This is Part One of A Dance with Dragons, the fifth book of the A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series.
The fifth volume in the greatest epic work of the modern age, this recording is unabridged and split into two parts. The future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance. In the east, Daenerys, last scion of House Targaryen, her dragons grown to terrifying maturity, rules as queen of a city built on dust and death, beset by enemies. Now that her whereabouts are known many are seeking Daenerys and her dragons. Among them the dwarf, Tyrion Lannister, who has escaped King’s Landing with a price on his head, wrongfully condemned to death for the murder of his nephew, King Joffrey. But not before killing his hated father, Lord Tywin. To the north lies the great Wall of ice and stone – a structure only as strong as those guarding it. Eddard Stark's bastard son Jon Snow has been elected the 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, but he has enemies both in the Watch and beyond the Wall, where the wildling armies are massing for an assault.
On all sides bitter conflicts are reigniting, played out by a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves. The tides of destiny will inevitably lead to the greatest dance of all….
©2011 George R. R. Martin (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
"In the grand epic fantasy tradition, Martin is by far the best... tense, surging, insomnia-inflicting." (Time magazine)
"An absorbing, exciting read… Martin’s style is so vivid that you will be hooked within a few pages." (The Times)
"The sheer mind-boggling scope of this epic has sent other fantasy writers away shaking their heads…. Its ambition: to construct the Twelve Caesars of fantasy fiction, with characters so venomous they could eat the Borgias." (Guardian)
Movie loving Brit living Down Under. Anything 'end of the world' themed usually gets my attention, but The Stand has yet to be beat.
After book 3, I was gutted to find out Roy Dotrice didn't do the narration for book 4. Instead, some talentless no-mark got the gig and, almost without exception, made an absolute dog's dinner of it.
So imagine my delight when Dotrice returned for book 5!
And then I started listening...
I've praised Dotrice's work previously because he gave a huge range of characters a unique and consistent voice. Why then does he suddenly elect to give a young girl the screwed up voice of a yokel crone when previously she'd been anything but? Why then does he take what was previously a rich, husky female voice and again turn it into something more suited to a wart-nosed witch? Yes, the majority of the characters are as they were, but these two aren't the only jarring changes but they are by far the worst.
And then there's the story. The previous books had intrigue, shocks, revelations and great characters and a wide but still cohesive narration that was occasionally interspersed with chunks of 'nothing much happens'. This book still has the intrigue etc, but it also has great swathes of text where characters just... really... don't... do... much. At all. I'm looking at you Daenerys, you wishy washy sack of absolute tedium. Other characters that have been dead since before book 1 suddenly take centre stage. Martin has never been shy of offing major characters but he seems to be developing a taste for occasionally resurrecting them without really seeming to have good reason. The cast just keeps getting bigger and more complex. The chronology of events from one place to the next gets tricky to follow.
Dragons feels more like a book from an author who's created too much 'stuff'' in his world trying to give it all time in the sun so he can get it straight. As a result, the tale sometimes seems a little forced and occasionally 'round peg, square hole' as pieces are forced into places and events that just lack.. something.
Still, if anyone can tie it all together in the end, it's GRRM.
The series is reaching the point where I am beginning not to care. The original cast is well thinned, while other POV characters have come and gone. Major figures have has mundane deaths, often 'off camera', without any real meaning. It kind of makes me wonder why they were written at all. Too many minor characters sapping my interest in the story, a whole volume without Tyrion, John Snow and Danerys? I know he explained it in the epilogue of the last book, but it was too long away from major characters. How many years was it in the end?.
I will finish the series and I hope it picks up.
Oh yes, and the reader is rubbish. Stiff and definitely no 'voice actor'. Reminds me of a Latin Master at some dusty old private school.
The storyline is slow to get going (warks can be boring), but progresses nicely. Big disappointment is the narration!. After the appalling narration of the Feast for Crows, I was delighted to see that Roy Dotrice was re-instated only to be bitterly disappointed at his making a complete mess of the voices for the main characters, completely destroying their audible chjaracters in my imagination.
I have downloaded the series but there does not seem to be a Book 4 in the Audible version.
It is a great story - love it - very dark though it doesn't really raise much hope for mankind - but it is a great read.
I'm not sure Roy Dotrice's reading does justice to the characters in the book. His many voiced characters show he is a talented man but when Denarey's part is read I can't visualise a 15-16 year old girl. The characters all sound seedy - was that George Martin's intention?
Old timer IT guy, researcher.
I somewhat disagree with complaints about Dotrice; pacing and vocal range are more reasonable than most, although his rhythm is too pronounced sometimes. My sad tale would be that I think Martin is doing a "Jordan", as in Robert Jordan who would be too busy describing a scene rather than actually getting on with the plot. I started to get this feeling in the previous book and it seems to be spelled here pretty strongly. Things need to move along! However it feels like another two books minimum at this pace before a conclusion can be reached. The twists are starting to feel a little contrived. I hate writing this, I have been a huge fan of this series since it was first published.
