I greatly appreciate Roy Dotrice's regular reading voice, but in this book, I find his vocal acting to be incredibly annoying; there are a couple of places where I've skipped sections of the book just so I don't have to listen to the huffing and puffing and wet-mouthed saliva sucking.
To add to the frustration, whoever cut the audio together for this book together wasn't paying much attention; nearly every chapter, there are one or two places where two sections overlap; a sentence will be read, then there'll be a long pause, then that same sentence will be repeated, and the book will continue.
The book itself is fine, but I won't spend two credits to listen to the narrator groan and moan his way through another chapter. I'll wait for the miniseries, or get the actual books from the library.
I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.
I am way late in reading this this novel. I have had numerous people tell me how much I would love it. They raved and raved. I thought it was better than average. I will read book two, but not right away. I found it tiring to listen and although I usually listen about 2-3 hours per day, I found myself only getting in about half of it.
There are so many characters, a multitude of locations and hints of story lines and histories. I think Dotrice is a good voice -- but he nearly put me to sleep several times.
Perhaps book two will help me gain momentum with the series. I recommend listening in small doses. I am one of the minority who only thought it to be so-so.
I tried really *really* hard to get into this book. I listened for hours. It just couldn't grab me, no matter how hard I tried. I thought it was long winded and obsessively intent on describing every detail.
To be completely honest and fair, I have been watching the TV show. That very likely has ruined the books for me- I know the show doesn't track exactly as the books do, but knowing where it all is headed kind of kills it for me.
I also think there is a serious herd mentality that is attached to these books as a result of the show. I would love to see the numbers and reviews of the books prior to HBO picking it up. But maybe that's just my cynical worldview.
Just not for me.
Would I change anything about the book itself? No. Well, the long lists of names of Garwen, son of Grabain etc, which are a bit Lord of the Rings-like, and there is a good chance that you will never see those characters again. But I logged on in order to write a review of the performance, not the book.
Tyrion, because of his indefatigable wit
In almost every possible way. Roy Dotrice has a lovely reading voice, a proper actorrrr in the old-school British sense. But throughout the series (I am now listening to the fourth book), he cannot read a name the same way twice, sometimes even changing it from one minute to another. For example Brienne, who he decides from the beginning to pronounce "Bra-eene", became "Bri-enne" for a few sweet moments in the fourth book, alternating back and forth to his first wrongly-pronounced choice. Targaryen, a pretty important surname, is mostly Tregaryen, sometimes Tergaryen, or whatever comes to hand first. Joffrey is Jeffrey quite often, Catelyn is Kate-lyn or Kat-lyn, Gilly becomes Jilly, and so on. I mean, did anyone in the publisher ever listen to this? For $40 per book, you would expect at least a perfunctory listen by a semi-conscious editor. And as he so often changed pronounciations from one book to another, did he even know that he was reading books from a series?And that's even before I start talking about the voices or accents. Now, Mr Dotrice was not a young man when he read these books, so he always sounds reasonably mature, so there was never any need to actually put on an old person's voice, when reading the parts of 30yr olds or 40yr olds, was there, really. He makes young fresh knights sound like old retired army colonels, any non-aristrocratic woman sound like a toothless old hag, and a huge amount of the 'ordinary' people incredibly stupid. Gendry is meant to be an un-educated guy, not a clinically thick one. It's so painful listening to his dim-witted voice for Gendry, or the completely constipated interpretation of Tywin Lannister, unable to get through a sentence without huffing and puffing every 4 words, that I wanted to skip through the chapters they were in.Lastly - accents. Roy Dotrice showed an astonishing lack of knowledge of some pretty simple premises - that Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion Lannister were all children of Tywin, for example, and were brought up by him in the same place. I know this is a fictional universe and our accents do not apply, so when I say that Tyrion Lannister had a Welsh accent, Cersei spoke Received Pronounciation, and Jaime was another constipated toff, I am just trying to say that 3 siblings had very different accents, when you would think they had the same. I liked to think that maybe Dotrice had realised his mistake in book 2, as he switches Jaime's to a bit more Welsh, but it's still Tyrion and Jaime in the Welsh camp vs Cersei and