A Game Of Thrones by George RR Martin book reviewRating 9.5/10
An epic, action packed starter from George R. R. Martin.
As warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must ... and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty. The old gods have no power in the south, Stark's family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, a vengeance mad boy has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities beyong the sea. Heir of the mad Dragon King deposed by Robert, he claims the Iron Throne.
Ever since my entry into the heady and wonderful peaks of fantasy literature following the release of the Fellowship of the Ring movie in 2001, I have been hard pressed to find an author greater than the inimitable J.R.R. Tolkien. Robin Hobb’s ‘Realm of the Elderlings’ story tops it in terms of pure enjoyment for me, and Terry Pratchett writes with such skill he too edges out Tolkien. But both authors have fallen short of the sheer scope that Tolkien envisioned and, successfully, created.
Since then, I have only come across two authors who have come close to envisioning and successfully carrying out their literary creations to match Tolkien; Steven Erikson and George R. R. Martin.
Martin’s epic fantasy series, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire,’ has managed to – in both scope and creativity, not to mention simple writing ability – capture and recreate the story that started in Martin’s head. Some authors try, and fail miserably. Some capture and recreate perfectly, but the author’s scope is minimal.
For Martin though, in scope, creativity, and writing ability, A Song of Ice and Fire is everything you want in an epic fantasy tale.
The first book, ‘A Game of Thrones,’ was first released in 1996, and since then another three books have been released, with the fifth hopefully to be released this year (2009). Set in a world very akin to our own medieval history, specifically the English War of the Roses, A Game of Thrones introduces us to one of the greatest (and largest) character lists around.
The story is told from eight perspectives. Each perspective is held within a chapter which, when the characters move away from each other, allows the author to continually leave minor cliff-hangers at the end of each chapter.
While six of the characters from this first book are from the same family, the perspective is shifted around in preceding books. Death is commonplace, almost to the point of horror, but conducted in such a way that it, sadly, reminds us of our own bloody histories. Martin does not shy away from the death, rape and plunder that would have been norm for the setting and in doing so provides a much more complete story.
Mindless destruction is often the cause for character splits and confrontations, and by the end of the book characters you assumed you would be attached too for some time are left headless, gutless or simply gone.
Throughout the entire series Martin focuses almost primarily upon one continent. However there is one character, Daenerys Targaryen, who has been forced to flee to a separate continent as a young girl. At first I remember feeling disorientated and a little slighted at seemingly being provided this perspective which seemed nothing short of pointless. However as I have continued to read, she has become one of my favourite characters.
‘A Game of Thrones’ is without a doubt one of the most involved and simultaneously enjoyable books I have ever read. Dense to the point of labour, but captivating well past my bed time, Martin knows exactly where to draw the line between lots of information and tedious boredom.
If you like Tolkien, or if you like the idea of an epic fantasy series, then you must pick up ‘A Game of Thrones’ as soon as possible. Martin’s ability to create a world both entertaining and disastrously realistic is nothing short of mind numbingly brilliant.
Joshua S Hill
The novel, A Game of Thrones, begins with an encounter with supernatural beings; this may give a false impression as to what will come. As the story begins to unfold, the theme moves strongly into the area of political intrigue and this forthcoming war that will happen as a result. The fantasy element, while always there plays only a minor role in the majority of the rest of the book.
A Game of Thrones in not your usual fare, it is hard-hitting and bad things do happen to the good people. Two families take centre stage in a battle for the Throne; the Starks and the Lannisters. The Stark family live in the cold hard North, Winterfell is the seat of their domain. We are, using chapters headlined with the family names, introduced to the Stark family. Once we have familiarised ourselves with the Stark’s, King Robert and his family visit them at Winterfell. King Robert is married to a Lannister, Queen Cersei. The King’s main reason for visiting is to offer Eddard Stark the honour of becoming his Hand (most trusted advisor). Eddard unhappily accepts and he must move to King’s Landing in the South.
Eddard Stark’s young son Bran is injured during the King’s visit, whilst this is originally thought to be an accident that occurred when he was climbing it becomes apparent that the Lannisters played a part in this tragedy.
In an interesting sub-plot Jon Snow, Eddard’s bastard son, joins the “Black” or the “Night’s Watch”, a company of men who’s role is to guard a huge wall of ice in the far North. He is accompanied there by Tyrion Lannister, a dwarf. Although they do not become friends they end up with a grudging respect for each other. Once Jon has pledged himself to the “Black” he must forsake friends, family, marriage and children and his whole life will be spent in the protection of Land.
With Eddard now in place as the King’s Hand, tensions rise between himself and the Lannisters. Then, suddenly one day, the King is killed hunting wild boar and Eddard and the Lannister are drawn into a battle for the throne.
Finally, at the end, the fantasy element once again returns and we are left looking forward to the second instalment.
This is a very good novel, full of twists and turns. It leaves you wanting more and move on to A Clash of Kings.
"Colossal, staggering ... one of the greats"SFX
"Fantasy literature has never shied away from grandeur, but the sheer mind-boggling scope of this epic has sent other fantasy writers away shaking their heads ... It's ambition: to construct the Twelve Caesars of fantasy fiction, with characters so venemous they could eat the Borgais."Guardian
This A Game Of Thrones book review was written byFloresiensisand Joshua S Hill
A Game Of Thrones
A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 1
Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robe...