A very good/excellent book completely spoiled by terrible voice acting. I tried to force myself and listen for a while, but I gave up after some six hours. This is the first time in five years (since I started listening to audiobooks) when I decided I just could not stand the narrator. I would not believe it if somebody told me before...
There are plenty of talented people in the voice acting business and I just cannot comprehend how a major fantasy bestseller ended up being read by a leprechaun/old Irish drunk commoner.
I am a fan of George R. R. Martin saga and this rating concerns the voice performance quality, not the book itself.
In summary: Great story; horrible narration.
Like many others here, I found Roy Dotrice to be painful to listen to. Half of his characters sound like stereotyped pirates! I was half-expecting to hear him shout "Avast!" from time to time.
Some of you may not be aware that, besides Roy Dotrice, Roy Avers also narrated Books 1 & 3 of the series. (John Lee narrated Book 4).
Having listened to all of the books in this series several times (and by all three narrators), I had really hoped that George RR Martin would have asked Roy Avers to read this, the 5th book, for us. Roy Avers has a much greater range of different voices for each of the characters. At times, it seemed as though he snuck his daughter in to read the parts of Arya and Sansa. Roy Avers also changes his reading pace to suit the mood of each part of the story. He reads faster when there is action, and slows-down and lowers his voice when characters are trying to be unobtrusive. This is something that Roy Dotrice could learn from.
Given a choice, I'd prefer to listen to Roy Avers instead of Roy Dotrice (or John Lee - who narrated the 4th book).
The story itself was very good. There were several surprises. However, the plot tended to drag along slowly at times (as it did in Book 4). As much as I like his writing style, sometimes I would have enjoyed the story more if Martin had got things moving a little quicker and not have let the characters stories draw-out needlessly.
I'm certainly looking forward to the next book. This series is still my favourite above all others, despite the horrible narration of Roy Dotrice and John Lee.
If I had one dying wish, it would be to have the completed Ice & Fire series finally completed by Martin and all books read by Roy Avers.
Roy Dotrice was going superbly with the character voices from the previous books. But now he's gone and mixed up the accents of so many of the characters (both major and minor) that it's sometimes hard to know who is speaking. This has not ruined my overall experience of the series but it's taken me out of the story so often that it's been a little disappointing.
That said, it's GoT, I'm hooked. And there are some great story developments and surprises and an awesome satisfying event that will keep me waiting desperately for the next installment.
Yes I'd listen again because it's integral to the whole story BUT. THE NARRATORS LOSING HIS WAY WITH SOME OF THE VOICES HES ELECTED TO USE, and this inconsistency has made it harder to easily enjoy the story as concentration is required to ensure you understand who is speaking or thinking out loud.
Why has the pronunciation of 'little finger' name suddenly changed from PE-Tar to Peter?
Why did good hearted Bryin have to die? Hopefully that is resolved next book!
I am worrying that there is only one book left and too many subplots with loose ends- hopefully the next two instalments are written and published soon!
I am an Australian woman who enjoys reading many different styles of books, from history to sci fi and mystery to poetry.
Story - This is a continuation of a series and the last in the series to date. This book feels a little drawn out with some "filler", which is a bit disappointing. However it is still a great story and I look forward to the next installment (if Mr. Martin ever stops the book tours etc and gets down to writing again!)
Narrator - The narrator makes every woman or girl sound like an old crone and every man or boy sound as if he is in his fifties. It hasn't really bothered me until this book. The accents are still getting on my nerves. I am glad that the series has ended (so far) because now I can have a break from this reader.
I think a listener might be well advised to space out listening to this book only because of the narrator. The only problem with that is that the listener may forget the more intricate plot lines.
"I disagree, I still love Roy :-)"
If you liked Roy Dotrice's other ASOIF narration you will still like this, although he has changed some of the voices such as Dany, as mentioned by others, which is a bit frustrating. Yes, Roy is not on as top form as he was for the first 3 books (its what, 11 years?), but I personally find him to be one of the best narrators out there. I find it very hard to listen to others (esp the over the top american voices) after spending so much time listening to this master!!!
"Starting to lose interest."
I seem to be of a different thinking from many of the reviews on this book. I don’t really have a problem with Roy Dotrice as a narrator. However I am finding I am getting bored with the story and how it does not seem to be going very far. I got hooked on these books and love all the characters, cultures and depth that Martin has created in this world. However I really get the feeling that even Martin has no plan on where this story is going. We found out in book 1 that ‘winter is coming’ but still? Is this saga even going have an end? Or will it have no idea how to end, like the series Lost? I am someone who normally does not get impatient with a story taking it’s time to build, however on this one I am starting to wonder if I will keep investing my time into this series.
