I've read all four books twice and am listening to the series for the second time. Excellent series...below average reader. I thought it would be better the second time. It was not. The slurry-spittal-filled quality of Mr. Dotrice's voice is difficult to listen to, especially with earbuds, and the whiney-leprechaun-esque voice he gives to the dwarf is embarrassing. Many of the characters are women and teenagers, yet they all sound like old men. His stops and starts make me wonder if he actually read the book before recording it. It's been four years between my first and second listen, and I've heard some really wonderful readers during that time. Perhaps someday it may be re-recorded. There are a lot of people in this series. It's a rather prodigious undertaking to keep track of that many character voices and, whereas Mr. Dotrice is a wonderful actor, I don't think this material suits him.
I cannot say enough good things about these books, or enough bad things about this narrator.
I read this series in print back when they first came out. I loved them dearly, and was looking forward to listening to them.
Since then I've "read" over 200 audiobooks. This is the first time I've given up on a book because of the narrator. That should tell you that I'm fairly tolerant of the wide variety of readers that are out there.
The problem is not his characterization of the various individuals' voices. It's the cadence of his speech. I actually have trouble following the narrative because of the speed and rhythm with which he reads. I shouldn't have to concentrate to understand what the reader is saying/follow the narrative.
I truly wish I had listened to the sample before purchasing this book. Buyer beware.
It took me about 10 chapters before I really could get used to Roy Dotrice, but by the end of it, I couldn't imagine anyone else reading this novel. He does a great job with all the voices, and with the tons of characters in this story, that is a lot voices!
Yes, it is long with a lot of descriptions and back stories and throw-away names. Fortunately you can take the story at it's surface or you can dive into this deep rich world with a fairly realized history.
This book, despite its very long running time (took me over two months to finish it), is obviously just the beginning of a much larger tale. It is a somewhat self-contained story about war and betrayal where the characters are obviously being manipulated by something much bigger.
As much as I see other reviews talking about it's abominable characters, there are also characters (John Snow and Arya) you will learn to like.
There's just a touch of magic in this volume, but only enough to plant the seeds that will probably be growing in the next novels in the series. The ending has me wanting to come back to the seven kingdoms.
Winter is coming! :)
I really enjoyed this book and was thrilled to learn that it will be a series on HBO in 2011. Sean Bean is in the cast as Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell.
I listen to audio books when I don't have time to sit and read. Many of my friends have recommended this book to me, and with the HBO series coming out soon, I thought I'd try it.
Overall, the story is good. It's gruesome and gritty, with many sexual scenes (some with a child as young as 13, so if that's not your style, here's a warning) that I raised an eyebrow at. It's all a part of the well thought-out plot, and enhances it rather than detracts from it, however.
As much as I liked the book, the narration really got on my nerves after a while. I've listened to many male narrators pull off a believable female voice without sounding squeaky, and this guy's not one of them. Also, he does a voice for several characters that has him sucking in a wet, slurpy breath every few seconds. It's revolting and completely distracting from the plot.
Most distracting, though, is in several parts of the story, there will be a long pause in the file, and then the last several sentences will repeat themselves. I've never had that happen in any other book I've listened to.
4/5 stars, it would have been 5 if the audio quality and narration had been better.
I haven't been this entertained in years. I was listening with every spare moment I had. Highly recommended for anyone that wants to be swept away in a medieval adventure. After finishing the first, I couldn't wait to get on to the second book.
I'm sure the story is excellent...the parts I could actually understand seemed very interesting. Unfortunately the reader along with the sound quality is god awful. The guy reads like a drunk old british guy. He slurs his speech so much, I've must have hit the "back 30 seconds" button at least 10 times within the first hour. It's too bad this guy reads the other books in this series because I'm probably going to end up skipping them. This is one case where the book is probably easier to get into than the audio version.
Roy Dotrice, I've just put you on a list of readers to skip.
As things go along, Mr Dotrice's reading improves, or perhaps I become more used to it. I don't care for his approach; he's reading a little too much and interpreting not enough. Then again, I am spoiled by Patrick Tull.
Artist living & working in the SF Bay Area
Imagine a historical fiction (something like "I Claudius") with all its intrugue and political plottings - boosted with more gritty and detailed parts - very few aspects left to innuendo or the imagination. George RR Martin - makes this sort of very real, vivid and very dangerous place come alive in this book.
Reading this book you feel like an interloper into another time & place. A very dangerous place. Quite a thrill for those who seek it. Bravo
This book and series is one of the best, if not the best out there. It is a twisting story with kings and knights. Don't look for trolls and wizards... its not that kind of fantasy. Magic and supernatural elements do have a place in the story however.
The Good: Some love the narrator, some don't. I loved him, but be aware they change narrators for book 4 and I felt like I'd lost all of the characters I'd grown to love/hate. Will soon be an HBO series so you can always wait for that if you don't have time to read / listen.
The Bad: Story can be very dark and brutal in places so if you are easily offended, you might want to skip. The series is not finished and looks as if it may never finish. It's been 5 years and counting since the last book.