A Clash Of Kings
A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 2
Throughout Westeros, the cold winds are rising. From the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding lands of Winterfell, chaos reigns as pretenders to the Iron T...
A Storm of Swords 1: Steel and Snow
A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 3
Blood runs truer than oaths. The Seven Kingdoms are divided by revolt and blood feud as winter approaches like an angry beast. In the northern wastes a horde of hungry, sav...
A Storm of Swords 2: Blood and Gold
A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 3
The Starks are scattered. Robb Stark may be King in the North, but he must bend to the will of the old tyrant Walder Frey if he is to hold his crown. And while his youngest...
A Feast for Crows
A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 4
A Dance With Dragons
A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 5
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There are no books I love more than the A Song of Ice and Fire. Honestly, it deserves so much better than a 9.5 (based on books I've seen with higher ratings that don't measure up nearly as high as ASOIAF). I almost exclusively read fantasy and these books are as good as lord of the rings, in a different way (a very different way). The best thing is they are all about character. In fantasy, characterization is often put to the side so that cool battles and fun magic can be explored more. There are only two characters in the entire series that I know are the bad guys, and the author even has me feeling bad for them at some points. Every character feels real, and there are moments where I have hated every one of them, and moments where I have loved them. They all develop over time in ways that you can barely notice until it hits you that, wow, that character isn't evil anymore. There are a million plot lines, and each one is very real. No one cheats, no one can "just do the magic thing" to get out of a situation. Actions have consequences. Our favorite characters die, and the bad ones get to live. It is extremely well written, fast paced in some places and slow in others. The books have a depth that make you want to read the series over and over again so you can find out just what is going on with the characters, and catch all of the hints and symbolism the author puts in there. I will never look at fantasy the same again, this series has changed my world view.
The first book was very entertaining and Ned's death was actually shocking. I sat there thinking about all that could come from this series. Yeah some of the writing was ham fisted, who am I to judge, but the plot was like one of those Rockwood Gardnes trees with plums, peaches, cherries and apples all on the same tree. Lots of low hanging fruit to pick from. Hey we got these giant hybrid wolves, maybe shapeshifters, telepathy, dragons, ghasts, magic, assassins, and lots more. Yes there are barbarians in the north and its cliche, but that can work. Political intrigue of england..OK. And we have somewhat good and bad guys. Great start aaaaand then the wheels fall off. Instead of using some of the fruit he just letting fall off the tree to rot. Instead we are given lists of crap we don't need to care about. What type of fowl they are eating, the sauce, where the sauce is from, where the fowl is from, who is eating it. OH yeah this 3rd Bannerman for the house of Mooreevilish is wearing a turquoise tunic fashioned from the twill of far off Neargoodshire where small puppies are strung up and hit like pinatas but makes them less evil than their neighbour who does it with live babies in Babybashinworth, though Babybashingworth is known for their exquisite soup made from infant brains served in a fusia bowl decorated in intricate gold filigree and a soup spoon fashioned from the eyesocket of the dogs in Neargoodshire, painted a vermillion redly. See what happens when you aren't concise. You will never see that bannerman again, the meal has no plot meaning, nore does the origin of the tunic if it doesn't have any consequence later on. Scene one shotgun on mantle, better use that things sometime during your performance or it shouldn't be there. A good editor would have made this a lot better. By book 3 I was still waiting on things I knew where not coming. I gave up in book 4 because I had done 8 books of Jordan and decided to never waste my time on a series that just sits around. Yes he kills characters, but it becomes trivial when it happens so often..but but that is realism. Yes and this is novel where you are suppose to bond with characters, not feel like some lofty king who rolls over a beggar in your grand caravan. Little growth that is meaningful because that character will of course die, plot that just seems to go in a circle, prose that aren't good. Yes 1 star is harsh, but jebus this could have been so much better. Book one left enough there to make 5 good series and he couldn't make one in the 5000 pages written so far.
Takes a while to read and some parts are slow but the storyline is amazing and I highly recommend.
I have to say, I wonder, how you people could even get through the first page. I had to read it, because everybody was recommending it. but I can not even get through the first page. I just can't. It's all because of the language. Seriously, how could people even suffer it?! What the fuck is "Will had known that they will drag him into the quarrel sooner or later, and he wished it would have been later rather than sooner"??? And what the fuck is "slender as a knife"??? And what the fuck is "he studied that deepening twilight in that half-bored, half-distracted way he had"??? I know popular books are supposed to be easy to read, but this?! Even grade school kids write way much better, and coherent. Despite really wanting to read it (because I want to find out what is going on and what everybody is talking about in this serie), I can't read it, I just can't. I have no idea why this ever got published. So, i don't recommend you to read it. It ruins your linguistic skills. And it ruins your abilities to write and even talk normally.
Corinfrom United Kingdom
This series is very simplistic for fantasy. The world is empty, no magic system , no real variation between factions or originality. Characters all behave the same way. Almost no plot. No explanation or balance which amount to childlike world building. Dan Brown cliffhangers. Realistic.....bollocks, the time taken travelling alone is farcical. Where are the normal people, they're all Lords or Knights. The battles are ridiculous, far too many deaths, no tactics and no war machines of any sort. Really, what are the chances of Gilly not getting raped at Castle black, slim to none. Sam would've been raped! Put a woman in maximum security prison and see what happens. Violent and miserable does not equal realistic! TV series is brilliant but not a fair representation of the books.
