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A Game of Thrones

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the for-the-reading-room dept.

289

Dark Paladin writes "Recently, I asked readers to recommend some good books that were out there. There were crows for the usual crowd, like Terry Pratchet, Nail Gaiman, David Eddings, Terry Brooks, so on and so forth. But one name that kept coming up over and over again as a "must read" was R. R. Martin and the book "A Game of Thrones". So after the umpteenth "you've got to check it out or I'll burn your hat", I decided to give it a shot. And discovered one of the best read fantasy novels I've read in a decade. The story is your base fantasy stuff - "long ago, some bad things happened, but things are good - but watch out - the bad times are coming again!" Read on for the rest of his review.

But Martin does it by focusing not on one main character, but on a whole slew of them, each chapter a view from their perspective as events rage around them. Mainly around the Stark family, who's patriarch, Eddard Stark, is the Lord of Winterfell, a country to the far north who's job it is to keep up the Wall - think "Great Wall of China", only make it out of ice and stone. The Starks put a lot of stock in honor and duty, concept that must serve them well to survive a world where summers can last for years - and the winters even longer. Eddard has known war and battle once in his lifetime, when he and his best friend Robert lead an army to overthrow the Mad King almost a generation ago. Now, with his 5 children and 1 bastard child, he looks forward to a life ruling his castle in peace and training the next generation to be Starks.

Or he would, but when Robert comes calling asking Eddard to become the "Hand of the King", Eddard and his family are put into a living chess match, where loyalties shift like chameleon color, and sometimes, the pieces are lost forever. And with all the court intrigues, something dark, magical, and deadly hovers in the background, like an avalanche about to fall without warning.

What makes Martin's writing so compelling is his ability to tie us into a fictional world as fully realized as our own. It's a gritty and disturbing world, where royal families can marry brother to sister to keep bloodlines pure, Mongolian horde empires have their own brand of laws and morals, and a joust is as celebrated as a professional wrestling match - and far more dangerous. He does have a tendency to go overboard in describing the littlest detail of what armor one person is wearing and how it gleams in the sun with cloaks as soft or supple as sin (I think he used that phrase around 3 times in the book, and it was old the 2nd time), but its also those little attention to details that makes the world breath.

But more than his descriptions of the places and events are his writings about people. As I mentioned, each chapter is written from the point of view of a different character, so you get the perspective of Arya, the tomboy princess on moment, the next the view of Tyrion the Imp, dwarf (physically, not Ghimli) who's royal family opposes the Starks and reaches for the crown. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses, things you love them for and things you hate them for. And as they interact with each other, you can see all the chess pieces on the board moving, wheels within wheels spinning as Martin brings you closer into the story, making you feel a connection with each of them - even the ones you are certain are less than moral or good. He also has no compunction about killing off main characters, which means you can't trust that the "Good Guys" will make off all right in the end.

It's a book about the love of family, how it can be twisted into something terrible and ugly, or used as a tie that binds together. It's a story about the price of honor, duty and loyalty, and what those words actually mean. It's a great book, and I'm eagerly looking forward to trying out the rest of the books in this series to see if they keep up the excellent quality of this one.


You can purchase A game of Thronesfrom bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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Good Timing on the review (4, Funny)

Raindance (680694) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367507)

After all... Winter is coming

Series (4, Informative)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367517)

Beware that this is the beginning of a series. If you get to the end, you'll probably want to proceed to the second book. I thought it had been planned as a trilogy, but it still wasn't over at the end of the third, and there is no 4th (yet). I guess it was popular and GRRM realized there was good money to be made. :-)

So, anyway, beware: you'll be left hanging, much like a rotting corpse on a gibbet.

Re:Series (5, Informative)

natet (158905) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367538)

Actually, Martin has been saying that it is a 6 book series from the very beginning. Some estimate that book 4 will be published sometime early next year. It is called "A Feast for Crows."

Re:Series (0)

scowling (215030) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367640)

"A Feast for Crows" is expected to be released in August. For real, this time (there were several delays).

Re:Series (3, Informative)

Aanallein (556209) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367784)

"A Feast for Crows" is expected to be released in August.
No, that is the amazon date. The one thing every science fiction and fantasy reader should know is do not trust the amazon dates. (Which is a specification of the age-old "do not trust the bookstore people", which lives right along with, "don't bother the nice lady at Tor")
George R.R. Martin himself says [georgerrmartin.com] , "STILL SORRY. STILL NOT DONE YET." - even if he were to finish right this instant, you couldn't expect the book before September. December 2003 or January 2004 would be a more reasonable guess at this point, though I won't be surprised at all is several more months will be added to that.

Re:Series (1)

scowling (215030) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367847)

Amazon has no date. August was listed on the last solicitation from Bantam as posted in a large local bookstore.

Figures that there'll be another delay.

