I read this book first before I listened to it. I really enjoyed the royal politics, and political manuvering, but had to mentaly adjust the ages of the children up 5 years to make it feel more inline with the presant idea of childhood. I Would not suggest this series for younger readers, but have still found it one I've been drawn into.
With respect to Tolkien, this is simply the best Fantasy Fiction ever written. There are already extensive reviews out there that you can read on how good this book, and series are, so I'll just add to the chorus.
Concerning the audio version, it took about a Chapter or so for Roy Dotrice to grow on me, and after listening to the first 3 books, you will miss him sorely by the time you get to A FEAST FOR CROWS, where the reader changes, due to an unfortunate scheduling conflict. I sincerely hope Mr. Dotrice returns for A DANCE WITH DRAGONS.
I listen to this entire series at least once a year.
If you are a regular listener of long, complex audiobooks you should have no trouble with either the narrator or character names in this series. There are many, many characters with unusual and often similar names. I listen while I run so, it has my complete attention (and is a welcome distraction). It takes some getting used to, but sticjk with it. I can't imagine a more perfect narrator for this style of book. His gruff voice lends itself well to the story.
I am a big fan of long, epic fantasy fiction, and this one is very engaging. An important note to any who may have children or teens who love Lord of the Rings and other fantasy fiction, this is not PG. It is pretty explicit in language and action.
If you like this also check out the Lords of the Otori series - the best audiobooks I have ever heard.
This has got to be the best audio book I have listened to. I normally do not like books that have so many different main characters and different storylines going at once but this one has been great. There is so much detail that you can really see the story unfold in your minds eye.
It is deffinately not a feel good fluff piece it is obviuosly fantasy but with a touch of real world sorry and tragedity. This is not a story for the faint of heart or stomache. It depictions of war in a midevil setting are true to form and gruesome.
I cant wait to see how it all turns out and look for to the next 2 books.
I contend that one of the marks of an outstanding writer is one who creates characters so real, including flaws and failings, that I find myself thinking "Why would you do that? Don't do that!" or "C'mon - everyone KNOWS what's going to happen here. Are you just blind?" Fortunately for me, the characters never respond.
Martin has created some very real characters and an amazingly detailed environment. The skill with which he paints everything from the people to the scenery is impressive.
I've listened to all three books in this series, and I was totally captivated from beginning to end.
I have to say that this book was great! As opposed to those that don't like that main characters die, I found this refreshing. This fact alone makes you really wonder what is going to happen next, unlike most books where you can be pretty certain the characters will make it though the tough times. It may be a bummer to see someone die that you have come to like, but that is how life is. It isn't all bright and sunny days, where the good triumph and evil is destroyed, just remember 'The Winter is Coming.'
I thoroughly enjoyed the first three books of this series. The plot is complex and the author does a good job of character development.
The first three books are filled with intrigue, plots and war. This is not usually what interests me in a fantasy book but Martin's characters kept me captivated.
My one complaint is that I feel that his world lacks beauty and grace. Tolkien this is not. In Martin's world it is the villians and louts that seem to prosper. This is a book of trechery and blind honor. Martin does not shrink from killing off his characters.
The story line moves slowly, in part I think because he spends so much time developing his characters and a very complex story line.
The writing is far bettter than Jordan's Wheel of Time series.
I reccomend this book. The reader is really terrific.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this series and approached the audio version with a bit of trepidation. This is a LOT of listening, so the actor doing the portaryals had better be up to the task. Mr. Dotrice does a SUPERB job! His accent and inflections are beyond wonderful! Dick Hill had been my all-time favorite reader -- now he must share his "title" -- this series would be worth buying just to enjoy the readings. The story itself is among thte best in the fantasy genre, even in spite of some unnecessary digressions the author sometimes takes -- they are usually so intriguing that the story is all the richer for it. PARENTAL WARNING: there is a goodly amount of very graphic sex and violence -- all very appropriate to the story, but you must decide if your adolescent reader is ready for it. The earthiness adds to the reality of the tale: so realistic, you'll wish you were reading history instead of fiction.
Oh -- and unlike MANY fantasy writers today, these characters actually develop!! And you don't waste time with "reluctant heroes" that can't quite seem to grow into their role. (Robert Jordan, take note. There is more action in any single chapter of Martin's books than all of Jordan's over-padded tomes combined!)
If you are a fiction fan you can't go wrong with this series. The series is unpredictable, exciting and graphic. You get an excellent idea of how the world works from king to peasant. The book almost reads like a mystery novel once you get hit with the twists and turns the story takes. Martin is a master of the shocking plot twists in fiction writing, and his descriptions of the action, landscapes, and details make this series a gem to read. The narrator here is THE best I have heard on any audiobook thus far. Each character has their own voice and this caries through the other books in the series. You can't go wrong with this one at all folks.
Just a short review. Some of these reviews say that the reader is difficult to understand. Well, maybe if you are not paying attention, like my dad when he is trying to do something else at the same time. Otherwise, I think he is awesome. I was constantly amazed that all those voices were just one person, and he seemed to hit the mark on everyone (sandor, for instance). Anyway, thats just the reader. I think i had my earphones in for a month, listening to all three of these books. Now I just cant wait for the next one. If you like fantasy i.e. Lord of the rings, wheel of time etc.. you will Love this series. It is for the 18+ crowd, however (R for v,l,n and sc). Happy reading