Tywin in the English. And as I have just noticed that Arya has been changed to Irish in the fourth book, it seems he picks accents and voices at random as yet another character turns up, and it's luck of the draw if he will remember which combination he used if he comes across them again.There are some other howling errors of inflexion and pentameter, where he must have realised that he read it wrong, but neither he nor anyone thought to get him to press rewind and try the sentence again. I listen to a lot of Radio 4, so am spoiled by the excellent voice actors who are clearly well directed and edited, so perhaps I am a little picky. But we are paying good money (or credits), not listening to a free radio service, and we are trying to be transported to a land of make-belief through our willing suspension of disbelief, so having these glaring and irritating errors bringing us back to this world of apathy, laziness and lack of pride in a job done, is like a slap (or many, in this case) in the face.I would dearly love to have a decent voice actor do all these again; someone who might actually quickly peruse the books beforehand and make notes of who is related to whom and where they come from, and perhaps even note their own pronounciations. Dotrice is/was allegedly friends with the author which is absolutely astounding - yet another person who didn't call him up on his mistakes! I know it's not just me bemoaning this. Anyone listening to these with a modicum of attention would notice it within minutes.
Waste lots of my time researching it, rather than working or studying.
USED CAUTION when starting this series, if you buy audiobooks you will spend over 230 hours listening to the five books. I love audiobooks and own over 200 titles. When I find a character that I like I buy all of the books even if it's only two books or 20 books. I believe that the character belongs to the author but the story belongs to the listeners. I don't mind waiting a year or even two for the next installment of a good book. I also don't mind spending $40 or $50 for a good book and have done so in the past. But I do think it's unfair for the author to make us wait four or five years in between installments. George R R Martin is very lazy, it's been three years since his last book " A Song of Ice and Fire" and there is no new book on the horizon. Use caution if you are starting this series George may never finish it !!!!
I am easily amused!
I Loved everything about this book. I swapped back and forth between reading and listening. Great fun just don't get too attached to anyone character. Delving into the next one now!
I don't agree with the previous reviews that Roy Dotrice's narration almost ruins the book. He may not be my all time favorite reader but I enjoy listening to books when different accents and inflections are used to differentiate between characters in the story. This does make you have to listen closer sometimes but I like having the story performed. I did have trouble with some names but many are very unusual but similar like, Mallister, Lanister, Waymar, Raydar, Viserys, Daenerys, Illyrio, or Eddard instead of Edward. I did download the book in the 3 format a larger file but there is less distortion in the sound.
It's a shame that the rather negative review of Roy Dotrice's is still at the top. I don't think the reading could have been done any better! English is not my mother tongue and A Game Of Thrones is certainly not the easiest book to read out loud, yet Roy Dotrice manages to make it come to life without effort. He never slurs, his voice never becomes annoying even after hours of listening.
Considering the book at hand and the wealth of minor characters it introduces, it's not suprising that an inattentative listener would have a hard time following some of the more obscure plot twists of George R. R. Martin's wonderful epic. If you have not read the book before listening to this, you will have to concentrate on listening to be able to understand the many lines of plot without becoming confused. If you are looking for an easy listening (or even reading) experience, this may not be the story for you. If, on the other hand, you like complex plots and well thought out worlds, this is one of the best around.
Five stars for a superb reading of a superb book.
I didn't read the book and found the perfomance difficult to comprehend ( slurred accents and irritating voices ) - too much repetition of the same lines ( as if the book had been laid down and same lines repeated when picked up again )
I think the narrator did his best but his style is not suitable to the tale. He would probably do much better reading Dickens
I will buy the book and read it
Thrilling, addictive and immersive
Ned Stark's end.
Anyone else. I absolutely hated this narrator. He didn't know how to pronounce names. In fact, he pronounces Bran as "Brian," Winterfell as "Winterfall," Catelyn is pronounced multiple ways. And his mewling voice didn't match the tone of the book at all. Hated hated hated his narration. Game of Thrones deserves so much better than this.