Re:Series (1)

belgin (111046) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367805)

I'd advise checking that date again.

It will not be released in August. George hasn't turned in a manuscript for final editing yet. He'll update his website [georgerrmartin.com] when the manuscript is done.

Re:Series (4, Interesting)

Aanallein (556209) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367860)

Actually, Martin has been saying that it is a 6 book series from the very beginning.
No, he has not. Originally it was intended to be a trilogy. Then it became four books. Then six. Right now everyone expects seven books (because AFFC replaced the five year gap that he was intending). Only Martin himself still says six books, but if you meet him in person and see him saying it, you can see that there's no conviction behind it anymore; he's already resigned to the fact that it will be seven books (and indeed already has a title for the 7th book).

Re:Series (4, Informative)

rkz (667993) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367544)

The world of Westeros, the setting for A Song of Ire and Fire, contains the perfect balance of realism and magic that has been missing in the genre for some time (are you listening Forgotten Realms editors?). We find moral ambiguity and the constant and real threat of an untimely demise, even for the most important characters. The characters are well-nuanced, with real motives and human passions. Magic is reserved for the few and, when it manifests, it does so in incredible displays of power.

I labeled Martin's prose "raw" and "reckless" because he does not appear to be afraid of any theme or issue and he turns many conventional fantasy elements on their collective heads. Martin, quite simply, is the best fantasy author since Moorcock.

A warning: don't buy this book unless you are prepared to purchase the entire series. The books are, at once, compelling and addictive page-turners that will leave you clamoring for more.

Re:Series (2, Informative)

tabdelgawad (590061) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367647)

To be fair, I think Martin announced early on that there are to be six books in the series. The first three are out and the fourth is expected later this year. The first three books constitute one long novel (although Martin is good at giving each of the three its own structure - beginning, middle, end). The remaining three are to be set sometime in the current three books' future (a decade later?), which gives the readers the chance to see many of the protagonists - currently children - as adults. Unlike some currently popular fantasy authors (Goodkind, Jordan) who have transformed their series into episodic soap operas, Martin looks to be on track to stick to his announcement. People will disagree whether this is the greatest fantasy since Tolkien, but not many will disagree that this is in the top five of all time. Get the first three books and read them!

Re:Series (4, Informative)

belgin (111046) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367781)

Just to clarify...

Martin originally intended an event halfway through the third book to be in the first book when he thought he would write a trilogy. This means that he obviously knew it would be more than three books when he published the first book.

Early on, he said six books:
A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Dance of Dragons, The Winds of Winter, and A Time for Wolves. (Though he was never happy with the sixth title.)

He has now scratched the five year gap that was supposed to come between A Storm of Swords and A Dance of Dragons, because he realized he couldn't effectively tell about certain events in flashbacks. Thus, the next book is A Feast for Crows, and covers the five year gap. He has said he intends to write little from the point of views of the children in the story because the five year gap was partly because writing so many children's perspectives on a war was driving him nuts. He has admitted, grudgingly, that scrapping the gap may force him to take seven books instead of six.

Again, for details, visit westeros.org [westeros.org] . The Citadel contains most of anything you might want to know. (Though also many spoilers for the story.

Re:Series (1)

PixelSlut (620954) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367892)

Thanks for this link, and thanks for the information. I'm a big fan of Martin and this series after reading the first three and eagerly waiting for the fourth book. I was sitting here wonderng, "Where did these guys here that there are going to be six books?" and stuff. It's great to find out that there are supposed to be six or seven books to the series, and that he actually has a goal to everything. I've been getting really saddened and bored by the way the Wheel of Time has been turning out recently.

Re:Series (1)

redkingca (610398) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367790)

I don't think GRRM has ever written a stnad alone book. He almost always writes 6+ book series.

Agreed (5, Interesting)

Rubel (121009) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367522)

It's a great series, because of its depth and interesting characters. The books are quite long, and get fairly complicated, but that just pleases the fan who only wants more. I'm really glad that the author took a B5-like approach of defining a definite beginning, middle, and end to the story rather than letting it roll out forever (like the inevitably compared Wheel of Time Books.

Anyhow, yes, it's good. Go and read them.

Re:Agreed (2, Interesting)

Esion Modnar (632431) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367580)

the author took a B5-like approach

First thing I thought of when reading the summary of all fantasy plots (things-were-bad now-they're-good uh-oh-here-it-comes-again) was B5. Shadow Wars, and all that. B5 is a good example of a fantasy plot with a scifi facelift.

Jumping in on the discussion early. (4, Interesting)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367523)

Just to get this out there for discussion:

If you think game of thrones was interesting, you're in for a few long nights when you get to storm of swords.

By far, "A song of Ice and Fire" is the best fantasy I've read, with the exception of Tolkien. And that's including such auspicious titles as "the dark tower" series and the first 4 dunes.

