Martin is incredible. Great characters, fearless plot--no one is safe--and masterful pace/susupense.
Dotrice, on the other hand, has mastered all of maybe 3 different voices, and each of them is about as easy on your ears as broken glass mixed with sandpaper.
I may not even listen to the rest of these novels simply BECAUSE Dotrice is involved.
This is a gripping tale and a good continuation of the story, as others have mentioned I think Roy Dotrice is one of the most talented narrators I've ever had the pleasure of listening to - he makes each character come to life. However this book is probably 30%+ longer than it needs to be - I listened at 2x speed and still found it to be plodding at times. That said, I will continue on to book #3 to see what happens with the Starks, Lannisters and Tagaryans.
While I have enjoyed the series immensely, I am periodically put off by Roy Dotrice's portrayals of some of the characters. He does many things so well including consistent and distinct voices for each character and keeping Tyrion and The King slayers voices different but similar (they are brothers). But often he portrays young people and women with voices that sound so unrealistic that I find it disturbing and distracting. Teenagers are often made to sound much older and most older characters sound toothless. I am about to try the fourth book in the series and hope that the narrator, who did Pillars of the Earth, is an improvement, though I suspect from the preview that some of the subtle tones of Dotrice will be sacrificed for more of a "reading" than a portrayal. Stay tuned.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
I am writing this review based on the first four books of this series overall.
There is a LOT going for these books, good character development of many strong, interesting characters (every one with their own fortes and flaws), a superior writing style with interesting vocabulary and a lack of clich??s and many of the other faults found in most fantasy novels. The majority of the chapters are good, a few chapters (at least one per book, excepting book four) are among the best to be found in the genre. Yet I did not come away pleased. The story moves from one complication to another, one interesting character to another (some of the characters have a half-dozen or more names/personae), but there is little resolution. Some sub-plots come to an end, but there is not a resolving. The story seems to have become more a fantasy soap opera than a novel; a well written and compelling soap opera, but a soap opera never the less. The only technical flaws that annoyed me were a few minor anachronisms and some grating crows and half-wits. The narrator for the first three books had VERY strong character voices (which might be too much for many). The narrator of the forth book erred in the other direction (in a book with so many characters character vocal differences can be a good thing). Somewhere in between would be nicer. This was much more of a saga than an epic, more good writing than literature, more a series then a story. I will not be listening to any more unless I hear that they finally and successfully resolve. The first book was the best of the four, with the next two being nearly as good, the fourth was much weaker.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
After reading the first of the installments: Song of Ice and Fire, I decided while I could appreciate much about the book, A Game of Thrones, it was probably too dark and I would not continue to A Clash of Kings. Obviously, I caved. I watched the HBO series of the first book and like it a lot. I particularly enjoy long complex novels so I gave ACoK a shot. While I was not disappointed, it was many hours of blood, guts and gore with very little forwarding of a real story line. A little more magic has been introduced but the common thread of just so much violence and death is just too much. If maybe I get sucked into next season's HBO continuation of Song of Ice and Fire I'll read book 3 but probably not till then. The story is very engaging and book 3 even now calls out to me but so too do some drugs. But I must be strong.
I am not as enchanted by this series (I'm about to finish book 2) as most people seem to be. It's good. The characters are interesting, bad guys are very bad and good guys VERY good with a couple of gray people to add spice to the mix. If you are looking for a long, complex series to fill the hours for quite a while, this is a fine choice. But "Lord of the Rings" it is not, nor even "The Wheel of Time." The whole thing is really about war and power and skulduggery. Which, if you like that, is fine. I am more into character development and interaction than endless power plays with the expected back-stabbing and chicanery. And eating. I am a writer too and I know filler when I read it. Every meal is described in absurd detail. Spicing, sauces, even cooking methods. Geez, enough with the food already. It goes on for literally hours in each book. I am not that interested in the quality of their cuisine and if I wanted to watch the cooking channel, I would do that!
It's readable. It has fine narration. There's a lot of action and interesting situations. I will eventually listen to the whole series I am sure, but I'm not in a big hurry to know how it turns out because I simply don't care enough, nor have I gotten sufficiently attached to any character or characters to become deeply involved. And oh yeah, Mr. Martin has a nasty habit of killing off anyone I really like. This is not a cheery tale and the good guys frequently lose. Kind of grim actually. I stick with my initial assessment. Good. Not great.
Martin's series is grand and ambitious in its scope, and that is simultaneously its blessing and its curse. The writing is strong, but the pace of the story is at once somehow quick, drawing the ear to the next page, and painfully slow. His use of different perspectives to tell the story is refreshing, but there are certain characters that it seems should be added to that list who remain absent, while some characters can grow simply tiresome at times. Nonetheless, if you're here for more of what you got in "A Game of Thrones", you'll find plenty.
That being said, Dotrice's narration is, to say the least, a mixed bag. Some characters, mainly the older male characters, are given excellent voices. Similarly, the voice he uses to narrate the general text itself is deliberate and clear. That being said, the list of characters who are nearly destroyed by his flamboyant voicing is long and unfortunate. He miserably fails at voicing literally every female character in the book, especially Brienne of Tarth and Mellisandre, and he manages to butcher most of the younger characters, including Theon Greyjoy and Bran Stark. His most distracting and consistent failures come with two of the most important characters, Tyrion Lannister (who is given to sound like a shamefully caricatured leprechaun) and Lord Varys, whose sloppy annunciation and unmstakeable lisp are a shame to Mr. Dotrice and an absolute failure to grasp the character. Also worth mention are his terrible performances as Hodor the stableboy and Yoren the black brother. With Hodor the failure is less distracting, since he only says one word anyway, but Yoren is consistently annoying and hard on the ear in every scene.
Nonetheless, the writing is strong enough that a careful listener can work around the narration. I would recommend this recording of this book, but be aware of what you're getting yourself into beforehand.
More important, I think, are the books I would not compare it to. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Heinlein's works and essentially all other rote fantasy material is not fundamentally comparable. Often, the books read more like a novelized, fictionalized history of Scotland or England, and that's a compliment. Martin understands the kind of society he's mimicking, and as such he manages to write what is mostly a political novel with fantasy elements, rather than a fantasy novel with politics.
I will, but *only* because his is the only available narration of these books. Otherwise, I would not be caught dead listening to another of his performances.
Keep reading the series.
Its a shame that you can't go to the beginnings of chapters because the track markers seem to be at random places in the middle of sentences and in middle of chapters.
No. I seldom listen to books more than once.
Tyrion Lannister. Obvious underdog, bullied his whole life. He's coming up in the world and doing big things. Will he stay humble? It seems like a question Tyrion would ask himeself.
That's why I like the character so much.
Roy does 2 or 3 voices voices very well.
But! his females all sound like toothless old crones in pirate movies. Even the young beautiful ones.
The remainder of male characters sound like grumpy Leprechauns. I'm not joking. They really do. It's getting quite old and it's very disappointing.
That said Roy has the perfect amount of drama. His voice is excellent for reading the back story. You find yourself lost in the story till it comes time to narrate a female part. Then he snaps you out of it like being awakened from a sleep by a power saw in your bedroom.
37 hours N/A.
Just finishing up book 2. Already bought book 3.
I'm excited about the series and will be more than ready to move on after book 3.
Regardless of how it leaves me hanging.
Epic, intrigue, adventure
The author does a great job of getting you emotionally attached to the characters.
Inconsistent voices for characters. Everyone sounds like an 80 year old man.
Great book and story. The Roy Avers narration is much better.