It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel...and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.
©1999 George R.R. Martin; (P)2004 Books on Tape, Inc.
"A truly epic fantasy....The novel is notable particularly for the lived-in quality of its world, created through abundant detail...for the comparatively modest role of magic...and for its magnificent action-filled climax....[Martin] provides a banquet for fantasy lovers with large appetites." (Publishers Weekly)
"Fans of epic fantasy should appreciate this lavishly detailed sequel to A Game of Thrones." (Library Journal)
"Dotrice's range of vocal tones, from gravelly and commanding to silkenly dangerous, creates a mood of insistence that holds the listener captive throughout the epic story." (AudioFile)
"Grabs hold and won't let go. It's brilliant." (Robert Jordan)
I thought it was a fantastic story, and well narrated. My #1 pet peeve, which I found really irritating, was that the listening chapters didn't line up with the chapter menu on my iphone. It made it difficult to find my spot if I lost it, made it impossible to figure out how much of a chapter is left, and I couldn't check the next chapter to see who's perspective was coming next (which I like to do).
Yes, I'm ready for Book 3!!
I love the end, how the author positions all the characters for changes in the next book. I also love every section about Arya Stark, with her cleverness, strength, and stubborn determination.
The first audiobook (Game of Thrones) has chapter breaks that coincide with where they would be in the physical book. These breaks are timed out, and so happen at random points in the story. Even the four "parts" of the book break mid-chapter.
It would be a better listening experience if the breaks happened at an appropriate chapter break.
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." - Jojen Reed. #ADanceWithDragons
Roy Dotrice again, simply great at what he does....
The twists and turns in the book is simply great and I am loving how the characters are very slowly but purposely being developed. The book has three different stories running as one it seems and it weaves together very well. Just plain impressive.
Overall... Just plain epic!
Travel a lot for work and spend a good deal of time in the car.
This whole series is well worth the time and the money. Once you start its all consuming. if you dont dream about it when you finally go to sleep, then your not paying attention.
I've gotten drawn into this series well enough that I'm most of the way through Book 3, but by the end of this, Book 2, I was feeling a little like I wanted 80-something hours of my life back. I do enjoy most of the story lines, but I find the plot arch so brutal in its scope, I am not sure I can hold out for another 4 books or whatever to find out if whichever of these characters finally survive will get any kind of justice in the end.
The good characters generally have horrid lives that only get worse and worse (with occasional moments of hope that are often soon dashed!), while the bad characters rarely get any sort of just rewards. And in a normal novel, you only have to wait 10-20 hours or so to know the ending, but this saga is so vast, you will not get any such satisfaction. You will wait years to know for sure if the poor characters you've come to love will suffer anything but awful fates, and while I'd like to believe--since this is pop fiction--that the author won't let us down in the end, I am not so sure after seeing several central and beloved characters killed to serve the larger plot.
I know people are wild about this series in general, but as a non-fantasy reader I'm not sure if these are genre-transcending books. More like, they're good fantasy books that appeal to fantasy readers more than they will appeal to a general audience. I bought the books after reading so many positive reviews, and after several recommendations from friends. Speaking as a non-fantasy reader, I do really enjoy that there's not a great deal of magic or non-human characters in the stories, while there is enough to create an interesting atmosphere. The world-building is very skillfully done.
However I don't know if I have the fortitude for much more bloodshed, beheadings, and killing off of characters who never get to see any kind of justice for all their suffering.
I love the "Song of Ice and Fire" series so much that I have read the books three times and now have listened to the audio books as well. Martin is very skilled at drawing you into the story; he moves the plot(s) along at varying paces, sometimes slow, even plodding and sometimes he hits you over the head with a war hammer. At it's heart, the story is one of schemes within schemes, Machiavellian intrigues, lust, murder, greed, envy, deception, betrayal and all the other good human virtues :-). The fantastical elements within the story don't overwhelm; they merely add another flavor. Although as the plots of the first books unfold, the power of magic is growing, as supernatural events seem to be increasing in power and frequency. This will be even more apparent in the third book, "A Storm of Swords". Roy Dotrice is amazing as the reader for the audiobook. You may know him as Mozart's father in the Movie "Amadeus". Dotrice does a brilliant job of capturing the personalities of old crones, young children, gruff knights, pitiable beggars, and a host of others. Nothing beats a long drive and these audiobooks to keep you company. What am I saying, I listen to them at home as well because I don't want the story to end. I can't wait for the next audiobook, only so I can enter the world again while I wait for "A Feast for Crows" to get published. If you enjoy Tolkien, Robert Jordan, or other epic fantasy series, you will fall in love with this. It's simply the best series being written today, and deserves a place in the short list of great epic fantasy tales.
