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Song of Ice and Fire I: A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin

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Author: George R. R. Martin / Genre: Sci-Fi / Fantasy

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      13.03.2014 21:38
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      Brilliant!!!

      Game of thrones is a fantasy novel but one with a difference. It is extremely clever, brutal and funny. The book has a creamy cover with a picture of a dragon head on the front. The author is George R. R. Martin and there are almost 800 pages in this book. You can buy it for £4 from Amazon.

      Ok so there are the facts over and done with. Now to the story. The basic premise is that Kings Landing is the capital city of the fictional island of Westeros. In Kings Landing is an iron throne on which the King sits. The King is Robert Baratheon who travels to the North to enlist his friend Eddard Stark to become essentially his right hand man.

      Now the King is well loved by many apart from his Queen Cersei Lannister who has her own scheming ways about her to take over the kingdom. Her brother Tyrion is the imp who is quick witted and constantly using his brains to get ahead in life.

      We then have Daenerys Targaryen who believes she has the rights to the Iron throne but she is across the sea being sold to the Dothraki.

      Now these are just a few of the characters but we get to learn about their families and why they are all intertwined. There are simply too many stories to put on here but the basic is that there is a big secret that the previous hand of the King was killed to protect and this book focuses on Eddard who is slowly learning this secret.

      Each chapter of the book is from a different characters perspective so you hear from Eddard Stark, Catelyn Stark, Arya Stark, Sansa Stark, Bran Stark and Tyrion Lannister. Each is written slightly differently depending on their character so for instance Eddard is extremely serious, Tyrion extremely witty and Bran extremely young.

      It is a fantastic way of telling the story as you get to love all of the characters. Martin writes well as all of them and doing it this way really takes you into the story as trust me alot goes on which would be massive spoilers to put on here.

      My favourite character has to be Arya who is the cheeky tomboy daughter who is always getting into mischief. I love her!

      Now I think you know from my review that I love this book. I find it easy to read and the stories just keep getting better with everything explained well and enough mysteries to keep you reading. There is one teeny part I hate though and that is how many names are introduced. Now I had watched the show before reading the book so I knew who was important but if you havent it can be quite hard to keep up as some paragraphs introduce you to around ten names when really only one is important.

      I really do recommend these books though if you like medieval fantasy drama. It is quite brutal though as a lot of carnage happens and it can be quite hard sometimes imagining because the children in the book are espcially very young. It is well worth reading though as it is utterly amazing and compelling and you will not be able to wait to read the rest of the series.

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      21.05.2012 15:34
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      The start of an epic fantasy series - heaven

      In 2011, a new show began on Sky, called Game of Thrones. Starring Sean Bean, it looked like an absorbing fantasy epic, yet as with many shows I forgot to watch the first episode and never managed to catch up. Yet the show brought to my attention the series of novels upon which it was based - George R. R. Martin's A Song Of Ice And Fire.

      The first novel in the series is A Game of Thrones. Set in a land called Westeros, known as the Seven Kingdoms, it follows a number of characters through the beginning of troubled times. The main characters are the Stark family, with Eddard, or Ned, at its head as Lord of Winterfell. He is an old friend of the King, Robert Baratheon, and is summoned to serve him following the death of his right-hand man, Jon Arryn, the King's Hand. But Jon's death may have been no accident, and the chief suspects are the Lannisters, family of Queen Cersei.

      The opening of A Game of Thrones sets the tone for the novel. In addition to the politics, there are other problems facing the Seven Kingdoms, which are only perceived by a few and dismissed as myth by others. The Seven Kingdoms are protected by the brothers of the Night Watch who guard the Wall, and they know the danger and evil which lurks on the other side. Winter is coming, after a ten year summer.

      The opening of the novel introduces us to some passing characters as they come face to face with what is on the other side of the Wall. Yet what is interesting is that this is the only time in the novel when this is seen - the fear of what is there is felt by other characters throughout, but they remain unaware of what is truly out there. We, the readers, have a greater knowledge than the characters. Martin uses the introduction of A Game of Thrones to set the scene for presumably the whole series, yet it may be some time before what is revealed in this introduction becomes a central part of the story.

