An editor with a pair of hedge clippers would have made this a better book. Don't get me wrong, it's still good. But way too much time is spent with Sansa Stark, who is a bit of an airhead. While Brieen and Jamie's flight is essential both to the plot and his character growth, her accent is appalling, and she is frankly uninteresting. As awesome as he is, a little less time with Tyrian to keep the plot moving would have been fine.
When white riders are chasing half the Night's Watch back to The Wall how much court politics do you really want?
Roy Dotrice just adequate, bizarre accents, can't do women especially girls, etc.
You already know how good the writing is, so I'll just gripe about John Lee. None of his accents are particularly good, but the French ones are so thick it's hard to understand what he's saying. The German and Russian ones aren't as bad, and the British are nearly passable. That the few Americans all sound like cowboys is moderately annoying, but they are few and far between.
The biggest problem I have is that while the plural of "corps" is spelled the same it is pronounced "cores", NOT "core" like the singular.
Still a great book, get it anyway, Etc. Etc.
When the third book ended everyone who had been anywhere near the wall made it clear that almost nothing else mattered. So how much of this book takes place anywhere near the wall? Almost none.
Once he sends off Sam and Aemon, John Snow isn't heard of for the rest of the book. Tyrian Lanaster isn't heard from at all. Nor are Stanis or Davos or the red woman. Sansa Stark is slightly less of an airhead, but just as boring. A large part of the book takes place in Dorn, and while some of the new characters are slightly interesting, it's mostly irrelevant. But the biggest problem is Circe Lanaster. About a third of the the book follows her and she spends all of it being a whiny self centered bitch, and worst of all not being very interesting when she does it.
Jamie does some personal development stuff I won't ruin, Aria does some interesting stuff I won't ruin, Brienne wanders around completely failing to do anything useful, Sam goes sailing, and everybody else plays politics (boringly). That's it. That's the entire plot. That took 31 hours. The last 2 hours had some other interesting stuff happen, but it's not enough to redeem the rest of it.
And to top it off Roy Dotrice has completely forgotten how he pronounced anything in the first 3 books. The accents are worse if anything, and good luck telling any of the Dornish apart.
Seriously, what happened? I genuinely want to know. With a decent editor you could get this down to 5 hours without losing anything interesting.
The story is even better than the first.
Roy Dotrice is just as meh as a narrator however, and my ridiculous accent complaint stands.
The story, as you no doubt have heard, is engrossing.
Roy Dotrice is an adequate narrator, but the sheer number of people in this book makes it much harder for him to make a unique voice for everyone. He has erred on the side of ridiculous accents however, rather than let the text take some of the pressure off. And frankly, he doesn't voice women (especially girls) well. It's never that bad, so it's still recommended, but if the re-recorded the entire thing with someone new I would be all for it.
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