After waiting for so long to get the next installment in this series I was disappointed to read reviews on Amazon that said this part of the series was a standing still waste of a volume. And I saw a lot of reviews that said that. I'm a huge fan of this series so I got it anyway because I figured GRRM has basically done so well to this point that if this volume dropped in quality it was still probably going to be light years ahead of nearly all other fiction being written these days.
Boy was I wrong and those reviewers right. With the exception of Cercei not much progresses in this volume. Daenerys has become perhaps the weakest character of all in this volume. She has so many opportunities to make her move and regain her throne and whether or not she is successful doesn't matter to me anymore. In fact, I'm beginning to believe that Martin will never have her actually make her move. She is panning out to be a whining child that has no clue that she is nothing more than a weak pawn in foreign politics. Sad because she had become a really interesting character in the way she was able to be basically a cast off widow that by all measures should have been killed that forces her way to the top and become a legitimate force in the world. Now she's reduced to just a sniveling girl that for no reason what so ever doesn't want to go take back her throne. I know, I know, she's worried about all the people she has saved on this side of the world who will be victimized if she leaves, but then that too basically indicates that Martin was a false and unreliable narrator when he made her seem she has the kind of influence and power to leave her conquered cities and take her throne without needing to worry if the freed people could take care of themselves. In earlier volumes Martin would have in fact written that kind of character. Now I'm afraid he doesn't even know what he wants to do with the characters and the story.
Plus, this has become a story that has nothing but completely reprehensible characters. There are so few characters that are remotely likeable anymore that I really had to struggle to get through this. Just because you take a likeable character and brutally kill him or her does not mean that drama and tension is ramping up. It just means you're giving me less and less to like about the story. Especially when all the twisted and evil characters get right to the brink when they should be getting some punishment and then Martin always saves them and pulls them back so they can continue to romp through the story. This is not satisfactory. I've dropped other series because they've gone this same course and I really got close with this volume.
Also, there are so many characters being introduced that the whole story and what is happening is becoming completely muddled. This isn't a story about a civil war and an exiled queen trying to take back her throne. This has become an over indulgent exploration of a bunch of created cultures and their varying politics. I would honestly say that if 50% of the pages in this volume were missing the actual number of pages which advanced the story(ies) was over written by a factor of three.
I'm also different from other reviewers in that the narrator for Feast of Crows was bad. It was a bit of a system shock to hear a different voice but the story was still good enough that it didn't matter. However, when Dotrice started doing this weird, Scottish, Old Lady Troll voice for Dany I really wished the last narrator was back. It was especially odd because Dotrice didn't have her voice that way in the other volumes he read.
In the end this became very difficult to endure. I'll give the next one a go but if I don't see significant progression in the actual story rather than a bunch of (arguably) character development/exploration I will likely turn it off and never come back. That's how far down the quality of this volume came.
If John is truly dead (and I suspect so because there is no way he could have survived) I'm going to be convinced that Martin is really not that great a dramatist. Like I said earlier, if he thinks he's ramping up the drama by having the bad/evil characters constantly killing the good/likeable characters he's way off. All he's doing is making me not care at all about any of the characters. John was my last hope.
So now that I read back through this whole thing I realize I pretty much have no reason to check out the next volume. Not that it matters. It is getting so long between installments Martin will probably die before the next one comes out.
If it were any other writer I would rate this book four stars...but I have higher expectations of Mr. Martin. The writing is vintage Martini- perfect pitch- sparse but beautiful- sometimes his prose is poetry. BUT...the plot moves (at least I think it moved) at the pace of a wounded snail- NOTHING happens- no resolution to anything. The book reminids me of the cul de sac that Robert Jordan got himself into in Volumes 8 and 9 of the Wheel of Time Series...worthless. Mr. Martin needs an editor- at least one who will let him know when he has so many characters stuck in place doing nothing but wandering, withdrawing and dithering. I expect more from Mr. Marting. Perhaps he should draft Brandon Sanderson to finish the last two books of this series. Mr Sanderson has delivered two volumes of the WOT in the last two years- beautifully written (as close as possible to Jordan) but much more fast paced. Seriously- it took Mr. Martin five years to write this morass of confused plot lines.
