In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow. At the center of the conflict, the Starks of Winterfell hold the key: a reluctant Lord Eddard is summoned to serve as the king's new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder both family and kingdom. In this land of extremes, plots and counterplots, soldiers and sorcerers, each side fights to win the deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.
©1996 George R.R. Martin, (P)2003 Books On Tape, Inc., published in arrangement with Random House Audio Group,a division of Random House, Inc.
"Martin's trophy case is already stuffed with major prizes...He's probably going to have to add another shelf, at least." (Publishers Weekly)
"The first volume in Martin's first fantasy saga combines intrigue, action, romance, and mystery in a family saga." (Booklist)
"Grabs hold and won't let go. It's brilliant." (Robert Jordan)
"This novel is an absorbing combination of the mythic, the sweepingly historical, and the intensely personal." (Chicago Sun-Times)
I read all four, am listening to Game of Thrones and am awaiting the HBO show. There is a good story here but there is also a ton of redunancy. Martin needs an editor and some self disipline. The fundemental question is: If it is not better than LOTR why is it soooo much longer?
(I do realize that by my standard Jean Auel and Robert Jordan should be put to death.
I felt the first book started very slowly, but I ended up loving it. I have read all four novels now and have been pacing for years now waiting for the next installment. Wonderful adult yarn, both literate and profane.
Take caution, this book is addicting and the author hasn't finished the series. So you will devour book after book to not have the epic completed...But even saying that the ride is so amazing who cares if you don't get the "big o" at the end.
P.S. This IS an epic novel made up of a large cast so the first book in the series is going to be world building and character introduction. If you don't like epic fantasy (very very long stories that take several books to complete) this book is not for you. If you like blood, brotherhood, magic, sex, and war you will enjoy every minute!
I've read all four books twice and am listening to the series for the second time. Excellent series...below average reader. I thought it would be better the second time. It was not. The slurry-spittal-filled quality of Mr. Dotrice's voice is difficult to listen to, especially with earbuds, and the whiney-leprechaun-esque voice he gives to the dwarf is embarrassing. Many of the characters are women and teenagers, yet they all sound like old men. His stops and starts make me wonder if he actually read the book before recording it. It's been four years between my first and second listen, and I've heard some really wonderful readers during that time. Perhaps someday it may be re-recorded. There are a lot of people in this series. It's a rather prodigious undertaking to keep track of that many character voices and, whereas Mr. Dotrice is a wonderful actor, I don't think this material suits him.
I cannot say enough good things about these books, or enough bad things about this narrator.
I read this series in print back when they first came out. I loved them dearly, and was looking forward to listening to them.
Since then I've "read" over 200 audiobooks. This is the first time I've given up on a book because of the narrator. That should tell you that I'm fairly tolerant of the wide variety of readers that are out there.
The problem is not his characterization of the various individuals' voices. It's the cadence of his speech. I actually have trouble following the narrative because of the speed and rhythm with which he reads. I shouldn't have to concentrate to understand what the reader is saying/follow the narrative.
I truly wish I had listened to the sample before purchasing this book. Buyer beware.
It took me about 10 chapters before I really could get used to Roy Dotrice, but by the end of it, I couldn't imagine anyone else reading this novel. He does a great job with all the voices, and with the tons of characters in this story, that is a lot voices!
Yes, it is long with a lot of descriptions and back stories and throw-away names. Fortunately you can take the story at it's surface or you can dive into this deep rich world with a fairly realized history.
This book, despite its very long running time (took me over two months to finish it), is obviously just the beginning of a much larger tale. It is a somewhat self-contained story about war and betrayal where the characters are obviously being manipulated by something much bigger.
As much as I see other reviews talking about it's abominable characters, there are also characters (John Snow and Arya) you will learn to like.
There's just a touch of magic in this volume, but only enough to plant the seeds that will probably be growing in the next novels in the series. The ending has me wanting to come back to the seven kingdoms.
Winter is coming! :)
I really enjoyed this book and was thrilled to learn that it will be a series on HBO in 2011. Sean Bean is in the cast as Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell.
I listen to audio books when I don't have time to sit and read. Many of my friends have recommended this book to me, and with the HBO series coming out soon, I thought I'd try it.
Overall, the story is good. It's gruesome and gritty, with many sexual scenes (some with a child as young as 13, so if that's not your style, here's a warning) that I raised an eyebrow at. It's all a part of the well thought-out plot, and enhances it rather than detracts from it, however.
As much as I liked the book, the narration really got on my nerves after a while. I've listened to many male narrators pull off a believable female voice without sounding squeaky, and this guy's not one of them. Also, he does a voice for several characters that has him sucking in a wet, slurpy breath every few seconds. It's revolting and completely distracting from the plot.
Most distracting, though, is in several parts of the story, there will be a long pause in the file, and then the last several sentences will repeat themselves. I've never had that happen in any other book I've listened to.
4/5 stars, it would have been 5 if the audio quality and narration had been better.
I haven't been this entertained in years. I was listening with every spare moment I had. Highly recommended for anyone that wants to be swept away in a medieval adventure. After finishing the first, I couldn't wait to get on to the second book.
I'm sure the story is excellent...the parts I could actually understand seemed very interesting. Unfortunately the reader along with the sound quality is god awful. The guy reads like a drunk old british guy. He slurs his speech so much, I've must have hit the "back 30 seconds" button at least 10 times within the first hour. It's too bad this guy reads the other books in this series because I'm probably going to end up skipping them. This is one case where the book is probably easier to get into than the audio version.
Roy Dotrice, I've just put you on a list of readers to skip.
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