The book was hard enough to get into because Roy Dotrice made all of the voices of knights sound like elderly British royalty, even the warriors. I can even begin to explain the horror of it until the 4th book when he changes all the voices of most of the lead characters. The only one to stay the same are the Imp and Varies. The rest are so different I had a hard time remembering who was talking. Strong Belwas when from a large boastful voice to that of a teenage girl. and Arya Stark changed her too, it was awful, terrible. Do not buy these books until they are rerecorded by someone else. Read them the old fashion way, the story is awesome, an epic tale and the Director and the Producer ruined it. Roy Dotrice is not to bad if his bosses would have kept him on track.
A Feast For Crows and a Dance For Dragons were originally one massive thome that Martin decided to split up among characters. Most of the 2 books' action is concurrent, with A Feast For Crows focusing on Westeros while A Dance Of Dragons mainly focuses on the events to the North and in the Eastern Continent. The most disappointing part of both is how little actually takes place in their combined 1800 pages (70 hours). It feels as thought George R.R. Martin has become interested in providing color and nuance to the world he's created than actually forwarding the plot. Color and nuance are great, but these 2 segments took 13 years to write and MAJOR developments promised by earlier volumes seem no closer to occurring than they did after A Storm of Swords. A Feast For Crows suffers much more for this than A Dance of Dragons, but reading both I found myself as fascinated by how easily it would have been to collapse them into 1 book than the actual events that transpire.
Great story, hampered by inconsistent performance.
Dotrice could easily have reviewed his previous pronunciations of names (like Catelyn and Petyr) and, more importantly, voices. His Dolorous Edd went from a brilliantly deadpan nasal to a cross between Hagrid and Davos Seaworth. Sam has apparently turned into a halfwit, if his new voice is any indication. It is sad.
...and throw away the key!
If you love Westeros and its history you will still finish this book, because you must, but you will hate every horrible minute of it, and your anger at the narration will grow and grow and grow. Roy Dotrice's performance is as bad as his narration of the first three books was brilliant. In fact, it is so abominably bad that I can only guess that it was intentional: That he didn't want to do the job, was sick of the books and felt forced into doing it, and decided to ruin the performance as revenge. The only other explanation would be that he has contracted Parkinson's or had a stroke, and has thus forgotten everything he knew before, but as far as I can see that is not the case. What I cannot understand is how the producers could allow this travesty of a performance to reach publication.
Most of the time Dotrice abandons even a pretense of trying to deliver voices for his characters. For example, conversations between Jamie and Cerce are conducted with identical voices for both characters and the narration, and none of the voices are even remotely like the ones he used before. The brilliant characterizations he produced for wonderful minor characters like Dolorous Ed are simply gone. Samwel Tarly's perfect voice is gone. All the other voices are gone. Almost every single name is pronounced so differently that you often have no idea that you actually already know the character being referred to. Even normal reading is sloppy and slapdash and sometimes not even really English. In a passage I just listened to Dotrice pronounced a reference to a group of crossbowmen as "cross bowmen", making it sound as though they were in a bad temper. His lack of interest and distaste in his work are palpable in almost every sentence.
Unfortunately, Dotrice's miserable narration is compounded by the fact that this is the first weak book in the series (so far as I can judge, I haven't read the fifth yet...). George Martin's only real weakness as a writer is a tendency to indulge in unnecessary rambling exposition and detours into endless sidelines and side-stories, and this has gotten out of hand in this volume. There would be nothing wrong with the side-stories if they were interesting in their own right, but so far they aren't. Nothing really happens, and this is described at great, great length, with all the suspense of a thousand-page phone book. I often drift off and miss entire paragraphs but it doesn't seem to matter much because nothing worth listening to was happening in most of them.
I'm hoping that this is going to get better, and I'm going to finish the book and the next volume as well, because I must, but at the moment I'm horribly disappointed.
Roy has been so consistent in the first three books and is an excellent narrator. However, like others have pointed out, he varies significantly in character voices in this book and even mispronounces several character names. For example, at one point, he mispronounces Brienne and shortly later pronounces it correctly. I hope he gets the fifth book right.
It's near the top of the list.
The rest of the series for sure.
I don't know besides this series.
Consistent naration, and pronounciation of the names. I found this book useless. Too much fluff and useless bits. The parts that add to the story arch from the first 3 books could probably fill 3 chapters all the rest is useless garbage. I want my money back, and about 33 hours of my life.
I've already bought the next book in the series before I listened to this I only hope it's better than this one.
too many to list.
I think I've made my point.
I haven't listened to book five yet, but so far this Jane part f the series I liked least. Martin has a tendency to take 2/3 of the book to build something up before a grand finale, but this book is only build up and no climax. Besides it's almost exclusively about the secondary characters who I honestly don't care that much about.
...the narration is not consistent with the high standards set in the prior books. Aanyone who has invested time in listening to the previous 3 books in this series, listening to the 4th book is not really a choice. That said, the narration is so much different from the prior 3 books that it is a distraction from the story and the characters themselves. Problem 1: the voices/accents used by the characters different, when they are speaking in the first person, breaking some part of the connection that the listener has with the characters from prior books. Problem 2: the pronunciation of key names and places has transformed in many cases, making it almost mind-boggling that this is the same narrator and producer that have teamed for the prior books in the series.
Roy Dotrice is a quality narrator. While the deviation from the standard set in prior books of this series is disappointing, I would definitely listen to more of his audiobooks.
With work, family, and my own aspirations at a future writing career, I find very little time for reading. I love audio-books because I can listen to books on my way to and from work.
I agree with the other comments about the changes in pronunciation. Brienne's name changed several times in the story, and it was very distracting. I absolutely love Roy Dotrice's narrating, but he was off his game on this one. He changed the way Arya Stark spoke, making her sound like a little hag. She may have become a street-urchin, but she was a well-educated street-urchin. Narration aside, the story itself was actually tough for me to get through, but I feel like I'm in for the duration. I'm too attached to Tyrian, the Starks, and Daenerys to not get the next book.