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)
This was my first audio book and truthful the first book I've "read" since freshman year of college. It was everything I hoped it would be. So easy to follow along with the different voices of each character. So glad I decided to get this. Roy Dotrice (the narrator) was perfect!
I love ASOIF and have read all the books but I will never understand why they chose this guy to narrate them. When I first started listening it was almost unbearable to deal with e every character sounding like a grandfather or an old hag. Tyrion's parts, which were usually my favorite, were bearable only for the amazing writing by GRRM. Don't get me started on the mispronunciations either. The fact that I have to hear Jeffrey again for another 2 books is irritating. Seriously please redo these with someone who's not in their late 80's.
This was a beautifully crafted book that was engaging from the first chapter and grew moreso throughout. As soon as I finish writing this review I will be purchasing the second book of the series.
I nearly gave this book a 5-star rating, even clicked to 5 stars several times before settling on four. The book was perfectly written for an adult audience, and very well told, both with George R. R. Martin's writing and the gruff, expressive voice of Roy Dotrice narrating. However, there were shortcomings in the audiobook that at times made me want to rush to a store and buy the paper book to re-read passages on my own. In the first few hours of listening there were many times when I became somewhat lost by the introduction of new characters, something which wouldn't have happened if I were reading the book on my own. Having such a large cast of characters makes it difficult to keep track of by ear alone.
However, Dotrice's reading gave the characters enough personality to their voices that after awhile I was able to sort them out easily enough, and over time I came to easily recognize the characters and learn new ones without a problem, even if I went a week or more without listening to any portion of the book.
As other reviews have noted, Dotrice's reading does lack in range, as his range does not cover youth well and characters in their teens and twenties are given voices and pacing that make them sound as if they're middle aged or older. This can make for a bumpy road at times as I found myself struggling to recall at times to recall the rough ages of each character. Dotrice's reading can also lead to inconsequential misunderstandings, such as my initial thought that he was saying "milk of the puppy" in reference to a medicinal painkiller rather than the actual words, "milk of the poppy."
These, combined with a few minor audio and editing issues in the last half of the book were what cost it that fifth star. All are very minor things that taken by themselves wouldn't have been any problem at all, but taken together, added up just enough to make me think that just a little more care should have been put into this production.
Despite the very minor flaws that kept this from being five stars across the board, I highly recommend this book. It has an engaging world that leaves you wanting to learn more, thrilling storlylines that answer enough questions to keep you interested while leaving enough mysteries to make your mind feast on the possibilities of how all the plots and subplots tie together. The characters make you want to smile and laugh along with them in their victories, to put your arm around them and cry with them at their defeats, and to at times you just want to smack them across the back of the head and make them see common sense.
I went into this audiobook figuring that I wanted to listen to a decent portion of it before I started viewing the HBO series. Now that I have finished the first book, I still haven't seen any of the TV series, and find myself just wanting to continue with the story by getting down to the next book, and if I happen to start watching the series as well, so be it. But if the books continue to be as engaging as this one was, I'll be perfectly satisfied to continue my journey in George R. R. Martin's world through the book series.
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