This is Part One of Book 2 of the A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE Series.
George R. R. Martin’s superb fantasy epic continues in consummate style as bloodshed and alchemy lay waste the Seven Kingdoms. This second volume of A Song of Ice and Fire is unabridged and split into two parts. The Iron Throne once united the Sunset Lands, but King Robert is dead, his widow is a traitor to his memory, and his surviving brothers are set on a path of war amongst themselves. At King’s Landing, the head of Lord Eddard Stark rots on a spike for all to see. His daughter Sansa is betrothed still to his killer’s son Joffrey – Queen Cersei’s son, though not the son of her late husband Robert. Even so, Joffrey is now a boy-king, Cersei is his regent, and war is inevitable. In Dragonstone, Robert’s brother Stannis has declared himself king, while his other brother Renly proclaims himself king at Storm’s End – and Eddard Stark’s fifteen year old son Robb wears the crown of the north at Winterfell.
A comet in the night sky, red and malevolent, the colour of blood and flame, can only be an omen of murder and war. Stannis’s child Princess Shireen dreams of dragons waking from stone. And a white raven has brought word from the Citadel itself, foretelling summer’s end. It has been the longest summer in living memory, lasting ten years, and the small folk say it means an even longer winter to come…The first rule of war is never give the enemy his wish. But winter will be the biggest enemy. From beyond the Wall the undead and Others clamour for freedom, and from beyond the sea the long-dead Dragon King’s daughter hatches her revenge. Robb Stark will be exceedingly lucky to reach adulthood.
©2011 George R. R. Martin (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
"A Game of Thrones grabs hold and won’t let go. It’s brilliant." (Robert Jordan)
"I read my eyes out. I couldn’t stop until I’d finished and it was dawn." (Anne McCaffrey)
"Colossal, staggering… Martin captures all the intoxicating complexity of the Wars of the Roses or Imperial Rome in his imaginary world… one of the greats of fantasy literature." (SFX)
Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.
Carries on from 'Game of Thrones' and doesn't disappoint. Some characters have disappeared whilst others develop into excellent characters. What is so good about this story is that the characters are not two dimensional cartoon types. Their motivations, ambitions and fears project them through the story with enough twists and different outcomes you will never see coming. I hope the magic of this series doesn't end.
I'd certainly recommend this to a Game of Thrones fan looking to catch up on the next instalment, but I would not necessarily suggest this is a better option than the hard copy - the narrator has strengths but clearly struggles with some aspects of the text in a way which anyone familiar with these books will find quite irritating.
I will skip the easy answer of Lord of the Rings (which is not quite true) - I think it is more like Hilary Mantel's "Wolf Hall" crossed with the first two of the Gormenghast books by Mervyn Peake. There's a Gothic nastiness about some of it that is missing from Tolkein.
Eeek. I recognise what a difficult book this must have been to narrate, with so many different characters, and made up names. But some of his pronunciations were infuriating - not just Martin's made up names (Dotrice says "Bry-een" for Brienne; and "P'tiah" for Petyr) but common everyday words, like "litchen" for lichen. Also his use of accents made no sense - why does Tyrion sound Welsh when Cersei and Jaime speak BBC? - and he obviously found it very difficult to know what to do with the voices of women, which is only to be expected of a reader with such a rich, masculine voice - it would have been an attractive voice to listen to, if not for the above.
The Wars of the Roses, with Magic! And Dragons!
This is not a stand-alone; it will make no sense if you read it without already having read "A Game of Thrones", and it contains no resolution, either - so I will have to decide whether, for Book Three, to persist with the flaws in Dotrice's narration or download the Kindle version - I'm really not sure which to choose. Audiobooks are my preference, but I don't know if I can bear more of Dotrice's mangled pronunciations and inappropriate accents.
I think they could've found a better narrator. He did well for King Robert in Book 1, and Eddard Stark and Tyrion Lannister for that matter (pardon the spelling, I've not read the books). But I'm rather disappointed in his need to give all minor characters cockney, ill-spoken, or drawling accents. Even children! Truly, when was the last time you ever heard any child speak with a slow drawl?