      The main storyline of A Game of Thrones is complex and multi-layered, with a different character leading each chapter, all written in the third person. This is mainly the Stark family, although there are some others. The story is completely absorbing, and utterly compelling - each character never says enough, so you want their section to continue. But then you get involved in the aspect of the story being told by the next character, and the same thing happens with them.

      The world of A Song Of Ice And Fire has a medieval flavour to it. The Stark family are lords of Winterfell, their seat being the castle of Winterfell in the north. Life is not easy for them, or for the people living in settlements around them. The capital, King's Landing, is different but still medieval. This is the seat of the king, and while he lives in reasonable opulence, the town is crowded, dirty and dangerous. He hosts tournaments with jousting for his knights, watched over by the king's guard who keep order in the town. All the settings are painted so vividly by Martin's words that they seem to jump out of the page, but the sense of place is helped even further by his writing style. His style is at one with the story and place he has created, with characters talking in a style which would not be out of place in medieval England. Even the third person narrative passages are in a similar style, which helps transport you to the Seven Kingdoms.

      For me, there is an obvious comparison to make for A Game of Thrones. I'm sure this has been made many times but I will make it anyway - The Lord Of The Rings. The most famous fantasy epic of all time is also set in a different yet recognisable world, and has the same medieval feel to it. J. R. R. Tolkien's writing immediately takes the reader into Middle Earth and leaves you there to lose yourself in the story.

      While I am reluctant to say anything along the lines of George R. R Martin being the new Tolkien, it seems inevitable that A Song Of Ice And Fire will be set alongside The Lord Of The Rings for comparison. The good news is that it comes out of the comparison looking very good. That doesn't mean that Martin's work is better, but simply that it holds its own and can stand beside Tolkien without looking weak. I would not go so far as to say A Game of Thrones is equal to The Lord Of The Rings, but it is an excellent work which fans of Tolkien will not be disappointed by.

      So, you can guess the conclusion to this review, but I'll write it anyway. I loved A Game of Thrones. As a longtime fan of The Lord Of The Rings, I am delighted to have found another epic like it, and can't wait to continue reading the series.

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        30.11.2011 10:54
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        Trouble and strife erupt in a fantasy kingdom not far removed from our own world!

        Anyone who watches Sky cannot possibly have escaped all the publicity that surrounded the recent small screen adaptation of George.R.R.Martin's Game Of Thrones that recieved rave reviews and featured a full star cast. The success of that show meant that a second season was commissioned almost before the first episode had even finished airing but those left wanting at the show's final climatic episode need not gnash their teeth because where better to go until the next season airs but back to the original source material?

        A Game Of Thrones is the first novel in Martin's long-running and epic fantasy series, A Song Of Ice And Fire, and first introduces us to the characters that form the basis for the whole story. The North is guarded by a vast wall of ice that protects those that lie within its walls from all that lies beyond. But now something is stirring beyond the wall and suddenly the diminshing forces of the Black Watch that guard the wall no longer seem enough to protect the lands from evil. Jon Snow, bastard son of Lord Eddard Stark is sent North to join the Black Watch but soon finds himself on the verge of a startling discovery; the legendary and ill-famed White Walkers are returning and soon no one will be safe!

        Meanwhile, in his home of Winterfell, Lord Stark has his own problems when he is called to become The Kings Hand; long seen as the administratir for justice throughout The Seven Kingdoms. Learning his predecessor was murdered is just the beginning, it is when he learns why Jon Arryn was killed that he puts his own life in danger.

        Whilst he is away, his wife nurses their injured son who lies crippled after falling from the wall of a high tower he had been climbing. But when she learns that he may well have been pushed and that someone means to hurt her blood kin, she quickly decides to take matters into her own hands.....

        This is the book that first puts all the game pieces on the board and sets the wheels in motion that will control the theme and mood of all the later novels. Anyone expecting a bit of gentle sword and sorcery should probably step away now because this is a complicated and convoluted story with more twists than a dragon's tail! What we get here is just the beginning of events; what follows becomes even more twisted as friendships crumble and betrayal waits at every turn and cros-roads. This is the story of a kingdom in peril and anyone who watched the recent adaptation may have an inkling what to expect but trust me, what you saw on screen was nothing compared to what you get here in the books!

