I hesitated, spending 2 credits on this but it's listed as the top or near the top of fantasy, I thought I'd try...unfortunately, the first rule of writing is that the reader must love the characters...I did not. I didn't hate the characters nor was I angry with their actions. I simply did not care.
This book could benefit from being about 10 hours shorter. I'm not sure what it is that differentiates useless details from engaging atmosphere, but my eyes rolled back in my head after about the first 6 hours or so. The main characters are pretty one dimensional. I had a hard time caring about any of them. Most of the great fantasy I've read has an over-arching mythology to it, and this story seems to be missing that, unless it has yet to be revealed. If it's going to be revealed in the second book, I guess I will never know...
With all the great reviews I was looking for a good read. Instead it was incest, rape, and debauchery with a little bit of story mixed in. I've read many stories and listened to almost as many that were clean and were awesome. I think very poorly of authors who cannot write decent stories that can be read by teenagers and up. I gave it 2 stars because the narrator was very good.
The series is (and probably will forever remain) unfinished.
I have just completed listening to the last installation of the series. For me, it was a surprise that the story is yet again unfinished, but this time the end comes as such a shocker since no single plot line is completed. The feeling is that Martin just got tired of writing it, ended the sentence and promised to finish the book next year. Now it is quite obvious he is never going to finish it, and although I enjoyed listening to the 4 books of the series, I feel a bit cheated, especially since each book costs 2 audible credits. I have spent 4 months worth of credits on an unfinished work; I really wish Audible put a note about it in their review of the Game of Thrones???
Of course now I did some research and saw the frustration of the readers of this series about Martin never delivering on his promise and completing it, but when I bought the Game of Thrones I was unaware of it, and now I regret the credits I spent.
I don't mean the book is written badly, but I mean that everything, I do mean everything, is explained in graphic detail. The characters speak in crass terms too, so be warned. Also this series is yet to be completed and unlike Wheel of Time, it doesn't look to be completed anytime soon. I would therefore avoid the Ice and Fire saga.
Finally a fantasy tale that is as gripping as any thriller I've ever read. I loved the story, the characters, the world that GRRM created, and the narrator. All in all a very enjoyable read. I highly recommend this book to folks who don't need fairy tales, but are looking for edge of the seat drama in a ficitional world that comes alive from the start to the end of the novel.
My only gripe about this particular Audible download is some of the reviewers of this work. I read both the positive and the negative reviews to get a handle on whether I'd enjoy the book or not. I can't tell you how annoying it is to read spoilers in a review because the reviewer isn't polite enough to his fellow Audible-ites to give a heads up. I'm a little surprised that Audible doesn't police that better. As to those reviewers who like to spoil the tale for others, their spoiler remarks gave such the wrong impression of how the tale unfolded that no wonder they didn't like the book...they didn't get it at all. Go back to fairy tale reading!
I've been thinking about listening to this book for a couple years but was held back by the 2 credit charge. When I saw HBO is doing a series based on it I knew I better go for it and I have not been disappointed! Some of the best characters, character development, plot twists, sub-plots and dialogue I've read since the last Peter F. Hamilton book I read!
My only complaint is with the narrator who makes everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, sound like crusty 70 year old men. He's got a bunch of different crusty old men voices, but it's pretty weird listening to a boy who's supposed to be 14 years old or an 8 year old girl talking like my emphysema inflicted bartender! I would rate it 5 stars if not for the narrator. Not saying he's not very good at certain characters but it would be better with a reader who could get the younger and female characters. Certainly won't stop me from moving on to part 2 though.
I listened to this in 2007, and never bought the other books in this series. Recently a friend of mine let me know that HBO was going to do a series based on these books, so I downloaded GoT again to get a refresher. I LOVE THIS STORY, but now I know why I never went any further. The English narrator does a fantastic job with older men, grizzled soldiers, and the like. But when it comes to portraying the women and youths in the story he fails miserably. They all end up sounding like some terrible version of my 90-yr-old grandmother, or they end up sounding whiney and petulant. Ugh. I'm going to finish the novel, but I'm sorely disappointed in the quality of the narrator.
Well..this series is the best of the best. But be warned. Its not something a person would like who goes to church every week. its has murder, rape, incest and foul langauge. not on every page. but its there. But its there cause it brings out the story in a brutal time in a time of war. The author has a way for you to feel every charater, good or evil. And the narrator Roy Dotrice is great (for all but the latest books) I used to say Robert Jordans wheel of time was my favorite series...but this topped it!! (side note...the Imp is my favorite charather in the book :o) )
I was looking for a new series and a long one at that. I like fantasy-type books well enough, but only high-quality ones... there are endless mediocre books and series to be sure. This series was just what I was looking for though!
It starts out quite slowly; as other reviews mentioned, there is a tremendous host of characters and there are so many simultaneous plots going on! It took me a good 3-4 hours to warm up to the narrator and familiarize myself with the characters and what was going on.
It is definitely worth it though. By the time the momentum finally builds up, you're hooked for the duration. And what a duration! I listened to this for weeks and finally finished it up on a return 20-hour road trip. I can't wait for the next installment.
Great writing, great plot, very good narrator. I wish there was more variation in the voices, but honestly with so many characters I can't fault the narrator for running out of accents and voices. The many varied voices he *does* do are superb and he's dead-on emoting a vast array of character types, moods & emotions. The only way they could have possibly handled it better would be to have another narrator or two just for side characters and/or females or something.
This one will keep you entertained and riveted for quite a long time; and this is just book 1!
I highly recommend it.