I join my fellow listeners in disappointment over the splitting of the book into two parts but Audible are fantastic about returning old books so I don't really begrudge them this. They do what they can. It was probably the publisher's decision, anyway. Better to do it this way than not at all.
As for the story line so far, this book lacks something the first had in abundance. In the first, I was gripped from the moment the dyrewolf cubs were found, but this one... the only interest I've found is trying to keep up with Tyrian Lannister, I think.
I am an Australian woman who enjoys reading many different styles of books, from history to sci fi and mystery to poetry. I also love to listen to the same whilst not paying attention to other things. I aim for my reviews to be short and succinct so that they are easy to read.
This book is as good as the first. Albeit a little more graphic.
NARRATOR - Once again the narrator fails a little in the accent department. This really infuriated me with one particular character, but with a story this well written, you can set it aside, after a bit. His inflections have improved in this book and, are more appropriate. Again he lets the story speak for itself.
STORY - This book is a little more graphic concerning violence, but these are violent times we are reading about (think medieval with dragons). The story continues to move along at a good pace so far. The characters develop further here and we get to know them better. They still seem a little one dimensional in spots (especially the women), but I am assuming this will improve as time goes on.
I would recommend this book as the second in the series, but I would say do not let children read these books, they are a little too graphic.
I had never heard of this books until I watched the HBO series, the books are just fantastic.... a must for your collection.
Complimentary to the print version - and also to the TV series
All of them - this is truly ensemble cast
It's already been done!
Book 1 sets the bar very high. Book 2 jumps that bar with the ease of a pole vaulter facing a limbo pole. It really is that good.
There are two or three great characters in these books - Tyrian the Imp for example - but the brief contacts we have with them are interposed with swathes of long winded faux medieval pageantry of one kind or another.
Remember "Sir Brentin Waythorpe of house Moon" ? No, well don't worry because even though we'll spend a few paragraphs describing his flags, mail and family tree, he'll have no role in the story and will never be heard of again. It's as if you've paused a scene in a movie and got someone to describe all the extras in massive detail. At times this feels like the kind of literature you should buy by the kilogram, not the book!
The other big problem I personally have is the constant brutality dished out by the many random "Sir Knights" - A three year old has "his face smashed in by a morning star" before a similar fate meets his wailing mother. This delightful interlude adds NOTHING to the plot or character of those involved - we already know they're treasonous adulterous baddies! The book is flush with these little treats, often involving children, and it is not an educational publication about the horrors of war, it's an airport fantasy novel.
Everyone who is not a "high born" character is voiced as a semi retarded yokel - this gets really jarring after a very short time.
Only if you've got a really long flight and don't mind a lot of meaningless brutality thrown in with your fantasy fluff.
I started this series having watched the Game of Throne series on TV and it has not disappointed. It does take time to get into the stories as there are so many characters, plot lines and background history. What really helped me to follow what is happening was a website called Tower of the Hand, which has summaries of each chapter and links to biographies of all the characters.
A great ranges of interesting characters with most showing shades of good
and bad in their actions. Tyrion the dwarf is a great literary creation. The author is a natural story teller, packing the narrative with sparkling dialogue, inventive action, and most chapters end on cliffhangers. Unusually for
a fantasy series many of the early battles are only described to us in the third person, although later books start to describe the battles as first person encounters.
"Don't forget to get part 2!"
The way the publisher has split a single volume into two parts is not only blatant profiteering but has limited my enjoyment of the series. This is the second time I have gone on to the next book without realising I had not finished the book I was reading!! The result is I know what is going to happen in the second part of this volume because I have listened to the start of the next book. The way Audible catalogues the books doesn't help- I have tried a couple of different filters and none place parts 1 and 2 of this volume together. It would help if Audible could warn you when you buy the book that it is in 2 parts, as other providers do. Started a new book by a diffferent auther- I might come back to this, but may just give up.
