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A Game of Thrones 4-Book Bundle: A Song of Ice and Fire Series: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows

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George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series has become, in many ways, the gold standard for modern epic fantasy. Martin—dubbed the "American Tolkien" by Time magazine—has created a world that is as rich and vital as any piece of historical fiction, set in an age of knights and chivalry and filled with a plethora of fascinating, multidimensional characters that you George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series has become, in many ways, the gold standard for modern epic fantasy. Martin—dubbed the "American Tolkien" by Time magazine—has created a world that is as rich and vital as any piece of historical fiction, set in an age of knights and chivalry and filled with a plethora of fascinating, multidimensional characters that you love, hate to love, or love to hate as they struggle for control of a divided kingdom. It is this very vitality that has led it to be adapted as the HBO miniseries “Game of Thrones.” This bundle includes the following novels: A GAME OF THRONES A CLASH OF KINGS A STORM OF SWORDS A FEAST FOR CROWS


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George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series has become, in many ways, the gold standard for modern epic fantasy. Martin—dubbed the "American Tolkien" by Time magazine—has created a world that is as rich and vital as any piece of historical fiction, set in an age of knights and chivalry and filled with a plethora of fascinating, multidimensional characters that you George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series has become, in many ways, the gold standard for modern epic fantasy. Martin—dubbed the "American Tolkien" by Time magazine—has created a world that is as rich and vital as any piece of historical fiction, set in an age of knights and chivalry and filled with a plethora of fascinating, multidimensional characters that you love, hate to love, or love to hate as they struggle for control of a divided kingdom. It is this very vitality that has led it to be adapted as the HBO miniseries “Game of Thrones.” This bundle includes the following novels: A GAME OF THRONES A CLASH OF KINGS A STORM OF SWORDS A FEAST FOR CROWS

30 review for A Game of Thrones 4-Book Bundle: A Song of Ice and Fire Series: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows

  1. 4 out of 5

    Recynd

    After putting off starting this series for a month or so (I mean, really, these books are WHOPPERS), I decided I was finally ready to give it a whirl. Now, with more than half of the first book (A Game of Thrones: Song of Fire and Ice) under my belt, I say, "Where have you been hiding, my dear? It seems I've been waiting for you my whole life!" Like any new romance, it is constantly on my mind, and I find myself wishing there were more hours in a day, so it could fill those too. I read when I wa After putting off starting this series for a month or so (I mean, really, these books are WHOPPERS), I decided I was finally ready to give it a whirl. Now, with more than half of the first book (A Game of Thrones: Song of Fire and Ice) under my belt, I say, "Where have you been hiding, my dear? It seems I've been waiting for you my whole life!" Like any new romance, it is constantly on my mind, and I find myself wishing there were more hours in a day, so it could fill those too. I read when I wake up in the morning, I read throughout the day, and I read until I fall asleep at night. I read while brushing my teeth and at meals. I am truly in love. Historically, I haven't been a fantasy fan. The closest I ever came was enjoying the "Harry Potter" series, but that was a fluke. Twice I tried to develop a taste for "The Hobbit" (as a teen and more recently, as an adult), but it never took, nor did any of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy movies do the trick to capture my fancy. I haven't played World of Warcraft or any of the knock-offs; those fantasy worlds hold no interest for me. I do not want to rule armies or nations, which is a really good thing, since even the simplest strategy confounds me. So then what explains my deep infatuation with Game of Thrones ("GoT")? Well, GoT has everything...and more, in spades...that I love in a good book: characters you can sink your teeth into, that are fully developed and multifaceted; romance, with plenty of sex (but not too graphic...but graphic enough); violence, but not without purpose; excellent pacing, with lots of twists and turns in the plot; drama, drama, and more drama; power struggles and intrigue...and that's just off the top of my head. Best of all, so far, anyway, the story is very well-written, and Martin takes full advantage of a broad vocabulary, without it ever feeling gratuitous or pedantic. Simply put, I have fallen in love anew with the pleasures of reading. Not since I was a child have I lost myself in a story as deeply or as fully as I have with GoT. I feel like I am the recipient of a gift that is both magical and priceless. I'm a girl in love...and, thankfully, I've only just started my journey! ********** Oh, how fickle am I?! Story of my life: from zero to sixty in a split second, and then, less than a mile down the road (after all, the acceleration's the fun part), I stop on a dime and forget where it was exactly I was headed. There MUST be a lesson there, somewhere, but...oh, look...a chicken! 2/3rds through the second book of the series, I abandoned it. Not because it's not good, but because my attention span just won't hold out for more of the same. Plus, there are too many damned characters to keep track of, and most of the names are un-pronounceable besides. A word of warning to you prudes out there: the prodigious sex is something akin to what a horny 15-year old boy might write. Seriously. Even my thick-skinned husband (who is working his way through the fourth book and still going strong) has complained about how juvenile the sex scenes are. However, he's still reading like crazy, so it's not that bad (or good, depending on how you look at it). All things considered, I won't downgrade my five-star rating. It's not the books' fault that I have a commitment problem. As for the sex, who couldn't use a little vicarious adolescent indulgence every now and again?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jenine

    I am given to understand that G.R.R.Martin is an accomplished and beloved author. And I admit that these four books are the only G.R.R.Martin books I have read. So take this review with that in mind. G.R.R.M. appears to have no concept of formulating a story arc around a central character (or characters) around which the plot (or plots) revolves, spanning problem to resolution and ultimately reaching some sort of conclusion. Instead, he seems extremely fond of creating lists of extremely detailed I am given to understand that G.R.R.Martin is an accomplished and beloved author. And I admit that these four books are the only G.R.R.Martin books I have read. So take this review with that in mind. G.R.R.M. appears to have no concept of formulating a story arc around a central character (or characters) around which the plot (or plots) revolves, spanning problem to resolution and ultimately reaching some sort of conclusion. Instead, he seems extremely fond of creating lists of extremely detailed made-up stuff. Each successive scene is a pain-staking description of what everyone present is wearing, their homes and genealogy, what arms they carry and where they were made, what their home sigil is ... and what, if any, humorous nickname they might have. Paragraph after paragraph of detailed lists! Lists of information that will NEVER be referred to again, and is not necessary for understanding the arc of the story. Because there IS no arc of story. He launches plot lines and fleshes out highly interesting characters only to abandon that entire story in the next breath, usually killing off the character you've just invested 200 pages getting to know in the process. Maybe there's something here that is typical of the endless-fantasy-serial genre that I am just not familiar with. But in my book-reading world, if an author dedicates significant page space to a character or plot line, it's for a reason, and that reason becomes clear in ... well, let's say, FEWER than 4 books. But having read the first four, and the reader reviews of the fifth, I'm just not seeing it and I'm really REALLY unwilling to invest any additional time in this world without some promise of eventual CLOSURE. So, basically, if you're looking for a travelogue of an interesting make-believe world where there's magic and swords and ladies in waiting, these are the books for you. Oh yeah, and before you start, make sure you have a high tolerance for rape, brutality and torture. G.R.R.M. seems especially fond of these, and he never misses an opportunity to chuck a bucket of blood (or 7) all over the highly detailed scene he's just described over the course of the last 25 pages.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Just finished Storm of Swords. WOW! Never have I read a series with more intricate layers of the past affecting the present plot lines. The past is very slowly revealed to us, and motives and explanations take a while to surface. I can't believe we still don't know the full back story by the 3rd book, nor do we even have the events of the first book adequately explained by the third book. (But we're getting there...) Never have I ever read a book where the character's wounds actually affect them f Just finished Storm of Swords. WOW! Never have I read a series with more intricate layers of the past affecting the present plot lines. The past is very slowly revealed to us, and motives and explanations take a while to surface. I can't believe we still don't know the full back story by the 3rd book, nor do we even have the events of the first book adequately explained by the third book. (But we're getting there...) Never have I ever read a book where the character's wounds actually affect them for a while and take a long time to heal. Never have I been more surprised at where certain characters end up; just when you think you know what's going to happen, GRRM abruptly shifts tracks. Never have I gasped out loud more while reading a book, nor felt such elation at the characters' victories, and despair at their tragedies. These books are AMAZING. Can't wait to keep reading A Feast for Crows.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Matt Luedke