Simply the most enjoyable books I've read in the past 15 years.

~Wx

Re:Jumping in on the discussion early. (4, Interesting)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367548)

In addition:

I hate replying to my own post, but...

I dare you to name the main character. Go ahead.

When I started reading "Game of Thrones", I wasn't really paying attention to anyone but the Starks. I figured that all the other characters were just filler to add depth.

Boy, was I wrong. The level of character development is simply amazing. EVERY PERSON you hear mentioned in the first two chapters has a back story. Which amounts to about, what, 50 main characters?

Just... Read it, is all I can say.

~Will

Re:Jumping in on the discussion early. (1)

Enonu (129798) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367606)

I think the "main" character is Tyrion simply because he deals with everything and everyone deals with him at one time or another.

But as you say, the level of character development in this series makes it impossible to choose.

Re:Jumping in on the discussion early. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367621)

POTENTIAL SPOILER


If pressed, I'd have said that Ned was the main character when I was reading the first book, which may have been a big reason to kill him off. Now you're left no clear best-choice.

Re:Jumping in on the discussion early. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367659)

What a fucking jerk. I've read the books, so it's not a spoiler for me, but Jesus... have some fucking self-restraint, shithead.

Re:Jumping in on the discussion early. (1)

punchdrunk (257279) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367705)

For another series with even more characters, but in a sci-fi setting, check out David Wingrove's "Chung Kuo" series.

Re:Jumping in on the discussion early. (1)

Lt Razak (631189) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367772)

More characters? Is that a good thing, or a bad thing? I ask, simply because this series was maxing out my ability to keep everyone straight.

I don't mean the main 40 characters, that was easy due to Martin's amazing character development. But I printed a 11"x17" map and put it on the wall so I would quit flipping to the front and back pages to look at the maps to see where City X was and Island Y. Also the houses were hard to remember when minor characters were being brought up (like the differences between House Tyrell vs. Highgarden, etc)

Re:Jumping in on the discussion early. (1)

deangelo (127317) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367785)

Definatly one of the best books I have EVER read. As for the main character, ya I remember thinking ok, the series has to be about this guy... oops, never mind. I actually had to readjust my way of thinking at the end of the first book.
Travis

Re:Jumping in on the discussion early. (2, Interesting)

NaturePhotog (317732) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367811)

A good point. And unlike, say, the The Brothers Karamazov where you're struggling to keep the characters, their nicknames, their petnames, and everything else straight, the characters in Game of Thrones and Clash of Kings are developed quickly, drawing you into their story. Even the 'bad guys' (and there's a lot of those) are interesting, compelling figures.

And while there isn't a main character, GRRM definitely has central figures in different parts of the story: Tyrion, Jon Snow, Bran, Daenerys, Arya. But best not to get too attached to any character :-)

I highly recommend the series. I've only read the first two so far, but this is outstanding stuff. To use a trite phrase, a "must read" for fantasy fans. It's a fun ride, with twists and turns to keep the story humming.

Re:Jumping in on the discussion early. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367586)

talking of "the dark tower series" ..any ideas when the next one iwll arrive????

Re:Jumping in on the discussion early. (0, Offtopic)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367802)

talking of "the dark tower series" ..any ideas when the next one iwll arrive????


I see you're able to contain your excitement even less than I, but I know this: It's done. The book is written. Stephen king's webpage has the prologue to the next one already done and for you to read. It's comming soon. God willing.

~Wx

Re:Jumping in on the discussion early. (1)

talon77 (410766) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367600)

Agreed. This series gets better and better, and more intense with each book.. Personally, I'd rate it way above Tolkien. Tolkien was a great story creater, but he took too long to make things happen (which is the same problem I have with Robert Jordan).. while with Martin, every page has something truly exciting and interesting on it.

We're all doomed... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367529)

M$, DMCA, USA are planning to take over the world. This is no time to read stupid books.

Something must be done. Apply NOW for membership in your local terror cell and kick all their asses big time!

IDCATFA

FIRST MOD DOWN! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367541)

Good day, sir. I'm the one who modded you down. Normally, I'm just a Troll like you, but since I got some moderator points, I've become a power-hungry asshole.

So... SUCK IT DOWN!

Download (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367532)

Hey, I have something cool for you to download: click here [kingsuckerman.net]

Re:Download (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367576)

Wow. I downloaded it just to find that I can't play it. So I deleted it. Isn't Broadband cool?

Heck, if I find a player, I might download it again.

Seconded (3, Informative)

dewie (685736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367547)

Martin is an excellent writer, and the Song of FIre and Ice series in particular is highly reccommended.

One aspect of his writing I particularly like is the moral ambiguity of his characters. There are no clear-cut "good guys" and "bad guys". What bad guys there are are sympathetic characters, and have understandable motives, and the good guys aren't your typical fantasy heroes. They're human, they have a dark side, and they don't always do the right thing.

