A Song of Ice and Fire is my "most favorite" Audible series (member for over 10 years), but I was actually disappointed in this audio book. For the most part, it was probably the narration by Roy Dotrice that ruined it for me. Mr. Dotrice did a superb job narrating previous books and I remember being very upset that he stopped narrating the more recent ones. So, I was thrilled to see that he had been brought back for this book. Unfortunately, he was just not up to the task. I had to listen very carefully when a chapter started to know who the characters were because each chapter had a nearly identical set of "voices".
Daenerys (young dragon queen), was probably the worst voiced character. She has a prominent role in this book, which made her voice all the more disappointing. Instead of sounding like the most beautiful queen in the realm, she sounded like an old hag. In fact, nearly all the females sounded old and haggy. Nearly all the knights sounded the same as well. But, at least you could always pick out any male from house Lannister because they all sounded like Tyrion :)
I am not trying to be mean here since I love the series and loved Roy Dotrice in the previous books he narrated. I will have to say that George Martin went a little overboard with the number of characters in this book and perhaps that had something to do with the narration problems. Also, this book did not have nearly the action and pacing of the previous books. I find this is typical with writers who are trying to "tie up" all the loose ends in a series or just trying to do a good job of bringing things to a logical conclusion. Then the last part of the last book is so full of action and pace that you can't put it down and find yourself wishing the writer had done a better job of spacing the pacing (so to speak).
Perhaps George Martin is now such a mainstream success that his editors were afraid to touch the script... I mean book. Please, please, please, Mr. Martin, Mr. Dotrice, and "editors", return to the style of the earlier books for Book 6 and you will have my undying appreciation!
This may be my favorite book in the whole series... I'd have to go back and listen to them all again to be sure, but suffice it to say that this book was good enough to cause me to loose sleep (and I really like sleep)!
Kate Reading has got to be one of the most talented narrators alive. There were several times during this book that I had to remind myself that only one person was doing all the narration. I would love to watch her work, that would be so intriguing.
I love chocolate and I really like peanut butter, but put them together and you have a sweet serendipity that is almost as good as Mr. Jordan and Mr. Sanderson together. I have listened to the entire Wheel of Time series and have also listened to some of Brandon Sanderson's novels, but they are actually better together. Brandon brings a voice to the novel that will just sound a little bit more current to WOT veterans, but if you didn't know it, you would swear that Robert Jordan had just written one of the best books in the series. The pace of the book is not quite George R.R. Martin, but there are just enough spots that slow down enough to add some additional layers to these complex characters we have gotten to know and love. I cannot tell you how pleased (and relieved) I am in this book. Bravo to Mrs. Jordan and to Mr. Sanderson for taking a chance and ensuring this series gets completed with the loving care and timely delivery it deserves. And let me also just say that if I ever wrote a book, I wouldn't think of asking anyone other than Michael Kramer and Kate Reading to do the narration! I actually search out other books they've narrated and have gotten introduced to several other top-notch writers because of their special gifts. Okay, bring on the next book....!
I think the writer's cousin must have done the reading for this book. He speaks as if he were reading the fine print in a car commercial with every sentance sounding exactly the same. He has 3 voices to cover a full cast, so you can never tell which character is speaking. His accent sounds like Arnold crossed with Connery. Listening to this book actually made me angry that I disliked it so much. I have listened to a lot of books in this category, and there are many much better books/series. Maybe it would be better if I did read it, but from the words I forced myself to listen to, I don't think so.
I have been listening to audio books for several years, and I must confess that this series of novels pulled me in and held me captive. I was powerless against the masterful narration of Roy Dotrice who was capable of smoothly slipping into characters of any class, race, sex, or age without hesitation.
The balance of superb action, background exploration, and character discovery was perfect. This is certainly adult fantasy, but it surpasses the standard fantasy genre. George R.R. Martin weaves a complex world by taking the reader down a twisted path with a surprise around every corner. He breathes life into every character, but never bores. He makes each of them unique, giving them a truly human mix of both good and evil.
I would swear he wrote these novels from the inside-out. He must have crafted each character with care, then created a world and set them loose. The writing feels as if were just a matter of following them while recording their actions, intentions, emotions, and desires (with a generous helping of an incredible writing style).
Part of me is relieved that I can now resume my normal life. Of course, that's the same part of me that actually sits through the 6 O'Clock news. I cannot wait for the next novel! Until then, I will take frequent trips into the world that George Martin created, and I will be thankful.
I originally purchased Eragon for my 2 pre-teen sons to "read". I got so wrapped up in the book that I found myself listening to parts when they weren't around and looking forward to the next "listening session" with them so they could catch up. It has all the ingredients for a great movie, it moves along well enough to capture and sustain attention as well as imagination. Excellent!
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