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.
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!
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).
Wonderfully expansive story
I would have preferred a straight up reading. His voice would have been fine, but his attempt at voices for specific characters fell short. He had 2 voices and one of them sounded too much like Donald Duck. It really took away from the book. My girlfriend stopped listening because of it.
Enjoying audiobooks daily!
Ok, so how fair is that statement when this is the last one I read of the series? But thus far, this IS the best book! Jaime becomes more human. Joffrey gets some payback. Tyrion narrowly escapes death...again. Sansa is taken captive...again. Arya spends just way too much time with Sandor Clegane (even though I love him!) and get's Needle back. Jon becomes a man and faces his peers on the wall. Bran and his crew are always on the move. Stannis, Davos and Melisandre have problems with each other. Lady Catelyn becomes...well, I won't spoil that for you. The Red Wedding. The Wall being attacked. Joff's wedding. Jaime held hostage. The Others. OMG!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you GRRM. Thank you for THIS book.
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.
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!
So many positive comments on the narration I was surprised. Yes, the man is talented and can do lots of accents. But why would different family members who've always lived together have different accents? Insanity. Why is Mance Rayder made to sound like a silly old man? Tywin Lannister sounds like a Winston Churchill imitation and don't get me started on the horrible, offensive chinese-esque accent for Missandei used even when she's speaking in her more familiar language and shouldn't have much of an accent. Generally, the accents and reading made me nuts, but the book is so good I couldn't stop listening. Big books like these need a good producer to track accents and pronunciation, so I don't necessarily blame the poor old narrator. The reviews of the reader of the next book aren't encouraging but I for one am ready for a break from this nonsense. Without a different production team, what are the chances it will be any better?
Having spent over 70 hours over the last two books, I really don't know that I got anywhere. Oh sure, some of the main characters are killed off, but really, where are we left at the end? I know I am going against the trend here, but this is nothing more than a fantasy soap opera!
And sorry, I vested quite a bit of emotion into the Starks, and for over 70 hours, they are no better off and in fact, are worse off. Nope, this one kills it for me. Time to move on.
I love Roy's performance. It is one of the reason's I am not going any further. He doesn't do book for and in book 5 all of his characters voices are different.