The first three books I would give a "7". Books 4 and 5 get a 2. The first three books were page turners, though still flawed. As others have said, 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 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.
I loved AGOT. An absolute masterpiece. I could not put it down even if I had wanted to.
Overated books. Poor writing level. Childish and false "European middle age" from low quality school books. A Must NOT Read.
Saris Vinithirfrom Tyneside/Newcastle, UK
This book is utter b******s, very uncanny! Reliance on sex, nudity and all this ****-waallops! Worst is the fans, they say that Lord of the Rings is for kids, REALLY?! LOTR is a formidable masterpiece, ASOIAF is f****n' b******s. Personally, the only thing I like from ASOIAF/Westeros is the Greyjoys, Boltons, Oberyn Martell, Tyrion and Sandor .This book wad've been good if it divint' have the sex!!!
Lawrence von Kylemanfrom Prussia
HBO show is far superior to the books simply because it seems as though Martin always intended for his series to be made into a visual form. How else do you explain the long drawn out descriptions of small inconsequential bull which is so frequently used. I can't imagine how the narrators for the audio-books could keep themselves from falling asleep. I bet editing and adapting this drivel for TV must be a pain though. I imagine the writers pouring over the books cutting out the descriptions of stupid crud, useless subplots, and fixing this fat dbags overall bland and plot-hole ridden narrative. I'd geuss they use about 40% of the source material in the show after that. I think HBO did an amazing job with this show, and I wish they came up with it themselves so they didn't have to pay some lazy, fat, old man to go through his thousands of pages worth of vapid, drawn-out, poorly executed, novels laden with what I can only assume are his sexual fantasies.
This book, and the other books published of the series, are as impressive and amazing piece of literature. The characters in the story are superb. I read these book and absolutely had to recommend them to every book buddy.
Some people believe that it is justifiable write reviews for the entire series on the page for the first book. I personally find it interesting, as though many people decided that they would attempt to warn others of the series inevitable decline in the reviews of the first book. As if to say “Don’t even start reading these books”. I would have to agree with this line of thinking sadly enough as, like many others I find that the series is excellent at first with many strong points to be found in the first few books, however the strength of the plot wanes once the fourth book starts, and the quality of the books becomes more diluted once the fifth is reached. The series can still be saved, but with no release date as of yet for the sixth book, with the seventh and final volume most likely being another five to six years after. The more dedicated fans will be forced to wait in quiet agony hoping Martin does not pass away before the ending is finished. As far as the problems I have with the books, I will try to keep them short and simple for the purpose of the review. First, the people who we are supposed to sympathize with (Starks) are all morons. Eddard is a moron for announcing his intentions to Cersei, Robb and Catelyn are morons for siding with Renly over Stannis (the rightful king) and going to the home of a man known to break oaths. Arya just fucked off to bumfud nowhere and lost all connection to the actual story, Bran and Rickon are just boring, and Sansa, Do I really need to describe how having a character pretty much be everyone’s pawn for the majority of the series is boring and was never once interesting. Second, The amount of useless POV and descriptions of superfluous crap gets really bad later on with the amount of POV increasing with each book for no reason other than Martin can’t think of any other way to pad the books. Finally, the use of Deus ex Machina, its everywhere. From no one noticing that Joffrey and his sibling’s look nothing like Baratheon’s to the lazy use of prophecy giving the excuse for a ton of it to happen for no reason in particular. The use of prophecy is really the only thing that I believe Martin to have done very lazily, sure we don’t know who the Jebus of Westeros is yet, but using it is just so cliché for fantasy to include some sort of messianic figure it’s not even funny. In short I like the books enough for what they are but the issues I have with the characters and inclusion of poorly written Deus ex Machina story coincidences is too great to ignore.
I would just like to say that I really wanted to like this book. I read about 500 pages and the story moves forward at such a slow pace that I couldn't bother reading further. Every event feels like an obvious plot device, there is no culture, characters have no personality and no charisma whatsoever, there are too many storylines happening at the same time and none of them are in the least interesting, because the novel is structured in a way that when you start developing the slightest bit of sympathy towards a certain character the author ends the chapter, and the next chapter focuses on a completely different story arc with a different set of characters, much like the scenes in a soap opera. There's no fantasy in this first volume of GoT except for dragon eggs, zombies, and swords with hilarious names. Don't waste your time on this.
Perhaps the literary con-job of the century. Mediocre unoriginal writing that sets up a myriad of random story lines and finishes none. Many people mistake this lazy haphazardly way of writing with the world being rich and the characters realistic, but is simply is a cheap trick invoked by a writer who probably has no idea how he's going to wrap everything up properly, not that this is a problem for him in the future. I find it amazing how this parlor trick convinced so many people to run with this drivel, but that's the internet age for you. Perhaps that is why he dislikes fanfic so much, knowing that his pulp isn't that far above the average slash nonsense. If you want mindless entertainment, see the show and read a good book, not this MacDonalds fantasy wannabe.