        People who read my reviews regularly may recall that my favourite author of all time is Robin Hobb sdimply because her fantasy novels are so sublime. George.R.R.Martin is the only other author who even comes close to her brilliance in this genre for me!

        He is an awesome word-scribe and Game Of Thrones is just the first piece of this epic, unforgettable masterpeice!

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          13.09.2011 19:30

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          a definate must read for fantasy fans

          I only discovered the book Song of ice and Fire after seeing the new tv series A game of thrones. It is an incrediable story following the ins and outs of a number of noble familes, bands of brothers and wildlings. Each chapter is wriiten from the perspective of a number of main charcters, which enables the reader to truely connect with the charcters as it gives great background historys and events of each character which slowly unfold the more you get to know each one, as well as a great deal of information about the way each charcter lives, their thoughts, motives, memories and suspitions of each other. It also encourages you to read on as you may have to read through a few other charcters chapters to pick up on the one you wanted to get back to, by which time you are now engaged in somelse story. You can expect, love lust, blood, fears and tears in this first book. Martin has a real talent for engaging the reader, and pulling on your heartstrings. A truely truely brilliant read.

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          11.05.2011 20:56

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          A fabulous fantasy novel

          I discovered this book when I found out, about a year ago, that there was going to be a much anticipated pilot episode produced for a new series called 'Game Of Thrones' (which now happens to be a pretty popular TV series, hurray!) Plus it was also recommended to me by several of my friends and so I had to read it. I was not disappointed!

          This is such a fabulous book! The characters are believable and complex, there is a whole new world which is varied and becomes so real that you could believe that you are actually there. You are kept on the edge of your seat as what you believe to be true one moment might be turned on its head the next therefore this book definitely requires some focus.

          There are several narrators throughout the novel and each chapter is from a different point of view which allows the novel to jump from location to location. There are no really overt fantasy elements in most of the book which is particularly interesting and gives more of a real feel to it.

          It really is a great read, it is rather long but it is certainly worth a read. Most of all you will actually grow to care for cetain characters, others you will love to hate which is a good sign of a great novel in my opinion.

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          17.04.2011 13:47
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          A fantasy novel at the top of the genre's premier league

          Eighteen months or so ago I found a raggedy old copy of this book in my local book exchange centre (I live in Japan) and decided to give it ago. I'm always slow at starting big books and it took me a couple of tries to get through the prologue but once I was in I was hooked. I'm a pretty slow reader but I finished this one in a couple of weeks, had read the rest of the series by the end of the year and joined the ranks of other fans waiting anxiously for the fifth volume to find its way on to the market (Martin's been writing it for five years now).

          Quite frankly, this is fantasy for sure but with a realism missing from anything I've ever seen before. I grew up on the flashing swords and magic of Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Ray Feist, and David Gemmil, but this adds a whole new dimension. Characters swear like troopers (I've never seen the "c- word" in fantasy before), they have sex (some of them a lot), and characters don't just die, they get battered, mutilated, deformed. Martin gives no quarter, and the result is a book (and subsequent series) of refreshingly real fantasy. The world is fairly similar to regular fantasy. The big cities, the evil monsters in the ice wastes (kept out by a 210m high wall of ice), the marauding army across the sea. The characters range from kids to kings and swordsmen, evil queens, jealous brothers, bitter rivals and close friends waiting to be separated. But like no fantasy I've ever read they just jump off the page. Some characters are wonderfully loveable - brave Jon Snow, the cheeky dwarf Tyrion, boyish Arya. Others are tough and heroic like Eddard (Ned) Stark, or irritating (Sansa), slimy but somehow cool (Jaime) annoyingly buffoonish (Robert) detestible (Joffrey), and I deny any male reader to not love Queen Cercei after reading this. You hate her but desire her at the same time.

          A big point of George RR Martin's style is with his utter disregard to the permanancy of his characters. You can read most fantasy and see exactly who will survive, who will be sacrificed, who will suffer a heroic death, right from the very start. Not so with Martin, characters (even, perhaps especially, main ones) die with suddenness that its impossible to predict. You're reading it thinking, "Surely he's isn't going to -----, someone will save him. Oh. He's dead." This can surprise you but at times disappoint you, when, say, a hated character gets his comeuppance far less gruesomely than he perhaps deserves. Some favorite characters survive, of course, but these are the ones that suffer most over the course of the series. Hands and noses are lopped off, faces burned, whole families murdered, best friends slaughtered, etc. It's brutal but extremely effective.