Okay enough ranting- I feel the way I did as I slogged through the middle of Robert Jordans WOT series- I was to invested to turn back. Please- will someone please tap Jordan on the shoulder and tell him that plot lines should MOVE occasionally! What a disappointment. The first three books in this series were spectacular - better than Tolkien- the fourth slipped a little- and now this?
A whole lot of new characters without notable characteristics. Nothing much happens. Reminds me of a student trying to stretch a 500 word idea into a 10,000 word paper. Even Tyrian seemed lame. Dotrice didn't care enough to get the voices right, not even for the jester who keeps shouting "I know!, I know!" And considering the title, the dragons get short shrift. Way too much self analysis, way too little action.
GRRM phoned it in. I won't hold my breath for number 6.
I logged in to write how Roy Dotrice changed Dany's voice from the first three books in the series he narrated. I see that everyone else is complaining about it. First off, the book is great. I've been waiting years for it and I'm not dissapointed. I do have an issue with at least one of the voices; Dany's. There was always a voice here and there that I thought was a bit ridiculous, but it was never a main character; especially since Dotrice already had a perfectly good voice for Dany in the other books. He basically gave her the voice of an old wildling crone. Didn't anyone at Random House pick up on this? Anyway.... five stars still, I love the series and I love Dotrice. I just had to point out that annoyance.
This is just about the slowest paced and most tedious book I have ever listened to. There are about 44 hours of boredom slowly, torturously metered out. You wait for scores of mostly irrelevant characters to do anything more than aimlessly ponder what they might do, but don't do. At most, there are about 5 hours of anything interesting that actually does happen in this enormous story. Nor does Roy Dotrice's once superb narration add anything to the book. For some inexplicable reason, in this book he has given Denaris, the 14-year old gorgeous queen, a voice like a broken old ancient hag. The first three books and narration were superb. Sadly, the 4th and 5th books are about as enjoyable as a kidney stone. It seems like the author, George RR Martin, is merely rambling aimlessly along just to milk this series as long as he can.
A total disappointment. Verbose, boring, lacks direction, a poor excuse to take my money. I want a refund. Compared to the other three books this is a disaster of literary proportions.
Loved the first four books. They are absolutely the best series I have read, but this book was not worth the wait. Over half way through and nothing much has happened. It just drones on.
I wavered between two and three stars. I was really irritated with the cliff hanger endings particularly at the Wall. No way the series will be done in two more books - it will be three at least (assuming the mortal body of George R. R. Martin holds up for another 12-15 years). For eleven years of waiting I cannot say I was impressed with the results.
I don't think Roy Dotrice went back and listened to A Storm of Swords. His voices for many of the main characters is different (especially Dany), but of course he has seven years on him from the recording of A Storm of Swords so some slippage is to be expected.
The best parts of the book are the two Darwin Award winners. One disobeyed a direct order from a Commander who would have a very personal grudge against him, and the other for someone who thinks dragons can be handled like any other livestock. Honorable mention for someone who does not learn from his sire or his brother.
Ok, first off I like Roy Dotrice, he is very good with the male characters in this series. The women on the other hand are horrible and inconsistent unless it is a washer woman or old servant. He has changed Dany's voice from a normal, slightly softer voice to this old lady commoner voice and now Melisandre has gone from a husky, smokey cool voice to a high pitched accented voice. This sucks. You would think someone involved with the production would have pointed out to him that the voices were completely different in the preceding books. The reader should of at least listened to his prior readings (Maybe 11 years made him completely forget the series). Who is running the show over there at random house audio. Please call Steven Pacey for the rest of the series
I like the series as a whole, but this book was not the best of them. It was drawn out and pretty boring.
I didn't find much interesting in this book. I had a very hard time finishing it and even skipped through chapters to find something to that reminded me of why I liked the series in the first place.
The familiar characters are gone, replaced in this one book with new, which makes trying to get into the story hard. I traveled a road with the Starks and Lannisters which ended up nowhere.
Roy was ok in this one. Everyone sounds the same and he definately ruined Dany for me.
OF COURSE IT DOES...