I would like to start by saying that the fanboys ruined the series for me. You know who I am talking about. The people who belive that the books are absolutely perfect and the author is a god among men who we shall bow down to. As for the books, I find that they start off fine, but somewhere down the line I believe that Martin has too much to focus on due to multiple characters and storylines needing to be written across varied locations spanning continents. There really is too much to focus on for any writer, but then add in the obsessive amount of detail and its no wonder the books lose quality as they go on. I believe what Martin should have done is kept things simple, one characters point of view and get straight into winter rather than letting the main issue wait for 5 books at 1000+ pages per book. It really is more like we got to a party too soon while the decorations are still being set up for the main event. The books are mediocre at best, I believe that a vast majority of the people who claim to be fans of this series only read it because of the show and were sorely disapointed.
Mikefrom South Wales
Maybe you have to be a certain type to enjoy this particular genre of book? It certainly did nothing whatsoever for me. I find that if the first ten pages or so do not grab my attention then that is it. This was certainly the case with Game of Thrones. Sorry but I just do not see the attraction. It was the most boring, long drawn out 4 chapters that I have ever read in my life and I will not be attempting to read anymore of it.
I have a few problems with these books, first is the borderline obsessive detail, the amount of detail GRRM puts into these books prohibits you from seeing the world as you want to see it and limits you to the author's view. The main problem for me however, is the multiple characters I do not care about at all. So far after 5 books, only three really interest me, Tyrion, Jon, and Daenerys. I really do not care what happens to anyone else at all. The rest of the Starks and Lannisters could kill each other off for all I care. At this point I just read the chapters concerning those three and read summaries for everyone else.
Rebekahfrom New Zealand
This thick, material crammed book is written so brilliantly that it is impossible for one to get bored whilst reading. I enjoy the fact that everyone is somehow connected in the story, no matter how far away they all seem from each other. What additionally made this novel awesome was that at each end of chapters, GRRM would leave a cliff-hangar, forcing you to read on till it's 3:34 on a school morning. I would rate this book 11/10 is I could.
Reading this series has been just slowly watching anyone with any sort of morals die off. It grows very tiresome very fast, at this point nothing could get me to continue reading what has become a series devoid of any characters I can sympathize with. I'll read a synopsis when it ends just so I know how GRRM will finally kill this series. Of course part of me also wishes GRRM will die before he finishes so the people who think this series is better than Tolkien's work will never get an ending.
This book was the first book I finished on my own and not being forced (English in school). This book is so good that it made me, someone who would never even try a book. Get into reading, you know it's good.
This is really the only series I will never bother to finish. After reading through the first few books of this supposedly fantasy series I have to wonder where the fantasy is. All I found was some bs about winter coming which wore down my patience so fast along with the overdone descriptions. A fantasy novel is supposed to be unrealistic, Martin's books are realistic and therefore are not fantasy, more like alternate/parallel history. I believe at this point the success of the books more or less piggyback on the accesability of the tv show. This is the only explanation I can find for the series success.
I suppose that today's popularity of this book series comes directly from the HBO show. The popularity of this TV show, on its part, comes from the realities that there are not many "medieval - fantasy" type of shows on today's television. Therefore, when you don't have enough fish in the lake, every more or less decent crucian would be considered to be a local whale and a shark altogether. The book is overrated. The narration is flat and colorblind. The monologues are emotionless and, for the most part, don't carry any story-progressing load on them. The description of decorations, clothing and little details is pretty often redundant and used just to eat more pages that readers paid for, especially in the latest books. The story itself.. there isn't much story per se. Author uses his very first book to set up the chess pieces and intrigue the reader, but it is hard to distinguish when (if) the game actually starts, and while the reader is making his attempt to figure that out, some main characters are already dead, others have fallen away from the story line and don't play any part in it. The only three stars I give are for the fist book, because initially it looked promising. I don't know what percentage of HBO's profit goes into Martin's pocket, but the truth is, Martin should be the one who is paying HBO for forcing his luck of talent going mainstream.
I made it to only slightly more than halfway through Book 1. It is the only novel I can ever remember not finishing.
Not really a novel, rather a soap opera screenplay for sex-dreaming male kids with a taste for the shallow and the boring. Also, a very good business for the author. Infesting, as parasite vines. Avoid at all cost.
I will give it just over half stars, purely because I think that the concept is brilliant, and the series begins very strongly, with the first book in particular being excellent. However, sadly, what could have been an explosive series slowly dissolved into an anti climax with absolutely nothing happening. Book one, and most of book two are very good, book three has some interesting parts, although admittantly it begins to loose structure, book four however, I struggled with despite flying through the preceding books and I gave up on book five. It seems that the interesting characters that Martin established in the first book have either been killed off or their storylines have dried out and have subsequently been replaced with much less interesting characters and storylines. All in all, the disappointment factor when reflecting upon
what this story could have been is perhaps the worst thing about it. It could have been great, and it has its moments, but when you look at the potential that Martin had to begin with, which slowly dissolves into nothing, it's just such a shame that he couldn't carry it out and that's the worst thing about the series, the dreadful waste of potential. Still, I wouldn't say avoid it completely, just be aware that this story will probably not play out the way you had hoped and you may well find yourself as disappointed as I was.
I absolutely loved it, the whole idea, the writting style... but damn I have to admit that the fourth book was bloody boring. I do not get why everyone disses that "Dance with Dragons" (fifth) book though. I found it quite interesting.
