I know that will bring me more satisfaction than the 10 hours I wasted reading it.

    20 out of 78 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2001

    Once I started reading!!!

    Once I started reading I could do nothing but put it down every 30 pages!!! This book was horrible. Every 30 pages I had to put it down for a break. The only reason I read the whole thing is because all of these reveiws said it was good. Do yourself a favor and do not read this book even if it is free, it will be a waste of your time.

    15 out of 55 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 18, 2008

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    I Also Recommend:

    Too Old to Finish Series!

    I did not expect such a long time between books especially the book, Dance with the Dragons. I will probably not be alive to finish reading this series.

    13 out of 46 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2010

    Incredibly impressed and awed by the realism of the story and characters despite their fantasy setting. Just when you think everything will get its fantasy ending, however, reality strikes back!

    Martin's ability to take a world apart and make it seem like your own's past history is an incredible experience to read. His characters embody not just the defining characteristics of good and evil, but an exhausting spectrum of the almost devine to the vilest examples of immorality imaginable.

    I knocked a few things in my review only because I am a realist... Let's face it, the new book art is horrid! The previous edition's painted scene was much more of a draw off the shelf, not to mention mucb more attractive sitting on your own!

    The book is offbeat, but still follows the basics of map in the front, character houses in the rear. You might need to use these items about as much as you do with Tolkein however, making them much more than just an eyegrab or little bonus feature.

    Romance? No not really...

    As with most first books, you get a slow start. Give it a couple chapters and you will be torn between throwing it across the room in fury or turning the next page.

    Great book for book clubs! Very fun to discuss and almost cultish when you find someone reading it or who has.

    I would not gift this book to most. Tolkein level writing is not for everyone and I think only about half the very few people I have recommended the book to have seen it through to the end.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 25, 2009

    don't buy this book!!!!!!!

    This clown refuses to finish the 5th and final book of the series. If you feel like I do, that if a writter is willing to take your money for a series of books, then he is moraly responsible to make a reasonable attempt to finish the series. Don't make the mistake that I and many others made of getting involved in this losers work.

    9 out of 56 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2005

    don't see the big deal

    Why everyone is saying this is such a great book is a mystery to me. I kept waiting for something to happen, but nothing did. I'm a big fantasy fan and there isn't any big fantasy stuff in this one. If you like the kind of book that there are too many characters and you need to flip to the appendix every second to see whos who, go ahead and enjoy. I know I won't be reading the second one though..

    9 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A Game of Thrones INDEED!!!

    An excellent read that keeps you entertained throughtout the whole book. I can't really say I was bored with the story at any point. I like how it switches from character to character each chapter and you get to know all the main characters on an individual basis. The plot is intriguing and at the end left me ready for the next book because the story could go so many ways and there are so many different things going on that it makes it more vast and complex which makes it all the more interesting. I enjoyed the first book in this saga and am excited to read the rest!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2008

    This book is awesome!

    I'm a big fan of epic fantasy novels and this one is awesome. I enjoy the author's writing style. Each chapter is written from the perspective of one of the many (about a dozen) main characters. The story is action packed, with a lot of surprises along the way. As with most series of this genre, there are many plots and subplots that pull you in and keep you reading page after page.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A must read...

    If you're a fan of Stephen Donaldson, Tolkien, David Eddings, Terry Brooks, or Ursula K. Le Guin just to name a few great fantasy writers, and you've never read George R; R. Martin; wow are you in for a treat! This book is the best first installment of a fantasy series I've ever read! Be sure if you're thinking about it at all, to treat yourself to this one.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2010

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    Terrific cast and spellbinding story. A real winner!

    I hesitated for about 6 months before I bought this book (political intrigue in a fantasy world didn't immediately sound engaging) - but I loved it (and the whole series). Martin has the ability to show characters in shades of grey -- even the evil characters are sympathetic. Highly recommended.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

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    An excellent series; Don't listen to the previous posters comment, he doesn't know what he's talking about!