    It feels a little insane to review this entire series with one swing, especially considering that each book is like 800 pages, depending on the book and the format. But they are really intended as one big piece of work and I don't feel like writing a review of each separately anyway, so here goes (for the record I have read all 5, though for the first 3 books it was about 10 years ago). In the 1990's, disgruntled TV writer George R R Martin decided to shake free of the budgetary restraints and ce It feels a little insane to review this entire series with one swing, especially considering that each book is like 800 pages, depending on the book and the format. But they are really intended as one big piece of work and I don't feel like writing a review of each separately anyway, so here goes (for the record I have read all 5, though for the first 3 books it was about 10 years ago). In the 1990's, disgruntled TV writer George R R Martin decided to shake free of the budgetary restraints and censorship of his job and write a story so big in world and cast and ideas that it could never, ever be filmed-- and so profane and violent that it would never be shown. (He may have also been inspired by his two R R initials??) The result is a sprawling world that, yes, is fantasy because dragons and such do exist. But don't despair if that's not your usual genre! The magic that does exist is so rare, weak, and finicky, that most characters consider it to barely exist at all. Instead, they almost exclusively interact on several layers of political intrigue and war. There is a very large cast of characters, and particularly in the fourth and fifth books they start running into the good old second law of thermodynamics-- disorder never decreases! Martin's fiction is extremely realistic, so while the small (in comparison) cast at the beginning makes for good, tight drama, the fact that character A then meets B and C, who start to have their own chapters and meet D and E an so on, makes for a more realistic world. 'Depth' is a word that describes a lot of aspects of this series well. Of the cast, of each character's motivations (he went out of his way to take the more shallow characters from earlier books and flesh them out specifically. Very ballsy and a good move.), the geography, the religions (one of my favorite parts of the world), the mythology and history, the science (genetic biology), the minute details of cultures (food, gender roles, clothing, social rights, etc), transportation... Seemingly everything has been created and orchestrated towards what is going to be an amazing finish I'm sure. To be clear, I'm sure the ending will be great and I have some theories that I love to talk about with other series fans, but I have no idea when it will come. There were originally only going to be 5 books, now there are supposed to be 7 total. If he sticks to 7 and his current pace it will be done in about 10 years. If he adds more again, or slows down, who knows? Very fun, rewarding to really dive into, and continually imaginative. If the last books are as good as I think they could be, this series will be a legitimate literary classic. Plus, Tyrion is awesome in both book and TV form! (I won't include any spoilers about him)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Coolmomsrule

    As a woman, the first several chapters of ASOFAI were very disturbing to me; the lack of a strong female character and the violence against women made me nearly put the books down. I'm glad I didn't. Martin invests himself in every character he writes, and it shows. The men and women in the series show strength, resourcefulness and really grow as characters, and to give up early is to miss the process of maturation the characters themselves go through, especially Danaerys. Dani begins the series a As a woman, the first several chapters of ASOFAI were very disturbing to me; the lack of a strong female character and the violence against women made me nearly put the books down. I'm glad I didn't. Martin invests himself in every character he writes, and it shows. The men and women in the series show strength, resourcefulness and really grow as characters, and to give up early is to miss the process of maturation the characters themselves go through, especially Danaerys. Dani begins the series as a young, sheltered girl, both protected and abused by her older brother in his quest to restore their family to the throne. But Dani quickly adapts to her surroundings, and learns much from listening and respecting the different cultures. She bends without breaking, something her stubborn brother cannot find it in himself to do. It is Dani, not her brother, who is truly descended from "the blood of the dragon". She is a complex character trying to do the right thing in a world that George R. R. Martin has deliberately made the opposite of good vs evil. In that world, pragmatists and strategists live while the naive and trusting die. And this is where I talk about that world of the series, because it is really significant to note that, while a fantasy world, it is modeled on Europe during the Wars of the Roses and the families fighting for the throne at the time. The patriarchal society, arranged marriages, plotting and treason exist because the historical background upon which the fictional work is based included all those elements and they are necessary for the factions to make sense. Yet Martin still has women play pivotal roles. Martin delights in turning expectations upside-down. He takes typical fantasy tropes and distorts them until the reader does not know what to expect. One of the reasons I like these books so much is their unpredictability. This is also a feature that has earned Martin his sharpest criticism, however; readers find that even their favorite characters are not guaranteed success, or a life without suffering, or even life at all. Everyone suffers in these books, and I don't see a lot of moral posturing from Martin. Perhaps his overall philosophy could be summed up in one line from the books (and the HBO series based upon them), "In the game of thrones, you win or you die." Tyrion, one of my favorite Martin characters, is not immune to the sling and arrows of outrageous fortune Martin has thrown at his characters, but he usually lands on his feet, because, as in chess, he sees the whole board and thinks several moves ahead. He learned, very young, the most important lesson of survival: naivete and innocence lead to suffering in this harsh world. Trust no one and never let your guard down. I highly recommend these books (and the fifth, A Dance with Dragons) to anyone who enjoys epic fantasy, with the caveat that if like happy endings you might want to steer clear--I don't know yet what the series holds, but letting yourself get emotionally invested in any of Martin's characters is a dangerous undertaking and one that should only be undertaken by those who understand how fraught with peril Martin's "fantasy" world is.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lark

    Ok. Read the 4 books. Liked it less the more I read. The only people of virtue are destroyed one after the other. Everyone else is corrupt and SO vulgar. There are about 100 too many characters and I got bored with all the minute details about each unimportant one.... When you have to have a 30 page compendium of names and allegiances at the back of the book to make sense of it all, that's just too many... Sufficiently curious to see how it all ends, but will be checking them out at the library. Ok. Read the 4 books. Liked it less the more I read. The only people of virtue are destroyed one after the other. Everyone else is corrupt and SO vulgar. There are about 100 too many characters and I got bored with all the minute details about each unimportant one.... When you have to have a 30 page compendium of names and allegiances at the back of the book to make sense of it all, that's just too many... Sufficiently curious to see how it all ends, but will be checking them out at the library. Not worth spending money on...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Prager

    The writing, setting, and intrigue are fantastic. However, Martin methodically kills off every "good" and likable character. We're left with a work that is, at best, grey... And at worst, one full of black characters. I have read and loved many bleak books (The Road, Black Company) but no author seems to take pleasure I killing off characters like Martin. The writing, setting, and intrigue are fantastic. However, Martin methodically kills off every "good" and likable character. We're left with a work that is, at best, grey... And at worst, one full of black characters. I have read and loved many bleak books (The Road, Black Company) but no author seems to take pleasure I killing off characters like Martin.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lindaj

    This author has been compared to Tolkein. Not even close. Tolkein wrote great characters, good and evil and in between. This guy makes up and kills off people so fast all you know about everyone is that they are "craven" or a "raper". The violence and raping is an overwhelming part of this book, not the story of the characters in the book. I am a persistent almost obsessive reader and I was mildly interested in a few of the characters so I actually finished all 4 of these books. I will not be re This author has been compared to Tolkein. Not even close. Tolkein wrote great characters, good and evil and in between. This guy makes up and kills off people so fast all you know about everyone is that they are "craven" or a "raper". The violence and raping is an overwhelming part of this book, not the story of the characters in the book. I am a persistent almost obsessive reader and I was mildly interested in a few of the characters so I actually finished all 4 of these books. I will not be reading book 5 or 6. Nothing ever happens, each character gets a chapter once in a while, but one chapter and then you don't hear from them again for what seems like forever. It is difficult to follow any of the stories because there are so many characters and more coming out of the woodwork in every book. And you don't like most of them, so don't care about them. The main characters in the first book that you want to like and root for and think this book is about almost all get killed off. It is hard to want to keep reading when anyone you cared about is either dead or gets only 2 or 3 chapters in the story. And really, how many times can you play the "oh look, they aren't really dead" card? Characters either don't get killed and show up later or show up later dead but still functioning, with no explanation of why someone can be killed 7 or 8 times but not be dead. Really? I'm tired of wading through and skipping huge parts of meaningless drivel to read one chapter on the few characters I'm even interested in any more.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Seawater