          And the last note on the series as a whole is that your attitude towards a character can change as sudden as they can die. One minute you can't stand Jaime, for example, the next he's the hero and you're egging him on. Sansa goes through books one and two as the most annoying, stuck up child you can imagine. By the time she's been through the wringer though, you're rooting for her. On to the plot. In this book, its not so far removed from a regular fantasy. Good (but drunken) King Robert is in charge twenty years or so after the great families united to overthrow the old mad king, Aerys Targaryen. A tentative alliance between the big families exists, but pretty soon Robert is dead (the only spoiler, I promise!), the best man to replace him, Ned, is in entirely the wrong place, and a power struggle begins between the big families of Lannister and Stark. The new king, Joffrey (is he Robert's son or isn't he?) is detestibly inept and under the "guidance" of his mother, Queen Cersei, goes about destroying whatever allegiances his father had failed to, while Ned Stark goes about trying to hold things together. Meanwhile, an army of demonic creatures is stirring to the north, and the exiled daughter of the former king is raising an army in a foreign land to the east.

          Martin's attention to detail might not be as great as Tolkien's, but its pretty good. Big Houses have mottoes (the Starks' is "Winter is coming") while I liked the way bastard children get a surname related to where they grew up in the world, (Snow, Rivers, etc). The world is well developed and just different enough to most fantasy (seasons that can last years etc.) to set it apart. Also, Martin's lack of reliance on magic to move things along is refreshing. It exists, but instead there is a huge amount of political wranglings, especially in the King's court at King's Landing which shows how intricately Martin plotted everything. All these great things though make it very much fantasy for adults. The sex isn't just sex, its rape, incest, prostitution, and the violence isn't just swordsmen hacking each other up, it's kids getting mutilated, women getting slaughtered, and pets getting killed(!). It really isn't suitable for young children, but for adult fantasy fans, it's a must read.

          I would definitely read this again. In fact, with Martin stalled on four out of a potential seven books, I'm going to have to to get my fix for Westeros, because nothing else I've read in the genre is nearly as good. ..

          Also on ciao under headofwords

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            22.12.2010 18:21
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            This is a tale of epic proportions of plotting, wit, love, hate and strength. Not to be missed.

            George RR Martin is a fantastic author and the "Song of Ice and Fire" series is amazing (I have read the first three)!

            "A Game of Thrones" introduces the characters of this clever tale of human struggle, morality and huge territorial divides in such an ingenius manner. Martin has given certain characters their own chapters, therefore the point of view is constantly changing. But not once do the naratives overlap. The time scale is continuous; you may leave one character on his death bed and then join another on an escape mission, not knowing the outcome of the previous until their paths cross or the chapter returns to them, maybe months later.

            There are twists and turns like no other book in this genre. Martin's style is refreshing and one very easy to get into, as it did not remind me of any other book I've read. I would also say that this would be a lovely book to read if you are just getting into fantasy, as it is not demanded of you to jump head first into a hugely fantastical, hard to believe world. Yet it is clever enough to keep the experienced fantasy reader highly entertained, proven by the award sit has won and been nominated for : '97 Locus Award and was nominated for the '97 World Fantasy Award, and the '98 Nebula Award.

            I absolutely love "A Game of Thrones" and the rest in the Song of Ice and Fire Series. I laughed, cried, was heartbroken and pleasantly surprised.

            I would highly recommend this book ... and make sure you read it before the TV series comes out next year!

            The only problem would be with George RR Martin is that it seems he is quite laid back... the fourth book was published in 2005 and nothing has been seen since (however I have heard rumours that Book 5 just may be out somtime in 2011), very disappointing as the series is great!

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            16.09.2010 13:43
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            Fantastic fantasy novels - a must for fantasy fans everywhere!

            I have always loved Fantasy books, being a fan of the likes of David Eddings, Margaret Weiss & Tracey Hickman, Tad Williams, and scores of other great fantasy authors.