All in all, if you're a fan of the genre, you won't be disappointed, and even if you're not he's well worth checking out.

Re:Seconded (1)

dewie (685736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367588)

Yeah yeah, "Song of Ice and Fire", not "Fire and Ice". I know. C'mon, who proofs their posts, anyway?

Re:Seconded (2, Interesting)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367654)

Possible spoilers

Well, a few of the Lannisters are pretty evil- most notably Cersei and her pwecious Joffrey. But, that being said, even Martin's clear cut evil characters are 3D and well done. Utterly amoral people like that *do* exist.

I agree on the rest, though. All the POV characters are complex and interesting. My favorite is Tyrion, the dwarf. You want to root for him, but when something bad happens to him, you realize he only had himself to blame. His own quest for some sort of power puts him into the bad situation and he basically sets himself up for a fall many time. He knows what a pack of alpha assholes his family is, but fails mnay times to factor that into his actions.

I also like Daenerys a lot. I hope she hooks up with Arya and sails into King's Landing with a fleet load of whoop ass.

Re:Seconded (1)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367882)

See, even trying to claim that Cersi is all bad can be disputed. She does what she does for the love of her house and her children.

R.R. Martin? (2)

freeweed (309734) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367554)

Does this individual have a first name, perhaps George? Or is this someone else entirely, and it's now in fashion to just use our initials *cough* Rowling *cough*?

And if it is George, anyone have any idea if they're ever gonna resurrest the Wild Cards series?

Re:R.R. Martin? (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367686)

And if it is George, anyone have any idea if they're ever gonna resurrest the Wild Cards series?

They already have. Check Amazon.

Re:R.R. Martin? (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367737)

Ah, apologies, I thought you meant the originals, not new books.

JR Rowling and initials and fashion... (2, Interesting)

fantomas (94850) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367702)

I heard that "J.R." Rowling was asked by her publishers to drop her given name and go with the initials because they were worried school boys wouldn't read a novel written by a woman -- she was asked to do it by the money people rather than wanting to do it herself....

Re:R.R. Martin? (1)

belgin (111046) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367721)

Yes,
It's George R. R. Martin. He signs everything George R. R. Martin, so I'm not sure why the reviewer left his first name out, but whatever.

IIRC, GRRM showed some interest in working on Wild Cards again in some recent interview, but didn't seem to think it likely he'd get to it soon.

To do a quick search, I'd recommend visiting www.westeros.org [westeros.org] . Their Citadel section includes a vast amount of information including myriad communications with Martin, via interviews, signings, etc.

Re:R.R. Martin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367797)

Actually a entirely new Wildcards book is out there.

It's called Deuces Down, as as you may have guessed, it's a series of stories about dueces, if for anything it's worth the $30 bucks to get to spend some time with The Sleeper (Typhoid Croyd) again.

It was released around july of last year.

speak english! (0, Troll)

mblumber (267394) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367560)

Dude, this is a good review, but PLEASE take the time to read it over before you submit it!

Run-on sentances, you start sentances with conjuntions, the first sentance of the review appears to be referring to SOMETHING, but I'm not sure what...

Just spend the time to read it over and have someone else read it. Sorry, I'm really anal about these things.

Re:speak english! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367593)

"Sentence." I'm really anal as well.

Re:speak english! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367627)

perhaps you might spell sentence correctly before you tell someone to speak English

Re:speak english! (1)

grumpygrodyguy (603716) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367637)

Agreed, from the intro:

There were crows for the usual crowd, like Terry Pratchet, Nail Gaiman, David Eddings, Terry Brooks, so on ...

*cough* Neil Gaiman

I don't know too many people named nail. Maybe I'm hanging out with the wrong crowd.

@black = (pot, kettle) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367666)

Dude, that was a good comment, but PLEASE take the time to read it over before you submit it!

Run-on sentences, you start sentences with conjunctions, the first sentence of the review appears to be referring to SOMETHING, but I'm not sure what...

Just spend the time to read it over or have someone else read it. Sorry, I'm really anal about these things

Anyone who posts about bad moderation is himself or herself off-topic and should be moderated accordingly.

That takes care of spelling and a few other nits. I'll let someone else correct the grammar.

Re:speak english! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367706)

Sorry, I'm really anal about these things.

Apparently not *that* anal...

sentance - sentence
conjuntion - conjunction

Re:speak english! (2, Insightful)

anachron (554095) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367851)

Dude, this is a good review, but PLEASE take the time to read it over before you submit it!

Dude, this is a good comment, but...

Spelling errors ("sentance"), dependent clauses mingling with independent clauses, redundant direct objects in your second to last sentence...

(Sorry, I couldn't resist. Correct not, lest ye yourself be corrected.)