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. the characters are shallow and hollow. they are presented with only one or two qualities and those are pushed at every opportunity. sam the coward, cersei the crazy bitch, ned the honourable, etc. Or you have others that are talked up a lot but dont present any of the qualities they are alleged to have, like tywin. the main plot mover is the death of characters and introduction of new ones which really gets old. and some of the deaths are really lazily done. birthing shadows to kill off some peo the characters are shallow and hollow. they are presented with only one or two qualities and those are pushed at every opportunity. sam the coward, cersei the crazy bitch, ned the honourable, etc. Or you have others that are talked up a lot but dont present any of the qualities they are alleged to have, like tywin. the main plot mover is the death of characters and introduction of new ones which really gets old. and some of the deaths are really lazily done. birthing shadows to kill off some people because mr. martin seemingly has grown bored and doesnt wish to write about people any longer... now, i dont mind killing or maiming main characters, it can be a good thing. but it just happens so often and sometimes for no reason other than just to kill someone that it gets old. its more of a surprise when someone doesnt die...except that since they are still alive they will likely die later.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Radnor

    I admit it, I started watching the HBO series first, fell in love with the story and decided I had to read the books. Unfortunately I don't have a lot of time for fun reading (I teach) but I'm still trekking my way through what is proving to be a hard book to put down. Not sure yet which I enjoy more since Peter Dinklage's interpretation of the Tyrion Lannister character is SO incredibly good (he has definitely earned all the awards he has been winning for the role) ... and then there are the im I admit it, I started watching the HBO series first, fell in love with the story and decided I had to read the books. Unfortunately I don't have a lot of time for fun reading (I teach) but I'm still trekking my way through what is proving to be a hard book to put down. Not sure yet which I enjoy more since Peter Dinklage's interpretation of the Tyrion Lannister character is SO incredibly good (he has definitely earned all the awards he has been winning for the role) ... and then there are the impressive performances of Michelle Fairley's Catelyn Stark and let's not forget the newcomer Maisie Williams as Arya Stark. ... however... as I read the book I realize that the HBO writers didn't have to go far from the original when converting the book to script. All the humor of Tyrion is there on the pages, etc.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Vikki Patis

    What can I say? I don't think words can describe how quickly and absolutely I fell in love with these books and the world G.R.R. Martin has created. I devoured all of the books in a short space of time, and am impatiently waiting for the 6th. It took me a few chapters to get used to the style of writing, but the use of the omniscient narrator and the multiple point of views really sets these books above the rest, in my humble opinion. I'm not a big fantasy fan, and I'd never heard of Martin unti What can I say? I don't think words can describe how quickly and absolutely I fell in love with these books and the world G.R.R. Martin has created. I devoured all of the books in a short space of time, and am impatiently waiting for the 6th. It took me a few chapters to get used to the style of writing, but the use of the omniscient narrator and the multiple point of views really sets these books above the rest, in my humble opinion. I'm not a big fantasy fan, and I'd never heard of Martin until I was introduced to both the novels and the TV series by a friend last year, so I'm no expert in this area, but even a novice fantasy-reader can appreciate the sheer depths Martin goes to in these novels. The characters, for the most part, are well-developed and I personally feel that it is easy for the reader to relate to almost all of them, in one way or another. I also love the fact that there are no clear-cut 'good' or 'bad' guys - almost everyone has both in them ((view spoiler)[ except the Freys, grr! (hide spoiler)] ), and we are under no false impressions about anyone. It is also difficult to wholeheartedly pick sides. I must add that I was shocked and disgusted when (view spoiler)[ Joffrey ordered Neds' head to be cut off (hide spoiler)] , despite counsel to do the opposite, but after reading on I realised just how important that was for everything else to be set in motion. This is another thing Martin does brilliantly - he may not adhere to the general "rules" of writing, but the paths he veers off down always have a purpose in the end, however far-fetched or devastating they may seem to begin with. An interesting point to make is the shift in dynamics that happens throughout the series, for example (view spoiler)[ Theons' fall from grace at the hands of Ramsay Bolton; the Red Wedding; Cerseis' disgrace in Kings Landing; the death of Joffrey and the price on Tyrions' head; the murder of Tywin; another Targaryen come to claim the throne; Aryas' growth and adventures; Danys' power with the dragons, and loss when she is forced to wed for peace; and SO many more! (hide spoiler)] , which is underlined by the way the characters' name is changed during their chapter in the later books. This also makes it even easier for the reader to connect and sympathise with the characters. There's not enough time or space for me to say everything I would like to about these books - they are too brilliant and fantastical and epic. I know the TV series is well-loved, but, while a good portrayal of the story, the books must be read, not just to fill in gaps, but also to truly experience the world in which so many of us are now immersed in and obsessed with. As probably picked up on by lovers of the TV show, the accents are of course British, with the Starks and other Northerners boasting Northern accents, the Braavosi sounding Spanish or similar, and so on - this is how I first imagined the characters sounding when I read the books. I had watched Season 1 first, but of course you meet new characters in the following books, and so your imagination is left to run wild. The maps (I'm pretty sure they're included in every version), especially of Westeros, strike me as very similar to the United Kingdom; Kings Landing is roughly where London is, home of course to the Royal Court; the Wall is at the top, where Scotland is (and is probably just as cold!); even the size of it is not dissimilar, along with the distance to other places, such as Braavos and Pentos (every other place mentioned reminds me somehow of Europe, its' proximity to the UK and distance between each land - not that I'm a geographer of course!). This is my own view, the way I imagine it as I'm reading, and I don't know what Martins' inspiration or intent was, but there we go. Dark and dangerous, beautiful and bold, fantastic and.. unfinished! How Martin ever imagined he could tell this series as a trilogy, I'll never understand. Amazing. "A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies; the man who never reads lives only one" - a fitting quote for these books!

  12. 4 out of 5

    C-shaw

    8/19/17 - Rereading for the second time, starting with Volume 1, _A Game of Thrones_. Following comments were from my first reading in 2012. * * * * * I loved the mini-series, and the books are exactly like it. Dialogue for the most part is verbatim. Sooo exciting! Wow, so good. First volume was finished 7/12/12. Now I'm starting on the next volume. The first was over 800 pages long, and the second is over 900 pages. I hope I live long enough to read all of these. 8/28/12 - Finished the second volum 8/19/17 - Rereading for the second time, starting with Volume 1, _A Game of Thrones_. Following comments were from my first reading in 2012. * * * * * I loved the mini-series, and the books are exactly like it. Dialogue for the most part is verbatim. Sooo exciting! Wow, so good. First volume was finished 7/12/12. Now I'm starting on the next volume. The first was over 800 pages long, and the second is over 900 pages. I hope I live long enough to read all of these. 8/28/12 - Finished the second volume, "A Clash of Kings," all 900+ pages of it. It is still so wonderful, and I haven't tired of the story at all. Today I started the third volume, "A Storm of Swords." 9/22/12 - I finally got through the 1128+-page third volume, "A Storm of Swords." This series just keeps getting better. The ending chapters were so exciting that I could not stand to put it down. Now I am working on the fourth volume, "A Feast for Crows." George R.R. Martin is a genius, and this is the most enjoyable set of books I have ever read. 10/21/12 - Finished the fourth volume, "A Feast for Crows." Third volume was the best, but this one was good too. It was full of new characters, most of which I couldn't form any close affinity for, and too little update on some old characters - promised in the next volume. I am so sad that the next one, "A Dance with Dragons," won't be published until March of 2013!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marty