            These books are an enthralling read, be prepared to get sucked into this fantasy world and follow the shock twists and turns of the story. Never before have I found myself so surprised by plot twists, and wishing that I had no need to sleep so that I could read the books faster!

            The book is set in a fantasy world, and follows the stories of several different characters, mostly from the viewpoint of various families at war. Although many of the threads are disparate they do begin to weave together the further the books progress.

            The author creates a whole host of characters you become to love and/or hate, and each time you begin to think you have sussed out how this story will end your theories are dashed.

            These books keep you guessing, and caring about characters and their fates throughout. Rarely have I read books with as much thought and care put into its key players, and their world.

            A slight warning for the faint-hearted - there are some scenes in the book that some may find offensive, but it always adds to the story, and is well written.

            The books come in a 6 part series, although it is currently up to book 4 with a planned release date for book 5 in 2011. This is quite irritating as when you have finished the latest book you will be dying to read the next - unfortunately so far all books have been very slow progress!

            If you love fantasy you will LOVE these books!!

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              05.06.2006 09:36
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              Intelligent, fast paced, highly readable fantasy

              When I was a teen I used to read fantasy books more or less exclusively. I devoured pretty much everything on offer from David Eddings, Raymond E Feist, Stephen Donaldson, Terry Brooks, David Gemmell, and others besides. If a book featured sword wielding, manly men, striding lustily through grungy medieval worlds populated by elves, dwarfs, giants, wizards, and, of course, beautiful princesses and bawdy wenches, the likelihood is I would buy it and read it. I loved the escapism and the heroics. But, in my early twenties, with the onset of what I thought at the time was maturity, I gradually gave up on the genre in favour of pithier material that I hoped would improve my mind. As such, it's been years since I've read a fantasy book that was written by neither Tolkein nor Hugh Cook. However, recently I have, I know not why, developed a hankering to revisit the genre.

              And so I came to pick up 'A Game Of Thrones' by George RR Martin, attracted as muck by the cover as anything else. This is the first part of a mind bogglingly vast fantasy epic, titled 'A Song of Ice and Fire'. Consisting of five books, the whole cycle, assuming the four that follow match the brick-like girth of the first, will clock in at about 3500 pages. That's well over three times as long as 'The Lord of the Rings'. Goodness knows fantasy authors are seldom inclined to brevity, but here the author appears to be attempting the kind of grandiosity that forces one to wonder if his ambition is hubristic. But, if at first glance the whole series might appear as indigestible as a twenty four course meal, the first book on its own makes for a palatable starter.

              'A Game of Thrones' details a troubled spell in the history of the fantasy land of Westoras. Following a violent usurpation of the throne twenty years previously, the realm is ruled by Robert, the once mighty warrior who led the rebellion that ousted the former (mad) king, now, after twenty years borne down by the weight of the crown, gone to seed and living only for hunting and wenching. King Robert's closest advisor has recently died an unexpected and suspicious death, so he turns to his old friend, honest and honourable Ned Stark, and asks him to leave his family seat in the north of the kingdom, and travel to the capital to be the King's right hand. Against his better judgement Ned agrees, and is soon caught up in intrigue and danger as he discovers a shocking secret that puts his life, those of his family, and the peace of the realm in grave jeopardy.

              Meanwhile, outside of the Kingdom, storm clouds of war gather. Across the ocean, in the East the children of the deposed (mad) king forge formidable alliances and plot their revenge. Worse, in the cold and savage north, beyond the great ice wall, the deeply creepy Others and their undead minions have emerged from the frozen hell in which they have rested for millennia, awaiting the coming of the winter and the long night.

              So, plot-wise, there's plenty going on. And not only is there plenty of action, there are a few surprises as well. Just when it seems Martin is leading the reader down a well trodden path, he’ll strike off in a different direction. Heroes actually make mistakes, and more surprisingly, actually end up having to suffer the consequences. Overly inquisitive kids don’t get off scot-free. Good deeds end up being punished. In short, while Martin clearly wants us to pick sides when the throne finally comes into play, he still manages to create a shadow of doubt about whether everything’s all going to turn out all right in the end.