(I know, I know. "You're new here, right?")

Waiting for the next book sucks.. (3, Insightful)

talon77 (410766) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367564)

I love a song of ice and fire. Its the best series I have ever read, and I've read all three books over 5 times now. Its frustrating to see the release date of A Feast for Crows (book 4) keep being pushed back however.. now I think it is slated to be released in April 2004.. which is about the 10th time the release date has been pushed back.. Sigh. oh well, I love martin and am willing to wait for books of this quality.

But... (4, Funny)

mikeophile (647318) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367565)

Is it worthy of reading while on the throne?

Free (0, Flamebait)

Leffe (686621) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367572)

Not avaible from Project Gutenberg yet, eh? Well... I guess I will have to wait a couple years... I hope the wait is worth it, or else...

Or maybe I could get it in school after the summer... too long, can not wait. I guess I have to sink to the level of pirating books, hmm a better name: bookz ;)

If I were an author I would be really happy if I knew that people were pirating... well... if more people buy it than download of course...

Hmm... bootleg books, I think not.

Re:Free (1)

Rubel (121009) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367603)

There are, like, Ten copies [lapl.org] at my local library system.

Re:Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367651)

we only have 5 [leicester.gov.uk]

Re:Free (1)

Leffe (686621) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367662)

Good, send me one :) I'll send it back a month or so after the time is out, I never return books in time. It's just some thing I can't stop doing.

Re:Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367724)

Jeez, what a fucking retard.

If I ever meet you, I think I just won't be able to stop kicking you in the balls.

Re:Free (1)

Cunk (643486) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367685)

Hmmmm...free access to books...what a subversive concept. Boy, this Internet thing is really shaking the foundations of our society.

I guess Andrew Carnegie was the original thorn in the side of mass media.

Re:Free (1)

kaden (535652) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367801)

It's all of $5 for this book... or you can buy it used for $2 or so if you look around. It's so moronic to suggest that, for someone in America/Europe, $5 is too steep a price to pay for literally dozens of hours of somewhat thoughtful entertainment. At any rate, pirated books are indeed called bookz and they're more accessable than you'd think. Fortunatly, there's a big difference between a txt file you can only read on a comptuer and a comfy paperback version you can read anywhere. I'll still buy a book any day, even knowing how I could get it online for free.

War of the Roses (3, Interesting)

malakai (136531) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367573)

Don't think DeVito and Michael Douglas, think Richard III vs Henery VII. This book is essentially that tale be playing out in a fantasy setting

I did enjoy them. As you can imagine the political strategies in the book are numerous. It's also a nice read because good guys don't generally come out on top. They don't come back from the dead. An all powerfull wizard doesn't make it all right. And a lone wolf doesn't come in from the cold and fix everything use talents he didn't know he had. This book is harsh, but a good read.

-malakai

Re:War of the Roses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367609)

They don't come back from the dead.

*Cough*

Re:War of the Roses (1)

Lt Razak (631189) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367812)

Heheheh, my thoughts exactly. Although I don't know *what* you'd call them. I'd rather be a bloodsucking vampire.

Best read? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367581)

Is he complimenting himself there?

The whole series (1)

Lovebug2000 (195893) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367583)

This has to be the best series I've ever read, and I stand by them always. GRRM's site points to the 4th one coming along, hopefully by fall *crosses fingers*. But the feeling I get from the series is that he planned it as a trilogy, and had an in depth plan for the whole series, and things just started taking too long. You can tell this by the fact that the prologue in the first book doesn't even begin to be realized until midway through the third book. It's simply amazing how the 3 books tie together, as if they are just one huge book that he had to release separately or else we'd have a 3000 bage novel no one would read.

Definitely the cream of the crop as far as fantasy goes.

EARLY POST FOR SID=31337 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367595)

OMFG! VLAGGOT!! LOL VLAGGOT! LOLOLLROFFLE VLAGGOT!!
--
Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like OOG.

Excellent Book (2, Insightful)

turtledawn (149719) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367596)

This is my favorite fantasy series. The characters are well developed, the plot has lots of interesting twists, and the characters you'd think are shoo-ins for winning, don't win. It's not the typical American fantasy novel, and I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment in the series. If you like this, you might also like the "Kushiel" series by Jacqeline Carey, with the caveat that it's a little explicit in places.

George R. R. Martin (3, Informative)

natet (158905) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367598)

has become one of my favorite authors. I have read all 3 books in the Song of Ice and Fire, and am anxiously awaiting book 4. In fact, I am re-reading the first 3!

If you liked the first 3 books, I recommend going to you local library and picking up a copy of Legends. It is a collection of short stories by various authors. It includes a story by George R. R. Martin called the Hedge Knight, which is a must read for any fan of A Song of Ice and Fire.

