Cambridge, MA, United States | Listener Since 2009
I'm writing this critical review in the hopes that other readers similar to my interest consider twice before listening to the book. I largely read and listen to fantasy, old epic series, short stand alone novels, the steadfast trilogy, Tolkein to Rowling. By and large I rarely have a disagreement with fantasty novels. However, as many of the positive reviewers have noted this series is light on the magic. Never fear however because Martin finds plenty of other ways to spice things up and keep you guessing what's going to happen next. The characters are gripping, in-your-face and alive. He covers more viewpoints then I'm used to but does an admirable job with keeping them all going and engaging you with each story line.
So why am I not going to listen to the rest of the series? It may be gripping, complex, and real but it is the farthest thing from a joyous or happy book that I've read in a while. Is there well-placed humor to lighten the plotline? if so it's not more than every hour or so and it's overwhelmed by the gritty ruthlessness of the book. Are there lovable characters, absolutely, witty ones, yes, but ones that will put a genuine smile(not a snarky sarcastic ones), none that I remember. Hopefully this helps give you another viewpoint on whether this is worth a listen.
I have always thought the an audiobook done well is better than reading a story on your own. The Wise Man's Fear showed me how it can bring an exceptional book to a completely different level. Nick Podehl brings the book to life almost as if you were watching a play unfold. I'll step into my car and 45 minutes later I'm at work and wishing that I had been stuck in traffic for just a little bit longer so I could keep listening.
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