"Six" as a rating is deceptive. I gave 10 to the first three books, and single stars to the last two books, and 6-7 is what I got. Sadly, the last two books take all the momentum of the first three, and flush it down the toilet. I wish they didn't. I'm waiting for book six, and hoping that Martin gets his act together, but at this point the story is so bloated that it's unlikely to happen. If anyone wants an excellent series that moves like a well-oiled machine from start to finish, try Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy.
I'm just finishing A Dance With Dragons and Ive got to say if i was to be rating just the first two books I would probably give a big shiny 10/10. However gradually this 'epic' seems to loose all momentum and direction, it is when you begin to realize that there are entire chapters in the book that you do not care about, entire chapters that are so mind numbingly dull and uninsightful, that you could happily skip them. Words become words, everything takes so long, too long to arrive at a destination. The most interesting stories seem to end abruptly or with an inadequate solution and you begin to notice that the more words that are written the more the books loose all sense of direction, you become unattached from all characters and stories and its a shame because the world which has been created is sublime, however the way in which this 'epic' is told just does not do justice to the first two books and the direction it was originally heading in.
Half way through book 5 ' A Dance with Dragons' and losing the will to live. On the back of the TV series the first two books were enjoyable enough with sympathetic characters and some genuine boo hiss baddies to hate but by book 4 we were flagging and book 5 is simply dreadful. Self indulgent repetitive and pointless. Nothing happens. About half the book can be summed up as follows: Everybody wanders about aimlessly dressed in boiled leather and mail or slashed satin and velvet, eating big pies, barley stew, porridge and/or roast swan. Dany continues to play the stroppy teenager before finally getting laid having dumped her dragons in a pit on noticing they aren't house-trained. Martin clearly doesn't care about his characters so how can we? So utterly disdainful is he of his readers that he ends his books with a self pitying winge about what a bitch it all has been for him to write. Oh yeah? Well not nearly as big a bitch as it was to lay out good money then waste hours of our lives reading this self indulgent piffle mate.
Awesome book, enticing read. Love the series and people complaining how it's poorly written... Seriously?This is really a great series, not a single one of you could even come close to matching Martin's writing.
Mamushetfrom Washington DC
I would have to say that the world GRRM created is interesting. But the series is over extended and loses its appeal after the first two books. The fourth and fifth books are filled with repetitions and tedious details. The characters who were the focus at the start of the book either get killed or behave in such unexpected/negative ways that any connection you may have made with them will not persist and the story moves very slowly. The book starts by building some anticipation for the arrival of winter yet you will have to read five books to get there. It is like watching 15 min boring commercial for 2 min show. Overall disappointing.
Avoid this mediocre book. It's more than loss of time. It's a nonsensical mess. Book 4 and 5 have absolutely nothing to say and all the characters are primitive. It seems that the author just wants to set a record of number of pages lacking of any substance.
Jaynefrom United States
For a while, I've been trying to figure out how I feel about these books (I've read all 5). They're a deviation from the traditional fantasy storyline (hero that overcomes all vs. true evil) and I can appreciate and respect Mr. Martin's boldness. I do think he does it well, the story is well written and always keeps you guessing. I didn't have a problem with the multiple characters and their separate chapters (I made it through the Wheel of Time series and loved it), but I did have a problem with caring what happens. I like that Mr. Martin has no qualms about killing off whatever character needed to die and the revolving complexity of the plot is really interesting. But honestly, what I think he lost between the multiple characters and their impermanence was making me care about the character. I think he shows their negative sides much more than any goodness in them and in not knowing how long they're going to be around, I found myself avoiding getting too emotionally involved in their stories to the point that I just don't really care what happens to them anymore. I also agree with another reviewer here in that somewhere the overall plot gets lost. Also I'm just confused about the role of the whole "winter is coming" idea - I would like to see that come to more prominence because I could see that forcing everyone to set aside their differences and their petty politics to fight a common foe - and it's seemed like that since the very first chapter. Overall, I say kudos to Mr. Martin for daring to break the traditional fantasy conventions and hopefully opening a whole new realm of possibilities for other writers but I hope that after this series, he learns from his mistakes and writes a much better one. I give it 6 stars for boldness, creativity, interesting characters and good writing.
Wow, you are comparing Martin to Tolkien? That's pretty ridiculous. If I could pick a fantasy author to recommend to someone looking for something to equal or best Tolkien's LoTR, it would have to be Gene Wolfe, and the Urth series.
Book 1, good -- Book 2, OK --- Book 3, hoping something happens that doesn't waste Book 1. Book 4, didn't finish, no ending could be worth the bother. I've read "War and Peace", Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" (twice), Selby Foote's "The Civil War", the Literary Digest's "History of the World War" (WWI, all ten volumes); I even took a crack at the Encyclopedia Britannica when I was 12 and home sick for a month. I've read some part of a book every day for over 50 years, since I was able to read anything. And never, ever have I abandon a book in mid-stream (not even Joyce's "Ulysses" or even James' "The Golden Bowl", which, while brilliant are a slog for a modern reader). It's bloated, filled with characters no one can care about, and too many points of view. The only way to end this series is to kill off nearly everyone and since there are so many characters the reader can hardly care. As Stalin is reputed to have said, "one death is a tragedy, a million deaths are a statistic." So with this series, Martin has killed a million words and it's hard to care about it.