"Never mind the haters!"
I hesitated to buy this book based on the reviews but am glad I did. No trouble following it at all and yes, maybe not all the characters have unique voices, but since most will never feature in a scene together, it's pretty clear who's who. I was only going to listen to bits of this when it wasn't possible to read (yes, I'm obsessed...) but am liking this so much I've pretty much given up on the book. Thumbs up from me anyway.
I have persevered with Dotice’s narration this far but finally have to throw in the towel. I thought the first three books well narrated and find Dotrice’s normal gravely and resonant speaking voice appealing. However, narration can make or break a book for me and the accent and intonation adopted for a particular character changes my mental image of that character. Dotrice does a reasonable job with the male characters – I’ve always thought Tyrion’s welsh lilt was fitting, for example. The problem is the female characters. Dotrice narrates all of the female characters – young and old and whether of noble or low birth – as if they were Cornish or Irish fishwives. I cannot picture Daenerys as a lithe and queenly figure when she is made to sound coarse and slow witted. I will finish this in print.
Personally I like Roy Dotrice's narration however it is annoying he's changed the voice of several key characters in this book. It's also very annoying that Audible is missing book 4 of this series, why give us books 1, 2, 3 and 5 for goodness sake?
"I meant this to be 4 star"
This isn't as good as the first 3 books. Martin decided to split the narrative into two separate books, so Feast of Crows follows Jamie, Cersi, and Arya, but if you want to find out was Tyrion, Jon and Daenerys are up to you have to wait for A Dance with Dragons. The big battles are over but there is still plenty of intrigue. Some of the plot lines meander around to little affect, but the book does build to some suitable climaxes. However you do need to also complete A Dance with Dragons to get the full picture of what is going on.
On the debate about the narration I'm a fan on Roy Dotrice, it's never going to be easy trying to find different voices for hundreds of characters, but he does give it a go. He doesn't always get it right, and he has a tendency to make the younger female characters sound like they are 80, which I think is his age.
"I give up"
Meh. I got nearly half way through and have just given up. It's all got unremittingly grim. Dany's story is boring the pants off me and there's no end in sight. There is no humour, no humanity, no light and shade, no attempt at actual human characters. For me successful fantasy has to be grounded in reality - the people have to be actual people who respond believably to situations, however fantastical. GRRM needs a damn good editor and kick up the wossname.
Roy Dotrice's characterisation is also driving me up the wall (or even THE WALL). Why has Dany now got a bizarre Oirish accent? Why is everyone who isn't a lord, a yokel?
Maybe when the next book is finally released, I'll come back and finish this one for but I just can't face slogging through more death, betrayal, misery and rape threats when there isn't even any kind of conclusion appearing over the horizon.
"Great book, poor performance"
I have had to give up listening to this and revert to old fashioned reading. The story is excellent but the range of accents adopted by the performer - including a full range of out of context regional accents has made listening impossible. I only regret buying both parts of the book before hearing just how poor the presentation is.
"Victarion Australian ?"
Well yes, that first - had Roy Dorice really run out of accents so badly that he had to make Victarion Greyjoy australian ? That really is bizarre. Why not scandinavian or even russian?
And secondly, there are so many characters in these books that someone must be keeping a record of how they sound. How come the producer, who together with Roy Dotrice, must have had a reference file of how everyone sounds, didn't say "Hang on Roy, that sounds nothing like Xxxx !"
I'd love an explanation of why Dany goes from young english to old irish; Bran goes from child english to child westcountry; Stannis goes from quick northern to slow northern; Cersei goes from english to welsh; Melisandre goes from exotic siren to girly french and Strong Belwas covers an entire spectrum.
But now we've established that voices can change willy-nilly, can Victarion PLEASE not have an accent that couldn't have existed at the time.
I know Roy does a lot of voices but couldn't he do Cockney for some characters, or Spanish (as I reckon Dorn is Spain)
"Excellent continuation of the story"
After the somewhat patchy "A Feast of Crows" this is a real return to form, with plenty of incident and intruige and lots of the detail we have come to know and love from Martin. As a continuation of the story it is a triumph.My only quibble is that as a novel it dooesn't work. Storylines are either left on cliffhangers we will not see resolved until book 6 - probably in 2015 if we are lucky - or (like Tyrion's or Bran's) they just.....stop. There are no climaxes or conclusions, and we are on the verge of two big battles - one in Slavers Bay and the other at Winterfell, which in a "normal" series would have concluded this novel. Martin seems to have forgotten about making the books stand on their own - he seems content to plough through his 7 book story. This is fair enough, but not when you have to wait so long until the next part!
As for the reading by the ever-reliable Dotrice, I actually like his switching of accents, in the main. I'd rather that than get confused, although Dany as an Irishwoman I am not so sure about. I just hope he's with us for parts 6 and 7!
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