    Dear George R.R. Martin (if that's your real name), It is known: You are one sick, sick mofo. With "A Song of Ice and Fire," you have fleshed out and made explicit everything that was probably happening behind the scenes in "Lord of the Rings," the night being dark and full of terrors and all. The things that tweedy, Norse epic poem-lovin' J.R.R. Tolkien probably didn't even think about. The things that probably DID get written about in the early days of BBS slash fiction. Which you yourself were Dear George R.R. Martin (if that's your real name), It is known: You are one sick, sick mofo. With "A Song of Ice and Fire," you have fleshed out and made explicit everything that was probably happening behind the scenes in "Lord of the Rings," the night being dark and full of terrors and all. The things that tweedy, Norse epic poem-lovin' J.R.R. Tolkien probably didn't even think about. The things that probably DID get written about in the early days of BBS slash fiction. Which you yourself were probably writing. Gotta hand it to you, though, you provide us with badass female characters, an area where Tolkien failed epically, Éowyn excepted. You have rendered a universe of moral ambiguity and shades of grey (and yes, I must use the Anglophilic spelling) rather than Tolkien's black-and-white, good-v-evil Middle Earth. You have no qualms about killing off beloved characters, though you do have a bad habit of resurrecting them as intelligent, ruthless zombies. I thank you for writing chapters from significant characters' points of view, because they instantly become sympathetic and interesting rather than being lost in the horde. I look forward to the next installment. Will you PLEASE tell us what happened to Rickon? He hasn't been around for several volumes now. And Nymeria must be out there somewhere, too. So long, and thanks for all the catchphrases, A reader P.S. By R'hllor/the Stranger/the Seven/the Old Gods, would someone PLEASE just give Lady Stoneheart copies of "A Clash of Kings," "A Storm of Swords," "A Feast for Crows," and "A Dance with Dragons"? She could focus her vengeance on the right parties if she would just kick back and do some reading instead of relying on ravens and spies to bring her outdated news.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ottox

    "A Song of Ice and Fire" is well written. The problem is: the "evil" people are the heroes and the "good" people fail and die. I see enough of that in the real world, I don't want to encounter the same depressing state of affairs in my fantasy worlds, too. Also, it sets a bad moral example encouraging readers to be morally corrupt and behave in a way that ultimately destroys societies. (I guess that's why Hollywood has leaped on the chance to make a movie series from it). Another issue: while the "A Song of Ice and Fire" is well written. The problem is: the "evil" people are the heroes and the "good" people fail and die. I see enough of that in the real world, I don't want to encounter the same depressing state of affairs in my fantasy worlds, too. Also, it sets a bad moral example encouraging readers to be morally corrupt and behave in a way that ultimately destroys societies. (I guess that's why Hollywood has leaped on the chance to make a movie series from it). Another issue: while the story is gripping and the writing crisp in the first two volumes, the later volumes are quite boring: uninteresting characters and not much of a plot. It was as if GRRM just wanted to fill the pages to get paid.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Jo Weir

    I feel like this series speaks for itself. I mean, there has to be a reason over a million people have read it and it’s still one of the bestselling series out there. The complexity and characters and diversity of the world George creates is simply unexplainable. The whole thing is magical and ridiculously overwhelming in the best way. I know everyone is upset with his delay in releasing the 2 final books in the series but once you read these, you can understand the time and effort it must take I feel like this series speaks for itself. I mean, there has to be a reason over a million people have read it and it’s still one of the bestselling series out there. The complexity and characters and diversity of the world George creates is simply unexplainable. The whole thing is magical and ridiculously overwhelming in the best way. I know everyone is upset with his delay in releasing the 2 final books in the series but once you read these, you can understand the time and effort it must take to create something this magnificent. This series is it a league of its own. George sets the bar in a different universe and I can’t imagine anything else coming close to this grand scale and being as captivating.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jason Donoghue

    truly enjoyable read, some books are better than others but that can be expected. i hate reading about Sansa and cat they are so boring and really hard to get through. It's a huge book series with so many characters and people to like and dislike. my only dislike of the books are a lot of the stories are taken from history or other authors work and that takes away from the story. truly enjoyable read, some books are better than others but that can be expected. i hate reading about Sansa and cat they are so boring and really hard to get through. It's a huge book series with so many characters and people to like and dislike. my only dislike of the books are a lot of the stories are taken from history or other authors work and that takes away from the story.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Leona Bodie

    If FEAST OF THE CROWS were the first title of the Song of Ice and Fire Series, I'd never have read the quadrilogy. The previous sequels were on the edge of your seat exciting and hard to put down. FEAST OF THE CROWS is the carrion of the lot. Characters of import that you'd expect to see, such as Tyrion, Lady Catelyn, Bran and Daenerys Targaryen were MIA, replaced by long-winded, minor characters, who are long in discussion and short on action. For the first time in the series, my eyes glazed ov If FEAST OF THE CROWS were the first title of the Song of Ice and Fire Series, I'd never have read the quadrilogy. The previous sequels were on the edge of your seat exciting and hard to put down. FEAST OF THE CROWS is the carrion of the lot. Characters of import that you'd expect to see, such as Tyrion, Lady Catelyn, Bran and Daenerys Targaryen were MIA, replaced by long-winded, minor characters, who are long in discussion and short on action. For the first time in the series, my eyes glazed over or blurred with boredom and my overwhleming inclination was to skip draggy passages. So much maiming! Every character portrayed as good or innocent is maimed. That was uninspired and disturbing. Frankly, I didn't see the point and at times the gratuitous violence nauseated me such as Myrecella, Rob, etc. Will Lady Brienne ever fulfill her mission? And if she does, will she ever have so much as have a fingernail left? Will Jon Snow ever know his siblings are alive? This sequel left me with little closure and a lot of frustration, since much of the plot never came to a point. The extended passages and lengthy interruptions between each character's tale made me loose interest in their particular stories. The endless conflict between good and evil is frustrating since the bad constantly get the upper hand. No one character emerges as the protagonist. There's no triumphs that keep the plot pulsing, just endless chapters creeping to a dissatisfying close. No little victories to light the way. The Stark Family might has well have been cursed for their never-ending list of calamities while Cercei succeeds as the flagrant antagonist.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Nearly five thousand pages and Cersei Lannister is still not dead.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Wilmar Luna

