From Austen to zombies!
At 46 hours, this unabridged edition is quite the commitment. But don't worry--this book went by way too fast for me.
This continuation of the story from A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings couldn't be more exciting. While there are rather a lot of plot threads, they merge enough so that the reader can tell what's going on. Similarly, secondary or tertiary characters can get lost, but that's forgivable with a story this sweeping. Martin even manages to work twists into the subplots.
The best part of the trilogy, for me, is that Martin weaves a believable fantasy world without falling back on too many fantasy cliches. Yes, it's about kings, knights, dragons, princesses, battles, and so forth, but the characters are real people, with timeless virtues and flaws. Cersei Lannister may be a bit flat, but young Sansa Stark is surprisingly real. Tyrion Lannister in particular is memorable; he and his brother Jaime have some of the best dialogue I've ever read outside of Elmore Leonard.
The narrator, Roy Dotrice, does a fabulous job, bringing life to the characters with his blustery British tones. I was disappointed to see that he didn't narrate the next book in this series, A Feast for Crows, but that didn't make this book any less enjoyable.
One caveat: if you've listened to the first two books in this series, you probably already know that it isn't always family-friendly. It's definitely PG-13, and in places even R. If that's a concern, there are other excellent titles with less for parents to worry about (the Shannara series comes to mind).
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.
Read this book because it's good, but the performance by Roy Dotrice can often times be so mush-mouthed and affected, it makes many of the characters he portrays completely unintelligible. Sadly, we only have his performance to listen to.
I wish the narrator put a lot less Cockney in his characterizations.
Now I know there have been so many reviews that I hesitate to add one. I just wish to say I enjoyed these books tremendously. This one is the third of the series "A Song of Ice and Fire", whose title takes more and more ominous tones as the story unfolds. The first two books were "A Game of Thrones" and "A Clash of Kings", and although I haven't written a review of those, I agree with all those who raved for the book. I loved them all. How else could you listen to this third volume (38 hrs?!?) So I assume I am preaching to the choir here. If by any chance, you haven't listened to the first two, you really need to start with GoT (as the first volume is called amongst fans). Absolutely.
For the fans, I just wish to say that the fourth installment comes in November. I've already asked Audible when they plan to provide the audio version. I find these books more immensely enjoyable in audio form, although I recently bought the paperbacks as a reference, esp. when the fourth volume comes out. It'll be handy, and more easily browsable than an audio version.
So there. If you don't know where the web site is, and would like to read the announcement from the author himself, google it or go to georgerrmartin.com. In a previous page (now defunct, I wonder why) he explained that his choice for "A Feast for Crows", as the fourth tome is going to be named, is to take apart the book he'd be writing and only keep the part about the Seven Kingdoms (yeah! my favorite!) The part about Daenerys and the Isles is going to go into the next installments. This way he'll be able to finish the fourth in time, and in fact it makes more sense to him. And to me too: it was a bit irritating to jump back and fourth between the two continents in two stories which we knew wouldn't come together till much later in the story (perhaps not even in the next two volumes).
For those of you feel same, my favorite character is Arya. Can't wait to hear her story. Yeah!
To me George R Martin is the best fantasy writer. Though I love his books, the speaker in this audiobook is even better. He makes the characters come so alive, I seem to know them better than most of my friends (no joke!).
I stopped rereading the books and only listen to them.
Once again, George R. R. Martin delivers a fantastic read in this, the third book in A Song of Ice and Fire, and it's better than the first two. For those critics that like to complain about Martin's tendency to heap insurmountable troubles and tragedies upon his heroes and heroines, well...they won't be dissapointed! Martin gleefully takes the reader on a roller coaster ride full of both happiness and sorrow (albeit much more of the latter than the former,) and it will leave you exhausted but exhillarated at the end. The writing is as compelling and powerful as ever. Roy Dutrice is a pleasure to listen to as always--the man is a wizard with all his voices and accents; he does a better job of suspending my disbelief than some of the full-cast audiobooks I have listened to. Even with characters dropping like flies (which is skillfuly balanced by having such a numerous and colorful array of characters) many plot issues are resolved, some are put on hold for the next book, and more than a few new twists will keep readers wringing their hands for the next installment. It brings me great sorrow to know that this is the last audiobook to date in the 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series, and it would be a travesty if Audible doesn't get their hands on the next book (entitled A Feast For Crows.) Now I have to subject myself to little spurts of cloyingly melodramatic drivel from lesser authors and lesser narrators. Sigh. The dispair is almost enough for a longtime fantasy reader to take The Black (so to speak) and not listen to another non-George R.R. Martin audiobook, ever.
The best in the series, this book is one of the best written/read audio books I?ve even encountered. It kept me riveted until the last word; I was as rapt at the end of hour one as I was at the end of hour 50. This is definitely not your typical fantasy novel. It is, in a word, amazing.
Martin is the most talented author in the Genre since The Professor made it respectable... it's as simple as that.
If you have not read/listened to these books and you enjoy fantasy, you owe it to yourself to do so. Solid multidimensional characters, deep plot, good imagery (not Tolkien level but good nonetheless)... these books have everything. The most annoying part of the books is that you get so deep into each character that when he switches to a different one you get mad, only to get into that character and get mad when he switches back. Then of course there's his propensity for killing off main characters... don't get too attached to anyone!
In this third volume of George R.R. Martin's epic fantasy, familiar voices (and new ones) once again greet the listener as Mr. Dotrice redoubles his efforts in tackling such a mammoth tome. At around 46 hours of audio, A Storm of Swords follows the continuing conflict between the Stark and Lannister families and the ensuing war that has erupted across the kingdom.
The listener will be left on the edge of their seat and waiting for the next volume of the series as A Storm of Swords is brought to its dramatic close. True to his prior readings, Mr. Dotrice breathes a life into the characters so well that it is all too easy to forget that it is but a single man doing the reading.
I recommend it!
I listened to the first book, read the second, and heard the last. Without a doubt Mr. Dotrice delivers an eloquent narration from beginning to end.He reminds me of how much I loved being read to as a kid. Somewhere in the spoken word you can hear the sounds of atmosphere and ambiance that compel the listener into beliveable worlds. His repetroire of accents are numerous and deep. Some of the women's voices fall flat, but the children and men are well done. And those are obvious strengths and weaknesses.
I finished the book in less time it took to listen to the narration. But I thought that the spoken word added so much more to a strong foundation. It seems to me that though I consider myself a strong reader I did not read the story for all that it was worth; a good reason to buy the audio book.