Re:George R. R. Martin (1)

Cyram (262342) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367806)

Needless to say, this isn't all he's written. There are other books of his that are extremely addictive too. Fevre Dream is a great story about steamboating on the Mississippi and...vampires. The characters and plot are quite complex and I feel that it is as gripping as The Song of Ice and Fire.

I recommend it to help carry you over to when the next book in the series is released. He has a few other books, but I haven't read them yet. I've heard some great things about his short stories (Song for Lyra, Sandkings) but haven't read them yet.

My favorite series (2, Interesting)

ProfessorXavier (686863) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367599)

This is a very viral series. I was turned on to it, and have since turned most of my friends on to it, and so on. This is definitely on of the best series out there, in any genre. The prose is very visual, and the entire history is very well thought out. Read the book, and you will be hooked. And then you'll be like me: come to work, get a cup of coffee, and log in to www.GeorgeRRMartin.com to see when book #4 will be released. Winter is coming

Re:My favorite series (1)

Lt Razak (631189) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367832)

Yea, I'd like to thank a new Border's store in my city for this one.

The employees took the time to put little cards up next to a bunch of books.... "Hugo award winner 2002"... "Nominee".... etc.

This particular series had a card up that said: "Best Fantasy book ever". Read some reviews, then picked them up. Great read.

Bleh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367602)

I have to say I didn't really like this book... is it well written? yes... Is it as full of intrigues as the bold and the beautiful? OH YES OH YES OH YES! heh... I got extremely tired of the intrigues and shit going on... you could like watch sunset beach or whatever instead ;-)
If you like intrigues though, then I'm sure it'll be a great read for you!

Some information (1)

Dog and Pony (521538) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367620)

http://www.georgerrmartin.com/ [georgerrmartin.com] - the authors web site, with information about the status of the series.

It is a great series, one of the best I've ever read together with the works of Stephen Donaldson (Gap series, Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, etc). But it was quite a while since I read the last book, and still no sign of the rest of the books... I don't remember how many was planned, but I think it was something like 8 or 12 books... which is good, if they ever hit the market, and bad as it is now while waiting.

Re:Some information (1)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367704)

I believe he has contracted to do six books. The first trilogy is out, and there is supposed to be a gap of several years in the story universe between the two trilogies. First book of the second trilogy is listed on amazon but not yet released. They HAD a date at one point, but I guess its slipped.

hmm (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367622)

Book Reviews: A Game of Thrones
Fun toilet reading?

Somewhat offtopic possibly... (1)

MaestroSartori (146297) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367625)

...but read Stephen Donaldson's "Thomas Covenant" books. Top class!

Re:Somewhat offtopic possibly... (1)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367681)

Do you ever get the feeling- all across the Covenant series, the Mordant's Need books and the "Gap" SF series- that Donaldson HATES his characters? ;-) I have never seen an author brutalize his creations as much as Donaldson.

Re:Somewhat offtopic possibly... (1)

wagemonkey (595840) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367795)

In my opinion he brutalizes his readers.
I started on the Illearth War and, well it made me ill. It's very rare for me to not finish a book - sometimes I slow down until bored but I rarely just give up. And I NEVER throw books out (charity shop etc). Except Donaldson. -1/10 . Yuk.

Tragedy and unfairness make realistic (3, Insightful)

abe_is_fun (320753) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367626)

I found this series to be, as the reviewer said, one of the best I'd read in a decade.

I was impressed with the author's courage to lead the reader into the life of a main character, cause the reader to empathise with and respect the character, and then unmercilessly have the character killed, unfairly and unjustly.

This is much more believable and realistic than the happy-happy tripe spoon fed by most authors: "The Rambo Syndrome" where a formulaic plot consists of
1. no bad guys can hit anything they shoot at
2. no good guys die
3. the bad guy is 100% evil
4. the good guy is about 98.44% pure
5. truth and love win EVERYTHING at the end
For these types of stories, you don't even have to read the whole book, or watch the whole movie. You know that if you flip to the last few chapters, the bad guy will be vanquished and the good guys will give each other hugs and high-fives.

I think that Martin's series is closer to some of the good old stuff like For Whom the Bell Tolls [classicnote.com] or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid [filmsite.org] .

Name? (2, Interesting)

BJH (11355) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367669)

His name's George R. R. Martin, and his page is here. [georgerrmartin.com]

He's still sorry... damn.

Don't read it!!!! (1)

frantzen (137260) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367676)

No other book will ever be the same. GRRM is such a master of weaving complex plot lines, spawning sub plots that turn into major plots before you notice, then deftly merging multiple plot lines back into one. It's one great tapestry of characters. GRRM honestly took the joy out of reading for me. It's like growing up drinking bud, discovering guiness, and finding out there are only three glasses of guiness on the planet with only three more to come. I check GRRM's web page every day hoping he'll announce when I can get my next hit.

