First, two caveats for readers considering this series: The narrator changes for the fourth book and many people find the change a deal breaker. I have to admit that it was jarring, but I got back into the story quickly after the change. Perhaps listen to a sample of this book then a sample of book four to see if the change will wreck your enjoyment. That aside, I think the biggest problem is that the author seems to have given up on this series. The remaining books have been listed on Martin's site for years now with no movement or updates. I hope I'm wrong. I hope he'll release the final books and make me eat my words. But it's been so long since the release of book four that I'd have to re-read the entire series to get anything from new books. I urge you to put this series in your wishlist. If Martin ever gets back to it, then I highly recommend A Song of Ice and Fire. It is a very dark, gritty and realistic feeling world that is a refreshing change from the usual G-rated fantasy. Wonderful characters and twisting, interwoven plots make the hours just fly past.
Just by listening to the first hour becomes apparent that the author had to butter up his subjects. Whether so they would let him write their story at all or charge him less royalty, it doesn't matter. The first character you meet was once successful but is now little more than a sad drunk whose wife and kids left him. However, he is portrayed as a great man, who left his family to live a bachelor's life. This kind of blatant glorification rankles me and I was unable to finish the book. The other reviews are universally good, however, so perhaps I'm the only one annoyed by this flaw. By all means, try this book; but only download the first section so you can return it if you find it irritating.
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