...this series deserves a better reader than Dotrice, but, that admitted, it's still one of the best ways of consuming this series although having to buy the book twice - no one volume is longer than War and Peace and other hefty volumes that are sold as one so why are these sold in two full price parts - is a bane and the strongest argument against listening to it in this way
"Great Book - spoiled by poor narration"
My plan to listen to this with a glass of wine whilst languishing in a hot bubble bath was sadly cut short when I started to listen to Roy Dotrice narration. I am not sure if Roy Dotrice was using this opportunity to practice his regional accents, or looking for a part in the next Pirates of the Caribbean either way I was left feeling incredibly frustrated by wasting money on this book and the waste of such a wonderful bath.
Oh well back to reading I think and PS Mr Dotrice if you are looking for a tip - when reading a character with an accent a try give them the same accent throughout.
Roy Dotrice has a good voice and as narrator he's perfect. Given the geography of Westeros, it's OK to give the Lannisters welsh accents. The irish/scottish accents for other regions of the island are very confused though and seem to be random and inconsistent. From the delivery, many of the "little people" seem to be mentally impaired (not there in the text). BUT the worst choice in the exaggerated Churchill accent for Tywin Lannister, truly AWFUL. It made the scenes with him in a painful nails-down-a blackboard experience!
There are an enormous number of characters so there would have to be lots of generic "voices" but does every sailor have to be Robert Newton's long john silver?
"Amazing story, poor narration."
This picks up where the recent HBO tv series left off. Obviously the book is better than the tv show, in fact the book starts good and by the end is utterly engrossing (and pretty dark). Unfortunately the narrator (Roy Dotrice) makes it pretty hard going by leaving inexplicable pauses in the middle of most sentences and attributing the most bizarre voices to the characters. His accent repertoire seems to consist of either irritatingly posh or rural with learning difficulties. Very strange choice of narrator for such a high profile book in my opinion. Still the story is so good that I'm going to listen to the next one anyway.
"Spliiting into parts is a ripoff"
I enjoyed listening. However the lack of variation in voices made the experience often confusing, and I felt cheated that after buying part 1, I had to buy part 2 separately to finish the story. Will not buy another book with this reader and with this being charged twice system.
"Great book, hammy narration"
I really enjoyed book 1 which I read during a holiday. Being dyslexic I'm a slow reader so decided to get book two to listen to going to and from work. I have to say that Roy Dotrice does a pretty poor job of this in terms of narration. He obviously has a rich actors voice but the accents and character voices in this are all over the place! Many of them are generic/nasal (bad Lawrence Olivier impersonation) upper class or thick sounding working class. He has Tyrion with a thick welsh accent (!) while his brothers, sister and father all have southern accents. Totally bizarre acting choice (Tyrion was not fostered out as a child or allowed to travel the 9 cities when he came of age). Generally, he reads at an extremely slow pace (regardless of the pace of the action) and with a descending cadence at the end of sentences that just makes him sound bored. I would have loved to heard someone like Jim Dale doing a reading of these books... If Audible allowed a separate rating for narration it would get a two star from me. Sorry Roy!
I signed up 2 hrs ago and bought another book. I found the narration so bad i gave up immidiately, i then tried this book and have the same problem. I have to concentrate really hard follow the story. I have listened to some audio books before and enjoyed it very much.
I don't know if it's compressed to much, the narrator or the fact that it sounds like a recording done during the second world war. I've just wasted money on two books, disappointed.
"Utterly compelling story, flawed narration ..."
Was ever there a story with such a vast and rich array of characters and sub-plots? I can't think of one off-hand. Like many others I came to A Song of Ice and Fire from the HBO TV series and I haven't been disappointed in audiobook format as it's just such a wonderful tale. Unfortunately the narration here is not the best. It's not so much the narration as the acting, if Roy Dotrice was just to read straight from the page his voice is fine. However when he embodies the characters (which is what is required after all) his voices are often tedious and the weird choices to add a Welsh or Irish twang to the accent of some characters is frankly just odd, especially when direct family members have completely different accents. That said it is not a big enough problem to ruin my enjoyment overall and the quandary I find myself in now is do I go beyond the TV series or wait patiently for it to catch up? I'll make that decision when I catch up myself, for now it's on to A Storm Of Swords!
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