    Finally, after three years of perseverance. I finally finished the first four books of A Song of Ice and Fire also known as the Game of Thrones TV series on HBO. Unlike most readers on Goodreads, I am not a fast reader (unless a book is incredible). Let me tell you, when I started with book one: Game of Thrones, I hated it! The book bored me to tears and I kept on saying to myself, "There’s MORE?" Whenever I’d see the name Catelyn pop up in a chapter. I died a little on the inside wonder why I was Finally, after three years of perseverance. I finally finished the first four books of A Song of Ice and Fire also known as the Game of Thrones TV series on HBO. Unlike most readers on Goodreads, I am not a fast reader (unless a book is incredible). Let me tell you, when I started with book one: Game of Thrones, I hated it! The book bored me to tears and I kept on saying to myself, "There’s MORE?" Whenever I’d see the name Catelyn pop up in a chapter. I died a little on the inside wonder why I was bothering to read this stupid book. Out of all the characters in the series, she was weakest and most boring to read. Why was she weak? Well, quite frankly she spent most of her time weeping, moaning, and worrying over her family. She didn’t know how to fight, didn’t have any cunning to pull off political maneuvers, and just basically whined and whined and whined. Is she believable as a character, a mother who worries and frets over her children and grieves over her lost ones? Yes. Do I want to read entire chapters dedicated to this? Hell no! Bran! Oh Bran. So boring, so pitifully boring. Whenever I read Bran’s chapters I always felt like it was an excuse for exposition and world building. Every chapter would talk about the history of Winterfell, how the castle has changed without Ned, insert other meaningless detail here. Boring, boring, boring! Bran himself is not a boring character but his young age made him incapable to influence the plot. Therefore, I could have done without (most) but not all of Bran’s chapters. Daenerys and Sansa were so pitifully weak. It was a chore to read their chapters and I just hated pretty much 75% of Game of Thrones. Lot’s of marrying off women, rape, boob descriptions and incessant, repetitive description of clothes! It drove me mad every time GRRM introduced a new character and felt the need to describe their clothing. Violet tunics, roughspun breeches, gilded vests, ENOUGH ALREADY! It was so frustrating to read that I was often reminded how too much clothing description was considered bad writing. Granted, the descriptions were for establishing who people were, where they came from, how much money they had, what house they belonged to, but there’s so many characters that it’s impossible to keep track of it all. To make matters worse, I kept on asking myself, “Where’s the plot?” Everything moved at such a glacial pace that I really didn’t care about most of these characters. Sure I liked Jon Snow, Tyrion, Ned, Robb, and a whole host of other characters but not enough to finish an entire book. It felt like the entire beginning of Game of Thrones was in truth, just a really long introduction. And then a main character died . . . And suddenly with only 25% of the book remaining . . . I needed to know what happened next. Book two: Battles! The sh** hits the fan and suddenly people are making power plays for the Iron Throne. Undead attacking the wall, Robert’s brothers vying for the crown, Tyrion is getting blamed for everything despite being one of the most well qualified rulers in Westeros. The second book was without a question, amazing! The characters became so much interesting. Daenerys who I thought was weak and boring was growing into a strong woman that could lead a small nation to claim what is rightfully hers. Arya (Whom loved reading by the way) has been around to different castles causing trouble wherever she goes, Bran’s made some new friends Jojen and Meera which made his chapters more interesting to read, The Ironmen want to expand from their island and rip territory from under everyone's feet, I could go on and on and on! Book two just had this great pace and rhythm that was fun to read. Though I still hated and hate GRRM’s constant descriptions of clothing, I absolutely LOVED his description of everything else. From the way mud dripped from a portcullis to a wolf pulling glistening blue snakes from an outlaw’s belly. George R. R. Martin knows how to describe something using the least amount of words with the right kind of verbs and descriptors. Ironic, considering how long his novels are. The way he describes the world and character actions triggers your mind to THINK and IMAGINE the scene. You can see the soldiers boot getting sucked by the mud and watch Sandor Clegane charge through the ranks with his sword swinging wildly in the air. GRRM knows how to use words and I personally would love to be able to write the way he does (though much leaner). As the plot continued to thicken so did my interest in the books. I loved seeing Jaime’s progression from cocky bastard to fragile knight and was thrilled when female bad ass warrior Brienne joined the ranks. I felt sorry for Tyrion and cheered for Bronn and hated Tywin (but a good kind of hate.) By the time I finished this book, I was ready for the third. Book three: I was hoping to see more of the same in book three and GRRM did not fail to deliver. Again the prose was sharp and powerful. It filled my mind with thoughts of the world that the TV series could never hope to fill (I haven’t watched the series but a quick google image search left me unimpressed.) Where as a new author may make the mistake of filling their book with description, Martin fills it with plot and character. Sure he goes off on tangents and starts describing those damn clothes! But when he’s back on track, man does the story grab your attention. All the elements just come together in an epic tale that immerses you in his world. Book three was perhaps one of the most satisfying books to read by far. In this book, people who deserved what was coming to them get it in spades. I’m not one that ever wishes death upon real or fictional characters but these guys are a-holes. If GRRM’s goal was to create characters you loved to hate, he definitely succeeded. Speaking of characters I love to hate, Cersei is currently my most hated character. Why? Because she’s a moron who thinks she’s so clever and knows everything. You know who Cersei reminds me of? A bad boss! You know the type. They think they know everything and tell you how to do your job when they don’t even know how to do their own. Cersei is that bad boss. She constantly makes stupid decisions and is so weak that she can’t even defend herself. She’s always complaining that she should have been born a man and I just kept thinking to myself, “Well Brienne is not a man and she can kick ass.” She’s so dumb, so so dumb, but I enjoy despising this character because she’s entertaining to read. The rest of the cast is great and really start coming into their own on book three. From Jon Snow and his difficult decisions with the Wildlings; to Sam being forced to find his courage; to Daeny learning that sacrifices must be made to become a ruler; to Arya learning to embrace a new life that erases her past; to Jaime regretting his past mistakes; I have grown to enjoy these characters. You feel bad for them, you cheer for them, and you don't want them to die. Then we get to book four . . . Book four: Book four took a huge step backward. It was very similar to book one in that GRRM starts this book in a new setting with new characters and a unnecessarily long introduction. Instead of reading about your old favorites, you’re suddenly being asked to get invested in a new set of characters that quite frankly are not that good. The most annoying of these new characters is Arianne Martell. Oooh do I loathe her and not in a good way. She’s a brat, she’s rude, she’s weak, she’s an idiot, and she is so gosh darn useless! If GRRM does something amazing with this character, I wouldn't care. I hate her and I hated reading her passages. It seems that I have a tendency to dislike the female characters in this book right? Well, that wouldn’t make much sense because I’m a feminist at heart and write books about female super heroes. So what’s the problem? My problem with most of the female characters in this series is that most of them are forced to do nothing. They have a big bark and know how to get on people’s nerves but at the end of the day they’re not moving the plot forward and can’t really do anything. Catelyn, Arianne, Sansa/Alayne, and in book one it was Daeny. These characters do not have enough strength to be able to bend and affect the plot in a meaningful way. They don’t do anything except complain, moan, and cry about their situation. Sansa/Alayne has a chance of becoming an interesting character but at the end of book four there really wasn’t enough to convince me that she’s worth paying attention to yet. Too many of these women are constantly being traded like objects and I hate that. I would rather they have protested and fought and died while they were being traded away. Instead they are submissive and have no choice but to go along with someone's plans which is just insufferable to read. That’s why characters like Brienne, Arya, Ygritte, Osha, Asha, Meera, and many more female characters are so much more interesting. They DO STUFF. They can fight, they can scheme, they can be loyal, they can hunt, they can FIGHT BACK. The characters I highlighted have personality that is not tied down by the boring and mundane--you’re a woman so go marry this jerk and create an alliance for us. Even Shae who was nothing more than a prostitute, managed to use her wiles to climb up the ladder and seduce people in power. None of the other characters that I loathe do anything like that. I know that this is reflective of the time period and setting but quite honestly it didn’t make for an interesting read. There were times in book four where GRRM went off on these huge tangents that I found myself asking, “WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT THIS?” He would start going off on these world building tirades and force me to read chapters of characters that I didn’t care about. Honestly, after reading book four I lost all interest in finishing the series. I don't want to be one of those readers that are waiting for the series to be finished. Book four was just so weak and so disappointing that I couldn't care less what happens next and I'd rather keep it that way. I've been traumatized in the past by TV shows that never had a series finale or had terrible endings and I don't want to risk myself loving book five. If the final book is finished in my lifetime then of course, I will finish the series This was a very hot/cold book for me. On the one hand I loved George R. R. Martin’s prose, enjoyed his characters, enjoyed his action scenes, enjoyed the overall plot and the world. On the other hand, he definitely got too long winded with certain descriptions; went into way too much detail with the world building (not for me); and forced me to try get invested in new characters that were not that interesting. It’s one thing to ask me to care about Stannis, the Wall, the Ironmen, Renly, Cersei and Jaime, Tyrion, the Starks, okay fine. But when you introduce Dorne and give me a horrible character like Arianne for an entire chapter. Screw that. GRRM could have saved himself a book if he had just focused on the core group of characters. Also and this is my last quibble. I hate the fact that there’s no real main character. If there is a main character, I have no clue who that is. It’s probably Daeny but the fact that I have to question who the main character is really irks me. Sure not having a primary character makes it more realistic and makes every character the hero of their story but I personally don’t like that kind of story telling. Also, I knew that he was going to kill off a lot of characters but I didn’t think he would do an “off-camera” death for my favorite one. Yeah, yeah, welcome to the club I suppose. So I guess the big question is, would I recommend people pick up and read this series? Absolutely! I know it sounds like I had a lot of gripes in my review but that’s only because I enjoyed the books so much. Would I say that it was my favorite book series? No. GRRM almost lost me with book one and any series that almost lands in the DNF pile can never be a favorite. Yet, despite its flaws, this has been an amazing series to read. If you like complex political machinations, betrayal, dragons, undead, detailed world building, and believable, realistic characters. Then please, pick up a copy and start reading. It was a fun ride but I’m definitely glad its over.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Jean