    First off, do not listen to the previous poster. The 5th and final book of the series? CLEARLY HE DOESN'T KNOW THIS SERIES AT ALL. One, it is now a 7 part series. Secondly, the next book (5) takes place during the 4th book. He had to split the it apart because he has so many characters and plot lines twisting with each other.

    Now, going onto the review, instead of the previous poster bashing. This was recommended to me by a friend as the best fantasy series he had ever read. I can say without much hesitation that this is one of the best fantasies every written. BUT it depends on what type of fantasy you like. If you're one of those mythical creatures type fantasy readers--this isn't for you. If you like fantasies with some hero saving a damsel in distress--this series isn't for you. If you like blood, guts, good old fashion middle-ages killing--then read on. This is by far, the nittiest, grittiest series out there--that still maintains a story line.

    Speaking of the story line--it does take quite a while to get used to it. Martin's style is very different from most writers, and if you have read the other reviews you'll see that I'm not lying. When I first started reading book 1, I almost put it down and stopped reading. After about, 200 pages, you start to get a good feel for this world. After the first book, you'll start to understand the plot (or perhaps I'm just a little slow.) That being said, it was completely worth it.

    The characters... Are so completely messed up it is insane. Good and evil cease to really exist. The motivations of the characters move beyond good and evil, into the realm of chaos. The one thing you can say about Martin, is that you cannot predict how his characters will act, or what he will do with them. I guarantee you, at one point in this series, if you read it, will put down the book and string off a line of expletives that will leave people around you wondering if you're sane.

    Overall, if you're a fantasy reader, you need to have this series on your bookshelf.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 18, 2009

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    A slow start but a powerhouse finnish!

    This is the first book in George R.R Martin's "A song of ice and fire" series. For me I found the book to be a slow starter but a powerhouse finish. The character development and the amount of characters in the story added to its overall intrigue. I would recommend this book to most. I'm an average reader and it wasn't what i would call a fast read but sometimes its good to have an epic tale with some meat on its bones. This book was imaginative and eventually engrossing. I look forward to the second book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    GoT delivers everything you want out of a high fantasy!

    What's so impressive about GoT is the world-building. I don't think I've seen anything this imaginative since Tolkien's LotR trilogy. It's hard to fathom just how much time and creativity and planning went into the construction of this world and series.But as great as the setting may be, the characters are what carry this book. They are all so wonderfully complex and multifaceted, so much so that it's sometimes hard to tell who to root for! Every character is deeply flawed in some way, but it's those flaws that make them so human. The good guys make (often fatal) mistakes and I think that's why their stories resonate so much with us as readers. There is a deep connection to some of these people so you really feel for them during their triumphs and during their tragedies. A Game of Thrones is told via several different characters and there are some people who won't enjoy that, but I'd say with so much going on, it was a necessary device. You get a deeper insight into the story this way and it's also interesting to see events through opposing perspectives. There were definitely some narrators that I preferred over others, namely, Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. Funny enough, this also correlates to the characters I preferred in the show so that just goes to show you how well they play off one another. And yes, if you're wondering, the show totally does this book justice. You really don't need to read the first book to understand what's going on in the show, however, I recommend that you do anyway. It's too good not to. Also, because the story is so dense, the books help to make sense of the show (and vice versa). The novel clarified things that I was otherwise confused about as well as enriched my understanding of the characters and their motivations. I recommend grabbing the audio version if you can because Roy Dotrice is a champ! Fun fact: he even made the Guinness Book of World Records for doing the most amount of distinctive character voices in one audio production. Reading A Game of Thrones was quite the challenge, and consequently, finishing it was my biggest literary accomplishment this year. Martin has crafted such an intricate and wonderfully detailed universe full of rich, complex characters and high drama. It has all the elements you could ever want in a high fantasy and rivals the LotR trilogy for best fantasy series EVER!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2013

    Really got into this book after the first 100 pages or so. Very

    Really got into this book after the first 100 pages or so. Very complex, but amazing!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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