This was a tough one for me, in spite of the valiant efforts of Roy Dotrice. After the excitement and intensity of the first book, I figured there was enough momentum to propel the entire series - but this one took a very different direction. Game of Thrones was a very unpredictable, genre-bending fantasy/noire that threw in every curveball it could, then Martin decided it would be fun to watch everybody in Westeros slow wayyyy down and play a game of Settlers of Catan. You would think 7+ major parties vying for the throne would be exciting to watch. . . but I assure you no. Let's see - Tyrion traded 6 armor and 2 sheep for wildfire. Theon rolled the dice, then traded 3 iron for 1 rusty crown. This really is how the book plays out - except that it adds about 100 new characters, only 3 of which maybe matter. It's also hard to analyze just 1 book in the series, as I understand that we're building toward something - maybe in the bigger picture of the series it's not as big a deal... but slogging through these 1,000+ pages (37 hours) felt like pushing a safe across a sandbar, so my answer as to whether I will continue the series will have to be "Eventually."
Martin is incredible. Great characters, fearless plot--no one is safe--and masterful pace/susupense.
Dotrice, on the other hand, has mastered all of maybe 3 different voices, and each of them is about as easy on your ears as broken glass mixed with sandpaper.
I may not even listen to the rest of these novels simply BECAUSE Dotrice is involved.
George R. R. Martin continues his epic tale filled with greed, passion, intrigue, and war. If you are a veteran of A Game Of Thrones then you'll have learned to expect the unexpected; surprising plot twists and turns and a sort of literary brutality with the fates of his characters put Martin well above the fluff-writing fantasy authors infesting bookshelves today. You'll go through the full gamut of emotions before you're done and, tired and weary, you'll be left wanting more. The narration by Roy Dutrice is phenomenal--his myriad voices and accents and seasoned, gruff voice is perfect for Martin's grim, realistic writing. Now, there are many people who don't like Martin's penchant for making the "good" characters suffer for their ignorance and lack of ruthlessness. There are many people who don't like Martin's realistic take on villians and how bad people with lots of power can do really bad things. There are many people who don't like seeing the characters that they've invested their emotions in get killed or have worse happen to them (yes, worse.) If you are one of these people. then go read something else that will fill your hearts with kittens and butterflies and chocolate chip ice cream. To everyone else: Strap yourselves down because you're in for one heck of a ride.
Martin's series is grand and ambitious in its scope, and that is simultaneously its blessing and its curse. The writing is strong, but the pace of the story is at once somehow quick, drawing the ear to the next page, and painfully slow. His use of different perspectives to tell the story is refreshing, but there are certain characters that it seems should be added to that list who remain absent, while some characters can grow simply tiresome at times. Nonetheless, if you're here for more of what you got in "A Game of Thrones", you'll find plenty.
That being said, Dotrice's narration is, to say the least, a mixed bag. Some characters, mainly the older male characters, are given excellent voices. Similarly, the voice he uses to narrate the general text itself is deliberate and clear. That being said, the list of characters who are nearly destroyed by his flamboyant voicing is long and unfortunate. He miserably fails at voicing literally every female character in the book, especially Brienne of Tarth and Mellisandre, and he manages to butcher most of the younger characters, including Theon Greyjoy and Bran Stark. His most distracting and consistent failures come with two of the most important characters, Tyrion Lannister (who is given to sound like a shamefully caricatured leprechaun) and Lord Varys, whose sloppy annunciation and unmstakeable lisp are a shame to Mr. Dotrice and an absolute failure to grasp the character. Also worth mention are his terrible performances as Hodor the stableboy and Yoren the black brother. With Hodor the failure is less distracting, since he only says one word anyway, but Yoren is consistently annoying and hard on the ear in every scene.
Nonetheless, the writing is strong enough that a careful listener can work around the narration. I would recommend this recording of this book, but be aware of what you're getting yourself into beforehand.
More important, I think, are the books I would not compare it to. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Heinlein's works and essentially all other rote fantasy material is not fundamentally comparable. Often, the books read more like a novelized, fictionalized history of Scotland or England, and that's a compliment. Martin understands the kind of society he's mimicking, and as such he manages to write what is mostly a political novel with fantasy elements, rather than a fantasy novel with politics.
I will, but *only* because his is the only available narration of these books. Otherwise, I would not be caught dead listening to another of his performances.
Keep reading the series.
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