    *Spoilers in review are indicated* A Song of Ice and Fire is a complicated series. The differences between the first and last books are so vast it's almost impossible the review the series in one singular thought, with one cohesive rating. The analogy I've always used when comparing the series to someone who hasn't read it is the first book is a bullet, the last a painstakingly slow bulldozer. The first book I turned page after page, not putting it down, reading 600 or more pages in a day, and fi *Spoilers in review are indicated* A Song of Ice and Fire is a complicated series. The differences between the first and last books are so vast it's almost impossible the review the series in one singular thought, with one cohesive rating. The analogy I've always used when comparing the series to someone who hasn't read it is the first book is a bullet, the last a painstakingly slow bulldozer. The first book I turned page after page, not putting it down, reading 600 or more pages in a day, and finishing pretty quickly. It was enthralling, absolutely gripping and had just the right amount of characters and plot that the reader didn't feel like it was a chore to keep up. That changed. The second book Clash of Kings, had much of the same flavor of the first. More politics, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. A Storm of Swords was the monster that really changed the series' dynamic. One of my favorite of the series because it still had the whiplash plot of the first, the politics of the second, and new characters being introduced. However, while I was enjoying all of these factors, I could feel the tone changing. And change it did. Come the fourth and fifth book I was trudging through as slowly as the plot was progressing. A rapid change in characters left my favorites ***POSSIBLE SPOILER*** from the first book either dead or wayyy in the back ground. My favorite character's plots were no longer progressing, because chapters had to be implemented that concerned characters I had never met, had no attachment to, and frankly, didn't matter much to the plot until they were forced in a place it didn't seem like they belonged. At first I recommended these books to everyone who would listen. Now, I caution people to stay away unless they're committed. The relentless and unnecessary details coupled with lists of factoids concerning characters I haven't known for more than a few dozen pages got extremely tedious. The whole series, and this has a tendency to happen with fantasy series, just got far too big. It started out as this streamlined action oriented plot with a few dynamic characters, humor, and an easy to grasp palette of detail. It became a huge, trudging monster of a series with characters I couldn't connect with, didn't like, and where I'd turn every page in the hopes that I'd get to a chapter concerning a character I've known for more than a couple hundred pages and have actually come to enjoy. By A Dance With Dragons *POSSIBLE SPOILER* out of the 18 characters I only really looked forward to Tyrion and Arya's plots...Sometimes Dany's as well though her's went all sideways and somehow managed to get uninteresting as well. It got so big that key elements of the first book are being tossed by the wayside. **Possible Spoiler** For example, where was Sansa? For the ENTIRETY of a dance with dragons...That's a huge plot hole that doesn't make sense. She was an original character, the daughter of Eddard, held prisoner at King's landing....How does she just fall off the map?? To make way for the riveting story of Quentyn Martell? **SPOILER** Whose entire story had no real enthralling rising and falling action? We followed him for an entire book and endured his undynamic character stance and his bland taste, hoping that he would rise from the ashes, only to have him die in some ridiculously foolish scheme that should never have taken place because Dany should never have locked the dragons up in the first place! It was like GRRM took this amazing concept and these amazing people and thought, "How can I make this as boring an unsatisfying as possible?" We all wanted Dany to charge back to Westeros on Drogo's back with battle cries and the whole fire and brimstone, and restore the kingdom...no...instead she's eating candied bugs or whatever it was and fretting over how to correctly wear a bed sheet so as not to offend the natives. No one cares Dany, go wage war or something. I understand that authors are not always going to have the happy ending that readers want, and characters aren't always going to do what you want them to, but when every single character's story is falling to boredom, that's an issue. Ended up being more of a rant than a review but, hopefully you get the point.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    This is a series worthy of its hype. The world Martin creates is intricate, realistic, gritty and beautifully crafted. The character writing is some of the best I've ever read, and the characters are never static, they all evolve through the books and your feelings change towards them. They are never two dimensional either and I often found myself sympathising with characters who may have started out as nominally 'bad'. Martin uses the level of empathy he generates with the characters against yo This is a series worthy of its hype. The world Martin creates is intricate, realistic, gritty and beautifully crafted. The character writing is some of the best I've ever read, and the characters are never static, they all evolve through the books and your feelings change towards them. They are never two dimensional either and I often found myself sympathising with characters who may have started out as nominally 'bad'. Martin uses the level of empathy he generates with the characters against you, and happily murders his way through his cast, even central or well liked characters, generating genuine emotions in his reader. Usually rage. The world is nominally magical, but it is low fantasy, focussing more on earthy political machinations and magic never really intrudes into the story or breaks the immersion with wand waving. The world is brutal, as you would expect from a medieval type setting, with gore aplenty, although not simply for the sake of it. He is also something of a dirty old man, and his title of George 'Rape Rape' Martin is almost earned. Despite this his female characters are extremely well written and major players in the story. Here's hoping he doesn't get too distracted by the tv series and manages to get around to finishing the last two doorstopper size books before his advancing years and lifestyle cause an author total existence failure through an inevitable heart attack. Finally, the only aspect of his otherwise brilliantly believable world that my scientist's mind couldn't suspend disbelief for is the messed up seasons of Westeros. Seasons are of arbitrary length and timing? Multiple years long? I can't begin to think of the orbital geometry required for that...the farmers almanac must be very messed up there.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Samuel García

    A great work of fantasy, with its ups and downs (in terms of attention grabbing). Had a few problems with Martin's style of writing at first, like he was playing at being a fantasy writer, mimicking a fantasy narrative style, instead of just writing. It did get better after the second book. As for the story itself, it has no shortage of shocking moments, and I love how Martin does not try to sway the readers into preferring some characters over others, or establishing a "good" side and an "evil" A great work of fantasy, with its ups and downs (in terms of attention grabbing). Had a few problems with Martin's style of writing at first, like he was playing at being a fantasy writer, mimicking a fantasy narrative style, instead of just writing. It did get better after the second book. As for the story itself, it has no shortage of shocking moments, and I love how Martin does not try to sway the readers into preferring some characters over others, or establishing a "good" side and an "evil" side. In this way, this might be one of the most realistic portrayals of a fantasy medieval setting in all of literature.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    OH MY GOD! This book is ALL KINDS of epic. If you find that you can't stick to it when you first starting read the book... BE PATIENT! The first 150 pages are a bit intense because there are SO many characters and so much going on but oh, once you get the hang of who's who and what's what it will just blow.your.mind. It's one of those books that takes things slow and just keeps building up till it just explodes into all kinds of good stuff in the end but even when it's going slow there are some OH MY GOD! This book is ALL KINDS of epic. If you find that you can't stick to it when you first starting read the book... BE PATIENT! The first 150 pages are a bit intense because there are SO many characters and so much going on but oh, once you get the hang of who's who and what's what it will just blow.your.mind. It's one of those books that takes things slow and just keeps building up till it just explodes into all kinds of good stuff in the end but even when it's going slow there are some incredible twists! I can't WAIT to get to the other books. (I didn't watch the TV series because I knew I'd read the book someday... I bought the books last year! Heh)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    Oh goodness this was quite the long haul but I made it! Very excellent, dived right into ADwD. Some foreshadowing, which is always fun. I'm enjoying trying to decide which side various characters are REALLY on. Starting a re-read as of 7/9/16 Oh goodness this was quite the long haul but I made it! Very excellent, dived right into ADwD. Some foreshadowing, which is always fun. I'm enjoying trying to decide which side various characters are REALLY on. Starting a re-read as of 7/9/16

