I thought when I started listening that this would wrap up the Game of Thrones series. I wish it had. There is no one left I even like. The plot is overwhelmed by way too many characters. Not to mention endless food and clothing boring details. I'm done with it!
The action returns and this book is pure Martin mastery. I almost didn't download based upon reviews of Daenerys' voice (which is pretty terrible). However, the story is so good, the characters so deep, and the rest of the narration sufficiently excellent that it was a very worthwhile listen - nearly every minute of it's 57+ hours. Unlike previous books in the series that take awhile to gain traction, this one speeds along well nearly from the jump.
One last tip - this book takes place basically in chronological parallel with book 4. Martin does a masterful job of establishing the timeline, though in spots you might find yourself going "I already heard this"...you did, but keep on trucking and you'll see. Enjoy!
Listening to the whole thing is a very long task and the payoff is only ok. This isn't a bad book, but it's about twice, or three times as long as needed. The author should have released it as a collection of short stories.
The reader is talented and can do may voices. However the director, or editor was asleep at the switch. Roy can do female voices well as seen by Cersei, but his voices for other females like Arya an Dany were completely awful and painful to listen to. The book would have been way better to listen to if all the women sounded like Cersei.
All in all even though the book ended with multiple cliff hangers it left the story in a good spot for the next book. The author just needs to make the next book advance the plot unlike the last two. Otherwise he will continue to hit a wall like Wheel of Time did. Oddly enough I started reading these books because of the Wheel of Time books want downhill so fast.
There are so many beloved characters strewn out that it is rather frustrating waiting to circle back around to their circumstances. Some characters that we left "on a cliff" in the previous book were never addressed in this book.
The narrator is skilled at his many voices, however, I think he misses the mark for a few key characters. Particularly women characters.
This book seemed less violent and more thought provoking than the previous 4. More game oriented, less action. I hope GRRM keeps it up!