An absoloutely brilliant novel. In my opinion, A Game of Thrones is one of the greatest fantasy novels ever written by one of the best authors ever. George RR Martin is able to capture emotions and build suspense and leaves you wanting more. A truly great novel.
To all the haters, you're entitled to your opinion. I like to recall the story of how the producers of the TV show read a part of the first book and were immediately overwhelmed, impressed, taken by the imagery, the ambience, the sense of place and the characters. So, at least 2 people in the world were touched by the book. Now that's 2 more than a lot of other writers.
Too long winded, too much focus on tedious details. The basic Premise for the novels is good in my opinion, But really needed to be written by someone like J.K.Rowling who knows how to filter out Blab. The second half of the third book is the most interesting to read while the whole fourth book made me want to scure my eye balls with a hot iron poker.
I have been going through books 1-4 now, and I must say that I sometimes could not get off the book, it's exciting. But many other times I really relent starting a new chapter, especially when I see that the chapter title is "Sansa" or "Catelyn". There are way too much text in which nothing ever happens, nor the monolouge is interesting . Worst of all is the vast number of too-long descriptions of what people are wearing! Or how things look! Got damnit, that's so uninteresting!
To those who say the writing isn't good, I challenge you to write at Martin's level. You'd fail. The different pespectives add depth to the story but I understand that some people might have trouble understanding.
Since so far I read but Game of Thrones, the first book to the series. I wish to note that in no mean I judge the series alltogether. G.R.R. Martin have created an interesting world with lots of likeable charachters, epic story and unique in a sense playing with reader... The problem I have is that it's boring. No, not the story, however overdone and simple, but the narrative. Never have I reade such flat descriptions and emotionless dialouge, not to mention forced expositions... Honestly , the idea of charachter perspective told story with each chapter being presented from pov of different one involved in an event is nice, the execution is less than impressive. If not for the HBO show I would have hard time getting into the presented world. Another thing are all the Deus Ex Machina literaly forcing the plot to continue the intended way. [spoiler] Honestly no one thought that it is odd that before Joffrey there was no other Baratheon of blond hair?[/spoiler] To be honest I am almost sure the whole book series was written from the very first page to be made into a movie or, as it came to be, tv series. HBO patches some holes, adds here, takes away there and makes the story overall better and of course... Puts life into the charachters and dialogue! I hope the other books of the series are better because so far my jaw hurts from yawning.
I can only really use two words to rate this book (you can apply the same two words to the entire series to be truthful) - Over Rated. I have seen people rate this alongside Tolkien or Ursula Le Guin, Martin couldn't and doesn't hold a candle to those writers (nor about 10 others whom are far superior). Try reading the Mistborn Series (Brandon Sanderson) or Malazan Series (Steven Erikson) and then re-assess Martin, I will guarantee you opinion will have changed :)
Game of Thorns is a good book, but it is intro to a bad series. I have many gripes for the book but the biggest and most important one is the singular fault with Eddard Stark. That being when he learns of what the Queen has done. Eddard to this point in the book (the whole book almost) has done the "right thing" no matter how much it hurts himself, family, anyone. At the finally moment when doing the "right thing" would mean justice for his family and protect his family, he doesn't do it. Instead he makes an offer with the Queen instead of exposing her. Martin had a good book and a good beginning to a series until that moment. It went downhill from there, and really is just unreadable.
Gordonfrom Oklahoma, USA
A Game of Thrones, and the rest of the Fire and Ice series, are the finest stories I have read in many years, and I am a prolific reader who enjoys many different categories of literature. After having read Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as the Hobbit a few years ago while the Peter Jackson movies were being progressively released, I am of the opinion that "A Game of Thrones" and the entire Fire and Ice series to this point are several steps above anything Tolkien ever wrote. An added bonus is the result of HBO is doing a great job of bringing the Fire and Ice books to the homes of people who would never consider picking up a 1000 page novel. Anybody who bothers to read each of the books from both writers can count themselves lucky to be able to enjoy such well written literature. For those who have seen the HBO series and enjoyed it so far, you should read A Game of Thrones and decide for yourself if the written material is superior to the theatrical release. I would also put this series above the Harry Potter books and movies.
Read it because of the series on television and am not ashamed. It does include adult scenes, which I thought fitted the atmosphere of the novel and I am a teenager, so it is understandable I would find them more awkward... I didn't. You can't complain about not understanding the novel if you don't read all of it, including the 'boring' parts. All the Tolkien lovers need to broaden their horizons. GRRM isn't trying to be Tolkien, he's an epic writer on his own with his own style.
This is modernity, I guess. The way of narrating a story has certainly changed. Things are about discourse and action, now. "Less plot" and "more character". This is a great epic which is providing nice adaptations. Of course, the plot is very long and, because of this, its quality oscilates sometimes. I myself didn't like the fourth book (the first three books were an amazing experience) and the fifth has been little playful. But this is not about comparing G.R.R.M to Tolkien or Lewis. This is about accepting what this generation is producing and understand it withouth making anacronisms.
I have to say that this is an insult to the genre! Overrated piece of shit!