  25. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

    George R.R. Martin is not shy about creating a fantasy world of great complexity, peopling it with many characters, some of whom are noble, some clever, some conniving, and some downright evil. He probably felt empowered by the fact that he shares the rare phenomena of two middle names, both beginning with "R," with the other epic fantasy world creator of our time, J.R.R. Tolkien. The times are apparently in the post-dragon era, but their existence is not so long ago that they are considered myth George R.R. Martin is not shy about creating a fantasy world of great complexity, peopling it with many characters, some of whom are noble, some clever, some conniving, and some downright evil. He probably felt empowered by the fact that he shares the rare phenomena of two middle names, both beginning with "R," with the other epic fantasy world creator of our time, J.R.R. Tolkien. The times are apparently in the post-dragon era, but their existence is not so long ago that they are considered mythological. Beyond the great Wall to the North, built generations ago, there are wild and mysterious people and animals about whom fantastic stories are told to children at bedtime, but those beings may or may not be mythological. The seasons are harsh, measured in years, and though snow and cold is frequently the norm, it is considered the season of summer as the story begins. Life is incredibly hard and is cut short all too often by violence. The author is telling the story of several families in the Seven Kingdoms. Until relatively few years ago the kingdoms had developed independently and had warred among themselves. Now however the kingdoms are functioning as one under one head of State, King Robert. Robert, a fearless warrior in his youth, loved the process of becoming king, but now, some 20 years later, is not enjoying the duties that go along with the title. His wife Cersei and her family, the Lannisters, seem to be eroding Robert's effectiveness while quietly becoming more and more powerful themselves. Robert's best friend, Eddard Stark is lord of his own realm, Winterfell, which is the kingdom of the North. Eddard had been a courageous warrior alongside Robert, but has become a wise and trusted leader of his people and a good family man as well. Neither he nor his wife Catelyn are happy when the king summons him to become his second in command at King's Landing. The position is called the King's Hand and involves doing any task the king is not interested in doing. King's Landing is many days' journey to the south of Winterfell. Eddard makes the tactical decision to go, leaving Catelyn and their sons to protect and maintain their land, but taking their daughters and a small contingent of trusted followers. The sacrifice seems necessary to protect the peace of the Kingdom, not to mention delving into the mysterious death of the king's previous Hand. The saga unfolds in the words of various members of Stark's family as well as the brother of the queen, the dwarf Tyrion Lannister. He is a man blessed with sharp wit and a good mind to offset his malformed body. In addition to his three sons and two daughters by his wife Catelyn, Eddard is also raising his bastard son Jon Snow and a ward from one of the families of the South, Theon Greyjoy. The perspective of the surviving children of the king who was deposed by Robert also becomes an integral part of the story. The family Targaryen had been the last keepers of the dragons and were the last rulers of the Old Dynasty. Much of the intrigue is revealed to the reader through the naive point of view of the children, who are blind to the wiles of many of the cunning adults they observe. It is a pleasure to watch them learn and grow wiser, in most cases, as they deal with the circumstances that have been thrust upon them. Several volumes remain before this magnificent saga is complete, and I have already downloaded A Clash of Kings. I'm sure I'll have mixed feelings when I have read the last one. This world just swallows up your imagination, and just like The Lord of the Rings, it will be hard to leave behind.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chrystal Grcevich

    George R.R. Martin, wow...what a creative wind bag you are! I absolutely adored these books, but you killed off nearly EVERYONE! It's brilliant. I don't even know where to begin. Basically, these books start off telling you which way the wind blows, how everyone looks, how everyone is related to everyone else, yadda yadda. Truthfully, I have to say that I put down the book (in my case, I bought the four-book e-book pack, so...one book) and could not continue for months because I was so frustrate George R.R. Martin, wow...what a creative wind bag you are! I absolutely adored these books, but you killed off nearly EVERYONE! It's brilliant. I don't even know where to begin. Basically, these books start off telling you which way the wind blows, how everyone looks, how everyone is related to everyone else, yadda yadda. Truthfully, I have to say that I put down the book (in my case, I bought the four-book e-book pack, so...one book) and could not continue for months because I was so frustrated! Everything from landscapes to personalities were brilliantly described and made the world come to life. Unfortunately, every character I truly fell in love with got killed, or died or maimed. Thankfully, some of the rotten ones did, too. Before getting to the rotten, terrible people getting killed, though, all of the innocent, lovable characters disappeared one by one. This truly is a game of thrones. Not one character is inherently good, and most are not inherently bad, save for Joffrey. I wanted to just throttle him. I wish he'd been brought back to life and killed 1,000 times! I don't think I've ever had such hatred for a fictional character. There is enough "mysticality" presented in the novels to keep your interest, but it is not overly done. There's a spell here, a glimpse of mystery there and different races mentioned throughout. The feudal concept is certainly not a new one, but Mr. Martin has created the feudal environment without going over-the-top medieval or emphasizing quests for a "magical this or that." Many novels in the fantasy genre drag on about quests, but these books tell an actual story; no, wait, MANY stories that tie in with one another. I believe that there were plenty of details that could have been left out, but when the book was finished, I was actually glad that there had been so much detail to take in. There were a lot of item details that seemed to have no purpose until you got to parts later in the book. I honestly wish I'd had the physical copies for this reason because it is so much easier to flip through paper than to scroll endlessly through 4,000 pages! In fact, the ebook format that I bought was so terrible that it didn't even have a way to scan the books individually or to pick a page. Every slight movement of my finger on the scroll bar took me forward or backward nearly 100 pages. If you find yourself picking up these books and wanting to stop after 100-200 pages, just keep going through. It's so worth it! Since the series is not complete, though, the ending (fourth physical book) leaves you hanging. Thankfully, the fifth book is out now, though not as excellently wrought as these four.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ilika Ranjan

    Book Review A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin: A tremendous epic of all times in which the transformation of each character is absolutely hard hitting, real and compelling. The reader is forced to transcend to that era feeling the pain and ruthlessness of circumstances, and witnessing the hardening of personalities in the book. Every page pushes the reader to explore what next? This very aspect is warning me to be wary of the information I render in the book review, without revealing an Book Review A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin: A tremendous epic of all times in which the transformation of each character is absolutely hard hitting, real and compelling. The reader is forced to transcend to that era feeling the pain and ruthlessness of circumstances, and witnessing the hardening of personalities in the book. Every page pushes the reader to explore what next? This very aspect is warning me to be wary of the information I render in the book review, without revealing any of the hidden mysteries. The descriptions in the book are so vivid that one can genuinely experience the milieu and relate to the difficulties experienced by the characters by virtue of the weather and the hostility of the terrain. The Song of Ice and Fire is written in a series of which six books that have been released and the author is yet to introduce the end. Book one: A Game of Thrones. Book two: A Clash of Kings. Book three: A Storm of Swords. Part one: Steel and Snow. Part two: Blood and Gold. Book four: A Feast of Crows Book five (recently released): A Dance with Dragons. The book is inundated with characters each reflecting shades of both grey and white. The prominent characters of the book are Lord Stark of Winterfell- Eddard: (My Favourite character) A strong and principled man, a great leader/ ruler, wonderful father. Catelyn Stark- Wife of Lord Stark: Dutiful and brave wife but a bitter step mother. Robb Stark: Lord Eddard and Catelyn’s eldest son. A Valiant and fair prince also a responsible brother and a dutiful son. Sansa Stark: a vulnerable damsel living in the world of fairies who gradually comes in terms to agonizing truth of life. Arya Stark: Gutsy and valiant, a mature and strong lass. Jon Snow: A roughened and strong boy with great depth, despite being a bastard. Bran: A kid victimized by conspiracy. Rickon: youngest son of Lord Stark King Robert Baratheon: A complete failure as a king, as a husband, as a friend and a compulsive womanizer. Cersei: Wife of King Robert, a scheming woman, malicious and vindictive. Jaime: Cersei’s brother. Cunning and revengeful, yet the man demonstrated shades of kindness and justice as the story advances. Joffrey: Cersei’s son: A spoiled brat, merciless scalawag. Tyrion: a gentleman despite being disparaged and demeaned. Sharp and watchful Daenerys: A gentle teenage lass, forced to wed a Dothraki, Khal Drogo. Dire Wolves: A telepathic relationship between themselves and Eddard Stark’s children. Protectors of Stark family. Complete Review available at : www.ilikaranjan.com

