It is essential, but there are pacing issues and there were changes in how Roy Dotrice narrates some characters.
This continues the epic Song of Ice and Fire, but has missing characters from the previous books.
The narration of Roy Dotrice remains amazing... but... he changed how he narrates some characters... which is very confusing at first and the changes are not for the better.
I can't say what really moved me without revealing a spoiler.
husband, father, business owner and lover of sci-fi, fantasy and history novels.
Roy is obviously a great voice actor, so what happened with this book? If you've listened to the first three installments you know how we'll the voices are done. from what I understand, the original recording of the book was done by someone else, then Roy came back and did a recording due to all the complaints about the original reading. The problem here is that Roy seems to have forgotten which character was which and what voice went with them! I mean, some of the girls sound like guys and the guys sound like their former enemies. The one thing you can count on is all the lanisters now sound like Tyrian (they didn't before). I never heard the first recording so I don't know how bad it was and if you haven't listened to the first three books you'll never notice, and to you, Roy will have done a superb job. I'd love to listen to this book again after Roy finds his old voices and puts them back with the right characters!
Dotrice is spot on narrating these novels. Just enough variation between characters so you can keep things straight, but he doesn't over do it.
And the story is wonderful; endearing characters, evil characters, bumbling fools and manipulative geniuses. R.R. Martin keeps you on your toes right on through to the end; I just hope he doesn't keep us all waiting too long for the rest of the story!
Yes, being the fourth book in the series it is always wonderful to have a well read refresher when going back through the series.
I had several favorite Characters, one of them was Arya Stark becausw I felt her chapters really moved the plot along.
I felt he did a good job at making the dialogue more entertaining.
Almost everything. I just thought it was super boring. No Daenrys, hardly any Jon Snow. The Arya thread is the only one I even cared about. I literally found myself forwarding 5 minutes here and there to just get through it. It was nothing like the first three.
Fans of this series will read this book no matter what but be advised that disappointments are waiting for you.
There is a surprising lack of action until the last quarter.
The voices developed by Dotrice for books 1-3 were wonderful. I have read no explanation for why they were abandoned.
I would throw this out of the series. Half the time I would forget to pay attention for minutes and not lose the story at all because it has not progressed. In fact this book does nearly nothing to progress the story. I found my self dreading the Brienne's part of the book because I knew exactly how each scene would go with her.
Further all of the best characters were completely absent from this book. Even the characters that were somewhat interesting did nothing of note. No Tyrion, John Snow, or Daenerys.
If you skipped this book entirely and went straight to the next one, you will miss nearly nothing at all as the next book retreads the same ground except from the point of the view of the characters you actually like to read about.
Roy likes to use the same voice for multiple characters and the same type of voice for common types of characters. It's not too bad because the point of changing up the voices is so that the listener is not confused as to whom is speaking when. The problem might arrise when the books finally brings two characters that sound exactly allike together into a conversation.
I wasn't so bothered over some of the vocal inconsistancies as some of the other reviewers were. Any inconsistency I would blame on the production's director. They are responsible for what's captured creatively and for all *we know, they *wanted a new voice for Arya.
That aside, I missed some of my favorite characters who we didn't get to follow in this book. There were also a few times I wondered what the point of a particular storyline was because it didn't seem to lead anywhere or add anything to the the whole picture.
I will admit that I was confused for about the first hour of this book by the voices. I took a break between book three and four and listened to something else. When I returned excitedly to book four I though I must be crazy. The voices sounded so different yet I could swear it was the same narrator. I finally realized that it wasn't me, the voices were actually different. Now I am distracted by trying to translate the narrator's voice into the old voice in my head as I am listening. To confuse the matter even further, I watch the TV series too and my internal translations can become confused with the actor's voices as well. It is so annoying that I wish I could stop listening and just read it instead. Unfortunately my three hour daily commute leaves me no time to read and I am addicted to the story. I guess I am stuck listening to book four and five with lousy voices. So disappointing, I don't know how the director didn't catch this problem before the book was released.
The good news is that the story is so compelling that so many fans stick with it despite the voice problem. My advice is, listen to books one though three, and read books four and five if you can.
It's expanding the great stories of the previous books. I like the addition of Brienne of Tarth to the narration cast. I love the intertwining of the Ironborn and Daenerys.
However, I'm very irked by the changes in pronunciation of main character's names in comparison with the first three books--- specifically, Lady Catelyn Starke, Lord Petyr Baelish, and Lord Varys. All three are now simplified and pronounced like the common names/words Caitlin, Peter, and varies. It's awful. Also, many of the voices have changed from the previous books and it makes the whole thing much harder to follow along with. Lastly, this book is my least favorite so far, because of the almost total drop off of all the main character story lines... Where are Tyrion, John, Bran, Rickon (gone since Book 2), Theon (Is he actually dead??)?? I get that we're seeing things from the other sides and that there are other things going on, but they shouldn't be left hanging for almost an entire book!