I have few complaints: The books are filled with far too many subplots, characters and POVs. I wonder why add them when Martin has to kill and burn everything, I found this practice to be rather masochistic, reminiscent of Peakes' Gormenghast trilogy. How much detail is enough and how many time does he has to repeat them? For instance Old Bear's Raven sitting on his shoulder and repeats last word of every sentence he says and he is awarded with corn, Ghost is warm, Bran is crippled, Catelyn is a women, Sansa is a complete fool, Davos has moving his finger less hand and Danerys deserves a slap... oh come on move it along there are so many Sers you get lost in their sigils a type of armor and the type of rotten wine they drink. I liked the story but it's way too long and tiresome to read, endless and repetitive details ruined it. I cannot get past the third book. Overrated.
I would like to point out that the book being reviewed is Game Of Thrones, not the whole series, A Song Of Ice And Fire, which many people seem to be forgetting...
Utter crap. To compare this to Tolkien WHO CREATED THE MODERN FANTASY GENRE is inexcusable and ignorant. Typical of most modern entertainment, it is nothing more than a writer's endless quest for cash and fame. Mediocre everything... at best, the characters, the plot,etc. all same old same old. Sadly after 3 decades as a fan of the fantasy genre I have stopped reading fantasy novels as the genre like so many other things in this modern world have been cheapened and turned to crap. To all those people who love reality TV... you have ruined entertainment in nearly all forms by supporting such drivel.
Eric Showattfrom Australia
People seem to think the reason why the opinion about this series is so divided because the way the author kills off the character and the amount of angst, miseries this series content. While this may seem like a plausible reason, the real reason is actually far more simple. Game of Thrones sucks. Period. Now I'm not here to troll or bash the author - I'm here to review this series honestly. There is no doubt in my mind that GRRM is one of the most prolific writer of our time. His world building ability is on par with Tolkien, and the character he has created are very realistic and interesting. One can almost read Game of throne like an alternative history if we forget all the magical element within the story. The political motivation of each character are very well defined and the consequences for failure in this series are heavy - you are lucky if you managed to die a clean death, as is the case with Ned Stark. He died, sure, but there are many character who ended up wishing they were dead but couldn't quite manage it because their tormentors prevent them from doing so. There is beauty in this book. Beauty in the finality of death and the cruelty of living. However... I would like to ask every reviewer and every reader of Game of Thrones, what is the actual plot of this series? Lots of things happen, sure. You get loads and loads of characters. Each of them have their own arc. Some gets killed off, some don't, but are any of them truly relevant? Just consider this for a second and you will see what an appalling story the series is - it's not actually a story. It's many story woven into one book, like a game that contains several character sheet and no main plot whatsoever. Things unfold, but it's just things that happens. If I were to describe what this story is about, I would simply say "It's a book about a bunch of things that happened in a land called Westeros", and that's pretty much what the series has become by the end of the third book. Now I will go on to say that the first book is simply breath taking. There is actually a plot, and the characters pov are consistent and - most importantly - relevant. You get the honorable idiot Ned Stark who is trying to figure out why Jon Arryn was killed, while his wife and kids are trying to figure out who pushed Bran off the balcony. The two conspiracies tied together, because what Bran witnessed was the key to Ned Stark's hunt for the reason why Jon Arryn is killed and why he is becoming involved in the first place. The subplot with Dany? That's just the icing on the cake, like something that you can either read or ignore completely. The tradition continues on to the second book, after Ned stark's tragedy, the land is divided and the war happens. We see the brutal aftermath, we see the people fighting for the Iron Throne. While the plot began to dwindle after the first book, the characters are presented with one goal - that is to fight for the Iron Throne, with a subplot of getting their loved ones back to safety. However, after the third book everything went downhill. The war is more or less resolved. The winner and losers are already evident. Major character are killed off, new ones are introduced but none of them are coherent anymore. Everything literally becomes "just shit that happens", and the entire series has become a wait for "something to happen". And that's why the series has become such a disappointment in so many eyes. If anyone has to ball to say GRRM can't write for a damn, they have no business in writing or creative industry in general. However, if anyone says reading A Song of Ice and Fire is becoming increasingly pointless, then you have my sympathy. I've no doubt that things are going to change now that Dany and Tyrion is coming back to the mainland to reclaim their home, but as it stands today, Game of Thrones is a massive disappointment that has a strong beginning but poorly executed plot throughout the middle.
Having just ploughed through the final published book in the series to date, I can only echo all of the sentiments previously expressed by some of the more erudite reviewers and I definitely fall into "the don't waste your time camp". I did enjoyed the first HBO series in a superficial way but was disappointed with series 2. Talk about milking it, I for one won't be giving the man who reminds me of a character in Lord of The Rings any more of my hard earned dosh. Nuff said!