  28. 4 out of 5

    W.M. Driscoll

    George R.R. Martin's gritty fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, is set in a quasi-medieval world where magic is returning and winter is coming; breaking onto the scene with the publication of the first volume in 1996, A Game of Thrones, it has now reached its fifth installment with 2011's A Dance with Dragons. The narrative takes place on the mythical continents of Westros and Essos; told from 31 different points of view (to date), it follows the bloody machinations of four major houses: Hou George R.R. Martin's gritty fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, is set in a quasi-medieval world where magic is returning and winter is coming; breaking onto the scene with the publication of the first volume in 1996, A Game of Thrones, it has now reached its fifth installment with 2011's A Dance with Dragons. The narrative takes place on the mythical continents of Westros and Essos; told from 31 different points of view (to date), it follows the bloody machinations of four major houses: House Stark, House Lannister, House Baratheon and House Targaryen. In War of the Roses fashion replete with knights, lords and ladies, feasts and tourneys, using first intrigue and assassination then all out war, these vie and plot against each other to attain the ultimate prize, the Iron Throne and the rule of all Westros. Made even more popular by a recent HBO miniseries (in which Peter Dinklage stole the show from a good cast as Tyrion Lannister), there is much to like and admire here. Having read up to the fourth book, A Feast of Crows, and having found it a disappointing outlier, I will confine my thoughts to the first three volumes: A Games of Thrones, A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords, as imaginative a trilogy as a fantasy reader could wish to find or hope to enjoy. Time magazine, in its infinite literary wisdom, called Martin "the American Tolkien" which is at best gross hyperbole, at worst an insult to all other American fantasy writers as well as a disservice to the author here; for it's not in world creation and mythology that Martin's genius lies (his back-story being a shallow puddle in comparison to Tolkein's bottomless Mirrormere) but in complex characterizations and set pieces that draw the reader into what would otherwise be a generally unpleasant and amoral universe. Climaxing in the "red wedding" one of the most brilliant, stunning and narratively costly endings I've read, the first three books of the series are ingenious and engaging. Not for younger or more sensitive readers, Martin's novels are filled with gritty realism, sex, violence and general unpleasantness. Still, I would heartily recommend them not just for fantasy readers, but for all readers who wish to be masterfully transported to another time and place.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Manuel Pirino

    The boxed set of the Song of Ice and Fire. These books have been an amazing journey. The plot is great, and the world of Westeros (and everything around it) compelling and easy to plunge into. I give it an overall 4 stars. The saga is great, no question about it, but Martin could have made it in fewer pages. I guess it was intentional, the world evolved with its popularity, and even more so after the HBO series. So he took pains to describe it in minute detail, to feed the need for escapism of s The boxed set of the Song of Ice and Fire. These books have been an amazing journey. The plot is great, and the world of Westeros (and everything around it) compelling and easy to plunge into. I give it an overall 4 stars. The saga is great, no question about it, but Martin could have made it in fewer pages. I guess it was intentional, the world evolved with its popularity, and even more so after the HBO series. So he took pains to describe it in minute detail, to feed the need for escapism of so many of us. In Dickensian style, he decides to "make 'em laugh, make 'em cry, make 'em wait!". Dickens wrote in instalments, on magazines, and his ponderous volumes were not much slimmer than Martin's, and if he did it, Martin sure as hell can do it too. A few things I did not like? Maybe the pot pourri of Eurasian cultures and settings. We have medieval Venice, with bankers and gondole. We have medieval London, with the Lancaster, ahem, Lannister. We have medieval "Persia / Arab world". We have the decadent and exotic East, where everyone dresses in robes, eats bugs and dogs, and is a merchant, an assassin and an opium smoker, etc etc....We have endless and needless descriptions of menus, and not of a single meal we are spared the description, in fine detail. Be it a banquet for a royal wedding, or a stop-over at a wayside wine sink. Every armour (and here there is a lot of D&D nerd rage) is incredibly colourful, enamelled, described to the roundels at the elbows. Every gathering features a list of banners, sigils, coats of arm. And yet, for all of these flaws (I deem them minor, but reading the 5 books back to back tends to make you notice them....) it remains a darn good fantasy saga. Memorable characters, plot twists, cliffhangers, sudden and shocking deaths of major plot drivers, humour, epic fights, but most importantly the story lets us get to know better some of the heroes and some of the villains, giving us different points of view on their actions, making it easier to relate and sympathize, to love and sometimes even to hate them. Yes, it is nerdy. Yes, it's too long and convoluted. Yes, there are tons of clichée. Yes, I CANNOT wait to read the last two volumes!!!!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Herlofsen

    (volume one) Absolutely riveting, epic fantasy. The supernatural elements are used sparingly (though that may change in later volumes, there is a storm brewing), the focus is on intrigue and war. The vast cast is filled with believable characters (Tyrion the imp being a personal favorite, being a slightly disappointing younger brother myself). The book is almost entirely buildup for what is to come; the final chapter gave me goosebumps and I'm truly on board for the duration. Winter is indeed com (volume one) Absolutely riveting, epic fantasy. The supernatural elements are used sparingly (though that may change in later volumes, there is a storm brewing), the focus is on intrigue and war. The vast cast is filled with believable characters (Tyrion the imp being a personal favorite, being a slightly disappointing younger brother myself). The book is almost entirely buildup for what is to come; the final chapter gave me goosebumps and I'm truly on board for the duration. Winter is indeed coming. (volume two) Still as engaging, the main characters scatter across a vast fantasy world as the magical elements slowly come to the fore. The big climactic battle rivals Tolkien's Minas Tirith for scope, and the plot keeps twisting and turning. No character seems safe from a sudden, gruesome; this is series' greatest strength, but how many times can the author remove the characters we're invested in before we stop caring? (volume three) In many ways the first climax to the series and my favourite so far. A horribly dark twist feels at once shocking and inevitable. Heroes rise, hope dies and what seems to be the main conflict of the series is finally outlined. In many ways volume four has to start the series anew, though some storylines are just gearing up after three books. (volume four) Volume four deals with about half of the fallout after the big events in books two and three (the rest is in volume five wich partly overlaps this book chronologically), and compared to the two previous books its light on action and heavy on the morbid aftermath of war. Some people consider it slightly boring. I don't, but this is the point where I'm struggling a bit to keep all the characters straight in my mind, as not all the new ones initially seem as interesting as the familiar ones (the prince of Dorne and his court being an exception). This is a book in which many characters travel long distances to little or no avail, and once again Martin lets great characters meet their fates in scenes that border on the sadistic. This to me is part charm of these books. It's also interesting to see Martin invest depth to his unsympathetic characters.

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