              It’s an eminently readable book as well. Each chapter of is written from the perspective of one of eight characters - six of them members of the Stark family, the others Daenerys, the exiled daughter of the deposed (mad) king, and Tryion Lannister, the dwarfish brother of the queen. The Stark men, honest Ned and Jon are honourable and heroic, certainly, but also flawed enough to seem real. Tyrion Lannister is a cunning imp whose small, twisted frame and shameless desire to avoid personal harm deflate effectively the puffed up and hypocritical notions of chivalric honour clung to by the knights of the realm. Traditionally a hero in a fantasy novel will tend to stride into battle like Arthur with Excalibur, certain to slay his opponent without taking a scratch. In this book, when heroes fight, whoever they are, they and the reader know that dismemberment and death are very real possibilities.

              With as many female voices as male, the role of the women in the story is never underplayed, which makes for another pleasant change. Tolkein was no feminist, and few of his imitators have ever been renowned for burning bras. Female characters in fantasy tend to be either placid, subservient princesses, or else feisty tomboy princesses who want to play with swords, but invariably end up in more trouble than they can handle. then wind up subservient and married to the handsome chap who saves them and teaches them how to be real women. But Martin’s women come to life, and, while Sansa and Arya may appear at first glance to fall into the princess and tomboy archetypes respectively, they soon break out of their moulds and go in unexpected directions.

              The variety of perspectives is all very effective and clever, and quite original for a fantasy novel, although perhaps the trope isn't used as well as it might have been. Martin doesn't, for example, offer us the same events from two different viewpoints, allowing us the opportunity to look for the truth in separate subjective accounts. Neither does he allow us into the minds of the truly nasty characters. Queen Cersei, the Lady Macbeth of the piece, is a hissable villainess, but how much more interesting might it have been to allow us to delve into her psychology and see what all the incest, hate and murderous venom were doing to her?
              Still, it's churlish to complain, as Martin has actually attempted something I don’t recall having seen before in the genre, and has carried it off very well indeed.

              I think a lot of the reason I liked this book so much is that while this is unmistakably a fantasy land, it is based on a good historical reconstruction of what we know of life in the early middle ages. There is no innocent concept of the One True King predestined to rule – the King has to work to keep his throne against the machinations of his underlings. Chivalry and knightly mercy amount, in the most part, to the rich and powerful in the land not killing each other unless they really, really want to, and only then if they can get away with it. Knights are kidnapped and ransomed to their families for profit as often as for honour. The point is made that, while the Kings and lords feast, fight, and, er, hunt, and reckon themselves very important indeed, the vast majority of their people don’t care what they do as long as they don’t burn their farms and drag their sons off to war. (Which is, of course, what they end up doing.)

              Now, I suspect it’s rather silly of me to ask for social realism in a fantasy book, but I happen to be of the opinion that the best fantasy accommodates the ridiculous (dragons, scary faeries from the North, giants) by building as solid a logical framework as possible on which to hang all the magic and monsters. By starting with the facts and extrapolating from there how direwolves, the dead who walk, and magic swords might have changed history, he’s created a far more satisfying (for me, anyway) diversion than is offered by those who just write about some brainless oaf with a big sword and a claim to the throne blundering from scrap to scrap with an increasingly scary array of monsters before winning it all and bedding the princess at the end.Add to that the fact that the story is peppered with bad language, violence and (fairly) explicit sex, and the impression is of a book that is by a sophisticated writer if not necessarily seeking a mature audience, not bending over backward to accommodate an immature one.

              Anyway. I fear I’ve now tragically over-analysed a book which, like any fantasy, is intended as nothing more than an opportunity for enjoyable escapism. I suspect this might be because I’m still slightly ashamed of myself for actually going back to a genre that proper literary snobbishness would have me forget, and therefore want to justify he experience as having actual intellectual merit. But regardless of my pathetic hang-ups, this is a first class fantasy book. That means that, while I wouldn’t attempt to recommend it on its merits to someone who isn’t a fan of the genre, It’s left me with no cause to regret having picked it up, and even gives me hope that fantasy books in general might have developed a bit more nous while I was away. And I’m definitely going to be buying the sequel, A Clash of Kings.