Re:Don't read it!!!! (1)

Lt Razak (631189) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367865)

Just get married. Now you don't get to drink Guiness OR Bud.

Prior Art (of the Literary Persuasion) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367692)

I don't know who did it first, but Piers Anthony uses that same technique of writing a chapter from a different character's point of view. In his books, they cycle through the main characters, basically.

J.V. Jones (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367701)

> But Martin does it by focusing not on one main
> character, but on a whole slew of them

He's not alone in this. J.V. Jones [jvj.com] does this in her 'ice series'.

What happened to Robert Jordan? (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367707)

Seriously.

His first few books in the WoT rocked my world.

Now, although I haven't given up on them, I just don't have the heart to see one more smoothing of the dresses, tugged on braid, or no Mat.

Give us back our Jordan we used to know, damnit!

I'll have to give this dude a read. thanks for the review

Re:What happened to Robert Jordan? (1)

greenhide (597777) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367742)

Mat comes back in Winter's Heart (I think). I haven't read Jordan's latest book (#10), but Winter's Heart is the best book since Crown of Swords or Fires of Heaven. Path of Daggers exerted a strong suckage field indeed.

Re:What happened to Robert Jordan? (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367813)

yeah, I've actually read Winter's Heart. Still didn't do much in it though. He is massing for either the best series ending book(s) ever, or just sitting back and laughing at us.

Re:What happened to Robert Jordan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367759)

Robert Jordan is a third-rate hack.
If he had a proper editor (one with some fucking backbone), the series might have turned out OK, but as it is, it's several thousand pages of drivel.

Re:What happened to Robert Jordan? (1)

l810c (551591) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367826)

I think your feelings are almost universal. I just finished book 10 and Nothing Happens. It doesn't even have the Final Showdown that the previous books have. Seriously, take a map and plot the movement of characters in book 10. And the plot gets about as far as they do.

As for Martin, I discovered him a couple of years. Read through the first two books, waited anxiously on the third an am waiting even more anxiously for the fourth.

Nail Gaiman? (1, Redundant)

HoppQ (29469) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367709)

I don't think I've heard of Nail Gaiman. How does his writing relate to J.R.R. Toelkien's?-)

Re:Nail Gaiman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367835)

Neal is a great writer. Maybe not as techically good as Martin, but He's much more imaginitive. Neal wrote the Sandman series of comics for DC/Vertigo back in the late 80s and early 90s, penned an episode of Babylon 5 and has writen 6 or 7 books. American Gods being his most recent.

Be aware of explicit content (3, Informative)

Batfang (686868) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367749)

One thing people need to be aware of with this series is that it is extremely explicit, with graphic descriptions of violence, including torture, maiming, rape, murder of children, and just about every other repulsive act you can think of.

While the quality of writing is excellent, I would not recommend this series to anyone but the most jaded fantasy reader who is bored with the reams of cookie cutter fantasy in bookstores and is ready for something different, although in my opinion, it's different in a bad way. While J.R.R. Tolkien might hint at the horrors of evil, George R.R. Martin describes it in loving detail. I had enough after the second book.

Re:Be aware of explicit content (0, Troll)

Matt Ownby (158633) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367869)

I wanted to make this point too. These books (I've read all 3) do use the F word and have some explicit violence and sex scenes in them, which I consider to be a big drawback. However, I have still read all 3 books and plan to read the 4th. I just finished reading the new Harry Potter, a book and series which shows that an author can write a wildly entertaining book without resorting to explicit passages in their book. But I doubt that there is any hope of getting Martin to tone it down a bit, I'm sure that he would say that the scenes play an important role.

Magic is Understated (1)

tabdelgawad (590061) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367756)

One item missing from the review and that I haven't seen in the comments yet: Martin's use of 'magic' is very restrained. Don't get me wrong, this *is* a fantasy series, with many supernatural events and characters with interesting 'powers', but this is not what drives the story at all.

This series reads more like historical fiction than sowrd-and-sorcery fantasy. It's set in a medeival world where magic exists but is not part of every day life, and the protagonists' secret weapons turn out to be only their physical skills or brains as often as some magical power.

If you like Vampires.... (1)

wagemonkey (595840) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367757)

... and I don't mean BTVS or Anne Rice, then you should real George R.R.Martins Fevre Dream. I would say say it's horror, but fantasy/horror rather than slashfest (no pun intended) - although there is more than a little gore...
Similarly in the SF genre there's a short story called The Sandkings by GRRM that's pretty good too.

A refreshing read (1)

Gambrinus (103988) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367767)

I couldn't put this book down and was chomping at the bit for the sequel to come out. Nobody is sacred to Martin. Death and chaos abound, major characters become minor, minor characters become major, and when the book is done you say "well I didn't see that coming".

