Special Edition Book Reviews are picture-heavy reviews about an edition’s special features and my review of the extra content and a physical book’s characteristics. Plot and character information is detailed on separate full book reviews, you can find my original book review for A Game of Thrones here.
A Game of Thrones: The Illustrated Edition: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book One (A Song of Ice and Fire Illustrated Edition) (Amazon Affiliate Link – If you purchase from this link I may get a small commission, my sincerest thanks if you do.)
My local library had this book available so I happily picked it up to check out the illustrations from this giant tome! Note that this copy is heavily used and a version bought new will probably be more visually wonderful. I read A Game of Thrones first in July but the characters and situations are still fresh enough to make these illustrations well worth perusing. After checking them all out, I’m even more determined to pick up the illustrated version of the sequel (A Clash of Kings) which is being released in November.
There are a total of 73 illustrations in this title, or around one per chapter. A whopping 19 artists contributed to the art found in this book and I am utterly stunned by how consistent and harmonious their styles end up seeming.
Each piece is minutely detailed and takes up a full page, usually black and white but a few are in full color. While reading the eBook for this title my mind’s eye kept on traveling to the TV show for how the characters look, if I had to choose, would have preferred imagining the characters in the way they’re depicted here- I love the art style(s) utilized in this book. They could arguably be considered on the romanticized and overly pretty side but, confession, that’s typically how I like to picture characters in fantasy regardless of potentially dire surroundings.
The text is a soft serif font called Minion. It may appear thin or pale in these pictures but rest assured that in person, every line looks crisp and very readable. The pages are slightly thin with a sort of glossy finish, appropriate for artwork but I felt the need to be a bit gentle while turning pages.
If the hardback cover looks textured in the cover that’s appropriate as it has a nice, noticeable texture in person. While not feeling as leathery as it looks, the glimmery and embossed finish on the title is nice and noticeable.
There is also a full-size color map on in the inside front cover. I love maps in fantasy books even though I usually don’t think too hard, if at all, about the geography of fantasy worlds to be honest. Love seeing colorful renderings though!
A couple changes I would have made to this edition-
- Each chapter is from a different character’s perspective. The illustrations occasionally seem randomly chosen and not entirely fitting for that chapter.
- There is a back page glossary detailing the houses, I think a few illustrations (perhaps collages?) featuring the relevant characters of each house would have been a fantastic inclusion, even if it meant taking away a few pieces of contextual artwork to make it happen.
- There is no dust jacket. The back cover has a detailed description via a placed sticker that has lost some of its luster from many check outs and perhaps age. For a title that retails at $50.00 USD, I think a dust jacket is should have been included.
- I’m not sure how many times it’s been checked out at my library, but the bind is a little creaky from use. I can tell just from feeling it that thicker material should have been utilized in making the covers/bind.
- There is no table of contents. If anyone has the original edition of this book please feel free to inform me if it has a table of contents but regardless, some re-issuer at some point should consider having a more organized way of dividing up the huge sections of this book because I can imagine a sort of possible nightmare of stopping in the middle and a bookmark sliding out. D:
That said, if you don’t plan on lending this book out a lot and its main place will be on a shelf for occasional browsing, I don’t think the aforementioned criticisms will be an issue. Furthermore, using tougher materials might have made the book even heavier and it’s a decently wieldy weight for being an almost 1,000 page tome. I recently picked up the illustrated version of The Books of Earthsea which is also around 1,000 pages and that one feels substantially heavier. You’d probably need a table to navigate it while A Game of Thrones will sit pretty comfortably in a lap or on a pillow.
As books (usually) naturally depreciate over time it’s worth noting that A Game of Thrones Illustrated Edition is $25.89 new on Amazon right now. (Amazon Affiliate Link)
Here is my full book review for A Game Of Thrones if you’re interested in learning more about this title.
Overall Rating – 9/10 (10/10 for the book itself)
Why You Should Try It – 70+ beautiful illustrations. The art style is so delicately detailed. The weight of this tome is reasonable considering the page count. The embossed cover and bind look lovely and nice on a shelf. With general single-owner use, I can imagine this book will hold up beautifully.
Why You Might Not Like It – If you accidentally flip to certain late pages, you might end up viewing spoiler-ish pictures. There was just one picture in particular that I found to be quite spoiler-y. With heavy use, this book can definitely show its constructive weak points. A dust jacket would have been ideal.
Have you read A Game of Thrones? Do you like collecting unique and/or special editions of books? I like it when those editions have a lot of extra content that really makes them special. This one counts quite well toward that in my view. Thanks as always for your time spent reading/viewing this post, and I look forward to your thoughts as always. ~ Kitty