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                03.11.2001 14:14
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                I discovered George R>R> Martin whilst browsing through my local WH Smiths and it was on offer, as a huge fan of Eddings, Feist, etc I decided it to give it a go. Well I am now hooked on the whole series.! The book itself is written in an extremely original and innovative style. Rather than focusing on one character and their interaction with others, it takes one charactr a chapter and go's through their adventures. There is Lord Eddard Stark, the Warden of the North, his wife and their children, Rickon, Robb, Bran, Arya and Sansa who is to marry the incest-gotten, half-mad Prince Joffrey Lannister. Arya, Eddard, Sansa travel to Casterly Rock for the wedding where Eddard is betrayed. To tell you more would ruin the story!! Other characters include Tyrion Lannister, the hunchback deformed uncle of Joffrey. The displaced Targaryen siblings who are obsessed with Dragonstone and the Dragon family (for all you die-hard fans out there, there are indeed a couple of dragons!) These are the main characters whos adventures you discuss, but there are lots more that you encounter. Martins story-telling is fantastic and the break-up of the characters into seperate chapters make for complusive reading, a real page turner. You do really feel for the characters. My personal favourites include Arya, Daenrys Targaryen and Bran. It is a true fantasy novel, knights and fighting, supernatural happenings, betrayel, mad kings and of course, dragons. The story goes that Martin did not want to put dragons in as he thought they were a bit cliched, but his wife insisted on it! You have to be aware, however. that even though it is a good story in itself, it is part of a series, so it will cost you a few pounds to get to the end of the story. I am currently waiting for Book 3, Part Two of A Song of Fire and Ice, and hopefully that will be the end of the story, but if its as good as the rest I wont be disappointed. But do bear in mind ther
                e are are 4 books all togther and at £6 a piece its not cheap. A must for all good fantasy fans.

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                  15.12.2000 23:13

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                  The similarity of middle initials to the great J RR Tolkien was what drew me initially to George RR Martin's first book (from the Song of Ice and Fire series). This is where the similarity ends.... Having finished this book in record time, I was gagging for the sequel - this book was so difficult to put down! Each chapter is dedicated to one of the many, deep and diverse characters and the story is woven using each character's point of view and the events they are aware of or involved in. In a very clever way, Martin alllows the story to knit together without giving too much away, so when certain events happen (and boy, do they happen!), they come as a surprise, or even as a shock! Martin certainly pulls no punches and is not afraid to deal with moral issues that are not normally written about in fantasy novels. I suppose a minus could be that there are a lot of characters...some people may think too many characters. But each one is very different, has his/her place in the story and it was not hard to sympathise with them and genuinely care for what happens to them. Or conversely, really despise them and what them to have a bad ending! Well recommended - get this book now!

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                  03.08.2000 18:58
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                  The first installment of what i hope will turn out to be one of fantasy's greatest series ever, A Game of Thrones is the work of George R.R. Martin. The first book of "A Song of Ice and Fire," it is without doubt, masterfully written. Background: The book is set in medieval times with Martin himself admitting that he was influenced by medieval England. Westeros, the land on which most of the events in the book takes place, has recovered from a war that took place close to two decades ago. Staid friends and heroes of the war Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark return to their respective lands, the former inheriting the throne, the latter returning to the North. The Book begins by revealing disturbing events that are occuring beyond the Wall (a structure much like the Great Wall of China)... Written Style: The events in the book are presented to the reader from the perspectives of different characters, much like the Wheel of Time series. However, Martin is not like Jordan. He forgoes the microscopic detail that Jordan adopts, yet presents a world more vivid, more intriguing than the Wheel of Time series. The characters are portrayed realistically... readers can actually relate to each ones weaknesses and strengths. The pacing of the book is also well done. Jordan tends to plod along, spending several hundred pages going nowhere. Martin pushes and pulls the pace according to the needs of the story. The outcome is a very satisfying read. The user does not feel that things are too slow nor too fast. Plot: Suffice to say, it bl**dy well rocks! Martin does not hold from killing of main characters, which serves only to increase the realism of this world. The plot twists are there, unexpected events that will rend the heart and surprise the reader. Overall: So good it hurts!

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