This book is full of all the emotions and elements; this book is a journey full of violence, treachery, loyalty honesty, love, families, romance, conspiracies, back stabbing and much more. Read the complete review of the book - GAME OF THRONES on my blog - http://manpreetkaur93.blogspot.in/2013/03/book-review-game-of-thrones.html
I made to halfway through book five, and I just could not finish the book. I have read The Lord of the Rings, and I am not adverse to very long series (The Wheel of Time is still going and I have no qualms with that), but Game of Thrones is SO overrated I can scarcely believe it. The first three books are alright. Minus a few incredibly laughable and cringey sex scenes and some truly awful characters there are a few interesting scenes (one every fifty pages maybe). I bought them and I do not feel like it was a complete waste of time, but really I do not feel like I have read something exceptional, just an average book, the kind that I have read once and will probably forget after a few years. The fourth book however... I can honestly say I have never found a story so dull. The action is sporadic at best, and dispersed so thinly between sections equivalent to three smaller novels that it really did not feel worth searching for them. The description lacks originality, the characters are unrealistically extreme (and generally just quite irritating), and what few interesting characters Martin did start out with are long gone by the fourth book, lost to unrealistic shifts in character or pointless and unengaging death scenes that are not in any way emotionally affecting. Maybe it is just my personal taste, but really? I am shocked at how much hype this has got. I thought it was just an embarrassment to read, and I am giving my copy to charity as soon as I can.
I studied literature and know that some of the best books ever written did not develop stories, characters and endings the way the audience wants or deserves. It's not a matter of a compromise. However, these days, for the fact of globalisation we as readers want to think that the book, the author and the reader are one big factory. I prefer waiting for each book sequence in suspense, even if it does not satisfy my expectations. JRRM's Song of Ice and Fire in my opinion is simply amazing, and it's definitively not easy to read. It's like an expanding storm that swirls the characters and plots in concentric circles. Consumes time for sure, and if you think it's too long - you should read shorter books. If you think it's overly descriptive - you're missing the beauty of visualisation of every spot and object and character, when you should be grateful to JRRM for letting you see what he is seeing. It's not a one-read-book and will show you something new every time you reread.
I enjoyed reading it. And i will finish it. This is mainly because i believe the story has enormous potential to end , and i quote the great academic J Clarkson , on ' a bombshell'. But i do have to critisize a bit. The book is frustratingly long. To long. 5 books would have sufficed. At this point i'm acctually just hoping jrrm doesnt screw up the ending his readerers/fans deserve.
Jonathanfrom United States
This is a great and wonderful read, from start to finish it keeps you guessing and gets you involved with each and every character, so much so that you find yourself falling in love with each one of them, even the not so nice ones, and if you see a bad rating it's simply because that person did not get it or understand the plot.
Anonfrom Sydney, Australia
It's not that the author is trying to say that good people die, it's just that a lot of people really don't get what goes on. It's the most cunning and luckiest that survive. The characters do tend to change quickly from time to time, which would level my rating down a bit, and some of the characters I love to hate. It is unpredictable and the last two books have been a droll, again lowering my rating. Overall, it's a great fantasy book, and better in quality than a lot of other fantasy novels. The lore is immersive and detailed, though some parts unecessary. The book may have started out as Lancaster vs York (as in War of the Roses, which is what the books are based on) but now it's turned into a massive fight for dominance over land and power, with no one exactly safe and leaving a lot of hype. Do hope Martin picks up in the next book and hurries it up a bit. And I don't get why people say the good guys always lose... most of the characters are grey and do what they believe is right. The good guys occasionally triumph. For the people saying that they want to argue why it's not good, wish there was a comment section.
Captain Frogbert, you a clearly a moron who is obsessed with LOTR. I really don't even know where to start with how wrong you are on every point you made in your review of this book. If you are really that upset with this book you should just go read LOTR another eleventy twelve times and leave the rest of us alone.
OMG I have just finished the blooming lot of them and I have to exactly the same confusion, I am utterly exasperated that barely a plot line has been concluded... The whole thing after the quite good Clash of Kings has become an utter nonsense, time I will never get back.
It's ok. He's not a particularly good writer, in terms of characterisation (some of the pov writing of the younger characters is execrable) and the book is pointlessly long. I have severe difficulty in accepting that any reader who gave this book 10 stars has seriously thought at all about the possibility that a 15 year old could successfully lead a hardened army into battle without a viceroy pulling he tactical strings or that a 4 year old would be capable of being the master of a a wild wolf... Ok it's fantasy, but that doesn't mean it has to be total b.s. If it wasn't for Tyrion the book would stink quite badly. Convolution is no substitute for good writing, by the way. Good for fantasy writing but it ain't great... Watch the series instead, still contains a teeth- gratingnumber of 'yes, my liege' type conversations, but again, Tyrion saves the day.
I am outraged at the position of this series on the top 100 list. This should be at least second (the Malazan Book Of The Fallen is also AWSOME). Out of the many, many books that I have read these are my favourite: the many interwoven storylines are well thoughtout and presented. The books set a new level of fantasy, portraying a brutal, gritty and mature story with many hundreds of realistic characters. There are no good vs evil here, no super powered imortal heroes. Martin is a master writer, he leaves you laughing and weeping and it is extremly easy to loose yourselve in his world. Once I got the first book (purchased on a whim) I was hooked and had read the whole series on the inside of a month. READ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Robertfrom United States
The War of the Roses + Genghis Kahn + Saturday afternoon monster movie = A Game of Thrones... (Lancaster vs. York... Lannister vs. Stark... really??) The book was ok... but there was nothing in it that I haven't read or seen before...
I am sorry to say that I have read five volumes, while my frustration has been steadily increasing. All the plots are still hanging in the air. The time I spent reading these books feels like a waste of time, and I can absolutely not recommend them to anybody.
Incredible. Simply incredible. Best high fantasy series I have ever read.
Boring. Just boring. Nothing ever happens. It's not that