This was a tough one for me, in spite of the valiant efforts of Roy Dotrice. After the excitement and intensity of the first book, I figured there was enough momentum to propel the entire series - but this one took a very different direction. Game of Thrones was a very unpredictable, genre-bending fantasy/noire that threw in every curveball it could, then Martin decided it would be fun to watch everybody in Westeros slow wayyyy down and play a game of Settlers of Catan. You would think 7+ major parties vying for the throne would be exciting to watch. . . but I assure you no. Let's see - Tyrion traded 6 armor and 2 sheep for wildfire. Theon rolled the dice, then traded 3 iron for 1 rusty crown. This really is how the book plays out - except that it adds about 100 new characters, only 3 of which maybe matter. It's also hard to analyze just 1 book in the series, as I understand that we're building toward something - maybe in the bigger picture of the series it's not as big a deal... but slogging through these 1,000+ pages (37 hours) felt like pushing a safe across a sandbar, so my answer as to whether I will continue the series will have to be "Eventually."
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.
I've reread this book once already and plan to do so again. I found things that I absolutely did not remember on the second read.
The narrator is EXCELLENT with the many voices and he brings the characters up out of the book. Martin lives in another world to be able to write these story lines. After reading books like this I find it hard to get involved with movies... nothing on screen can be as realistic to me as the mind's eye listening to these type of books.
I can't see anyone enjoying the books in the series "Fire & Ice" without starting at the beginning and reading all the books in order. All the books build on themselves so you need to start with "Game of Thrones" to understand all that has/is happening.
I just hope that Martin lives long enough to get the series completely written...
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.
After pouring through Game of Thrones by Martin, I had to start the second book. I am thorougly enjoying Clash of Kings. You can never get too comfortable with any of the main characters, because you never know when Martin might lop one of their heads off or torture them mercilessly. He is gifted at making you laugh, gasp, and shriek all at the same time and that's just in one paragraph. He writes with such determination and weaves such a tapestry of rich details and characters, that you can't help but delve headlong into his world. I highly recommend this book for any lover of fantasy. Martin is one of the all time greats!
The story is absorbing. It sweeps you along until your finger refuses to press the stop or pause button. I have often found myself sitting in the car late for an appointment, the novel running through my speakers. A mention to the reader. He is good. More than good. He reads with articulation and passion. What a great combo. Get it, you won't be sorry.
A Clash of Kings is the thrilling continuation of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, started with A Game of Thrones.
Dotrice continues to get better and better. He really comes into his stride in this volume, honing and perfecting the voices that he started in the first book. While A Clash of Kings has never been my favorite book in this series, Dotrice's narration breathes a life into it that was beyond my expectations.
I highly recommend it.
Story: The second book, while still really good and enjoyable, is not as interesting as I would have hoped. I'm familiar with the books as I've read them before, but I guess I've never really compared them. The second book compared to the first or third isn't as interesting and doesn't have events that are incredibly exciting. Don't get me wrong, there's still some cool things with shadow creatures, wildfire, and stuff beyond the wall, but aside from that I didn't find much else. Maybe if I didn't compare this to the others I'd give it a five, but what's coming up in the next book deserves a five.
Performance: Once again, this is a five. There are just too many characters and they all pretty much have a unique voice. If I had to guess, I'd say there are at least 100 characters in the series. If you're able to give nearly everyone a voice, congrats, you get a five! Plus, you get to enjoy some singing.
Overall: I still went with the five. Even though the story isn't as interesting by comparison, it's still a really good book.
Avid Audio book listener, Blogger and Book-Seller.
Witty, weighty, whopping, widespread, wonderful!
After listening to this entire series several times, A Clash of Kings, Book 2 has emerged as my favorite of the existing 5. The one over-riding factor is Tyrion Lannister. The twisted monkey-demon has wit and cunning like a Roose Bolton...no wait...like a dolphin or killer whale writ small in a sea of numerous, lesser equipped beings.
Roy Dotrice, a fantastic narrator, and this series as a whole is the reason I "read" at all. I became addicted to audiobooks because of this series. I noticed several bad reviews about Dotrice and sure it's a tad annoying when he pronounces a name inconsistently once in a while, but that just lends to the organic nature of his performance. After all, there are 224 distinct characters in the 1st book alone! (Guinness World Record) His performance of the Late Lord Frey is one of the funniest things I've heard in any audiobook. His range is from various "common-folk" voices to haughty lords is impressive. I love him!
This story, takes up well where the first left off. My few qualms with the first book have been well satisfied here and the characters continue to be excellent. I feel I've come to know these people. Some I enjoy spending time with, some I loathe; but all evoke strong emotions. Martin is a genius with his characters. Martin's fantasy is much darker than most, but more real as well. I appreciate the maturity.
I am ambivalent about the narration. While Dotrice is a pure pleasure to listen to and his voice was an excellent choice for the overall narration, I find his characterizations lacking. Most of his male characters sound either like pirates or as though they have speech impediments. His female characters are unconvincing. So, I remain undecided: I loved his narration, but wasn't taken with his voice characterizations. I don't remember this being so striking in the first book, but I've watched the series since then. Perhaps I have different expectations of the voices now that I've seen the series. Hard to say.