The history of the world is very rich. "The Hedge Knight" which Martin wrote for "Legends: New Short Novels" published by Tor (Jordan, Goodkind, Feist and Pratchett also had stories published in the work) explains some of the references to historical figures that are made in "A Game of Thrones", "A Storm of Swords" and "A Clash of Kings".

I hope that Martin finishes the series in six books and none of them are fillers. Martin definitely sets the bar high for heroic fantasy writers.

Win or Die (1)

FuriousBroccoli (649868) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367769)

In just 3 books, GRRM has proven himself the finest fantasy author since JRRT, and that is saying a LOT. His books are technically brilliant, his descriptions elegant but not doting, and his dialogue is brilliant enough to differentiate, with taste, the hundreds of significant characters that play in the drama. In the past few years I have suckered over 14 friends and family into reading these books, half of which HATE fantasy. They all loved the series, and are eagerly awaiting book #4. FYI: there is a great CCG based on the books. It just won the Origins award for best new CCG. [agameofthrones.com]

Terry Goodkind (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367796)

Also, give Terry Goodkind's 'Sword of Truth' series a try. He has a bit of a fasination with torture and S&M, but he also has some interesting takes on standard fantasy stuff. Also, rereading the series, I can see some things in the first book, for example, that are dead hints to stuff in the later books. Neat, as they're so off-hand and casual, that the first time you read it, it's not clubbing you over the head with 'FORESHADOW! FORESHADOW!'

Lets see..Wizard'S First Rule, Stone of Tears, Blood of the Fold, Temple of the Winds, Soul of the Fire, Faith of the Fallen, as I recall, are the order.

Agreed... (1)

Mezzrow (469345) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367800)

This is the finest fantasy series I have read. I really liked the ideas, and the characters are wonderfully well elaborated. Be warned... Martin is not afraid to kill 'main' characters as well, which only enhances the storyline. The only part about this series that I don't like is the wait over the past year and a half for the next book, but I've heard its coming out this fall.

Its funny that not a lot of people have heard about this series, but thats changing. I saw a Kiosk in B&N the other day advertising these books.

Wild cards was okay as well. Some interesting Ideas, some decent stories, some not so much. Martin is the editor for those books. They are written by a number of authors.

Good sync (1)

hellstorm (26985) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367837)

I just finished reading the book last week (the spanish edition by Gigamesh Editorial). I think it is an excelent book, stealing me a lot of sleep time ;-)

Now i have a question, is the second book of the saga good enough to buy it right now in english, or wait for the spanish translation that is in preparation?

Not for the more experienced reader (3, Interesting)

Aanallein (556209) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367846)

Although Martin writes very decently, and I love the history of his world, A Song of Ice and Fire does have a few major flaws.
The main one of these is that Martin writes purely for effect. When the shock-effect of something happened is largest, that is when you know beyond a doubt that it will happen. No matter how stupid his characters will have to act because of it. For people who haven't read all that much fantasy (yes, generalizing, I know there are exceptions), a lot of this comes as complete surprises, and he seems to do a lot of things that are completely innovative; but people who've read fantasy beyond Tolkien/Eddings/Jordan/Goodkind(*shudders*)/Weis, etc and have instead explored fantasy from the late 70s and early 80s will recognize a lot of what's happening - and see that it's not all that special.
Second is the gritty-ness of his world. It's overdone. There is exactly one family in the entire world with people capable of having selfless thoughts; every single other character in the series (no matter how unimportant) will be mean, vicious, cruel bastards - often literally. If you want a darker, gritter world than most modern fantasy offers, instead of Martin I recommend Steven Erikson's Tales of the Malazan Book of the Fallen.
Third is the fact that ASoIaF didn't start as a fantasy. This is not a secret, Martin often explains it, but many people don't realize it when they start reading the books. The series started as historical fiction. Only when the first book was almost finished did Martin begin to use more and more fantastical elements, and turn it into a fantasy.

A good resource site for SciFi/Fantasy (1)

darthv506 (571196) | more than 11 years ago | (#6367853)

I haven't had a chance to read Martin's books yet...but I do have the first 3 in softcover waiting for the series to end (got burnt on too many long, never-ending series - thanks Mr. Jordan :P ). A few other authors you might want to try would be Tad Williams, Robin Hobb and Steven Erikson. The Science Fiction and Fantasy World website has a pile of info from News and Reviews to their user forums. http://www.sffworld.com/

fantasy novels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6367890)

Instead of reading these bullshit 9th grade reading level fantasy novels why don't you try reading some books on economics, history and philosophy?

Then maybe some of you tards could actually form halfway informed opinions on topics other than what scripting language has more snazy features.

Actually half you tards can't even come up with a halfway reasoned opinion on technology either.

Oh, you're hopeless, just go read your "The Princess and the Electric Sword of IZkabibble" in between games of "Mr. Doopies Adventure" on the X "MS Sux0rz" Box...
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