This is Part One of Book 1 of the A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE Series.
This first volume in the hugely popular and highly acclaimed epic fantasy series A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE is unabridged and split into two parts. Now a major Sky Atlantic TV series from HBO, starring Sean Bean. Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. It will stretch from the south, where heat breeds plot, lusts and intrigues; to the vast and savage eastern lands; all the way to the frozen north, where an 800-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond. Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords and honest men… all will play the Game of Thrones. Winter is coming…
©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)
"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)
"Fantasy literature has never shied away from grandeur, but 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)
This would be a 5-star review, except that Audible has divided the book into 2 parts so that you have to use two tokens to finish the book. The US version of the book is sold in its entirety for a single token.
I have read every volume of this saga published to date and watched the DVD - this audible edition is a marvellous rendition of a great tale and Roy Dotrice does an excellent job with the huge range of characters. He is especially good with the male characters and has a good range of voices for them. I respect the fact that he does not try to be the female characters, choosing instead to rely on the author's drawing of the character rendered in the narrator's voice. This is far more effective, for me, than trying to be what he is not. I am working my way through the audible editions of each volume and am sure I will revisit them more than once. George R R Martin's imagination is rich and powerful; he has provided a feast for his fans. Roy Dotrice has enhanced my enjoyment enormously.
The novel is a favourite, but this talking book is really exceptional. The narrater is the master of voices and accents. Tyrion as a Welshman is masterful, and after listening enthralled through this I found one tiny flaw: Occasionally Roy forgets to step out of a characterisation when reading the narrative. Other than that I would call his performance flawless, and entirely in keeping with the quality of the storytelling.
The most memorable moment was when Tyrion first spoke. I'd always pegged him as being frightfully plummy, like Roy's version of Littlefinger, but the accent and voice used were a delightful surprise, and now work for me. I'm rereading the text of another book in the series, and now am very happy to hear Tyrion as Welsh in my head.
His eclectic and diverse range of both voice and accent stands out. He's got a vast array of distinct characters nailed down in a masterful way. He's very impressive.
Even if you haven't read the Ice & Fire series (shame on you) I recommend this audio book. It's like watching a movie, with a cast of hundreds, with your eyes closed.
I thoroughly enjoyed ever minute of this Audio book, the story is very engaging and hooks you in within the first 5 minutes. The narrator however has a very small revenue of voices he is able to lend the characters and it sometimes makes things a tad confusing. Also, and I put this as a caution. THIS IS ONLY ONE HALF OF THE FIRST BOOK. I understand some of you may think this point mute but with all the different versions of the one book on here I accidentally missed this rather obvious situation and proceeded to buy the Second half of the second book and listen to that after finishing this... However props must be given to the Author because despite this I managed to piece the important bits that I missed together, which is about a years worth of information.
Anyway I hope this helps in your decision to purchase this truly wonderful book.
No one needs me to tell them how good George R. R. Martin's series is. However I did find it disappointing that Australians are forced to buy this book in two parts. The full book is available to other regions so why not for us? It is for this reason I have given the overall rating 1 star. Also if you are coming to the books from the brilliant TV series as I did you may find Roy Dotrice's performance of some characters off-putting as they are so different.
A Game Of Thrones absolutely lived up to expectations and after HBO picking it up to do their most expensive series yet why wouldn't it. However, it was Roy Dotrice who really brought this book to life for me. His narration is smooth and lively, painting the world of Westeros in vivid colour and depth. Having an individual voice for each character was unexpected but welcomed giving another layer to each personality. I think my boyfriend is glad I've finished the series (for now) because he can have his girlfriend back. I can't wait for the next book in the series but more so I can't wait to here more from Roy Dotrice.
I read Stephen King's Cell once. It made for lovely wrapping paper.
One of the best thing about reading novels is the ability to create your interpretation of the world in question, to flavour the characters beyond the story itself, or the words on the page. When books get adapted to film, the characters are presented in a very stark way (so that people complain
Not going to give away spoilers here, but the first few times Roy Dotrice went from regal narrator to guttermouth were pretty memorable to me! :P
Dotrice has a talent of providing each character with their own unique voice - not a mean feat in a novel that has more antagonists than a YouTube comment section! It may be a slight lisp, or a throaty chuckle, but the variances in Dotrice's voice allow each character their own identity.
There are so many great characters. It is too difficult to choose just one. One of the most amazing things about this author is that he treats the characters realistically. As a result, it is very difficult to predict what will happen to them
They were all done well.
When Lord Eddard died. From that point I knew that realism took priority over sentimentality. It makes reading the series so much more interesting.
I started reading this series years ago when only books 1 and 2 had been released. i was riveted but got frustrated waiting for each installment and gave them away. I'm really enjoying listening to them now. the narrator is fantastic - so many different voices and characters. Some of them are, for me, not quite right, but the major characters are brilliant.
If you haven't been introduced to the series before, I can strongly recommend the audio version - with one reservation: the maps and genealogies the are available in book form really help to anchor the story. With so many characters and so much sweeping action, it can be a little confusing without these resources. Especially because audio doesn't really allow you to go back and pick up a detail you might have missed.
"A truly brilliant fantasy novel"
A Game of Thrones is one of the most enjoyable books I've listened to in years so much so I completed it very quickly. Without giving any of the story away, it's worth pointing out that the plot can initially be a little confusing as it switches between different characters but as the book progresses you soon gain a greater understanding of the world that the author has created. Another point is that the storyline may seem slow at first but this is essential so as to establish the characters and set the scene, for not just the rest of the book but the rest of the series. And once it gets going, believe me, it really does get going.
Now for a word on the narrator. If you consider the number of different characters there are in this story, and how he has to make them all slightly different to distinguish them for the listener, I think he does an outstanding job. Of course it's natural you won't like all of his characterizations but his ability as a narrator really fits the the story and brings it to life.
This novel is well crafted full twists and intrigue. I cannot enthuse enough about how good this book is and encourage everyone to download it and enjoy this epic story.
"An unexpected surprise"
I am new to audible books, and value peoples reviews. I was nearly put off A Game of Thrones, by some poor reviews. I actually like Roy Dotrice, and find his style suits me. It has probably helped that I have seen the first series of the HBO TV production and got to know the characters. I am enjoying the extra detail and background of the characters, which the TV series skated over. I will certainly be purchasing the next instalment of this book and hope to finish it before the next TV series.
A fantastic book and well worth it, however a bit of a con from Audible to split it into two parts, (needing to pay for each). It is only one book and should be sold as such. It is on iTunes and works out as cheaper there! Wish I'd noticed that earlier.
"I was really enjoying it up to the point when"
Tyrion Lannisters accent changes from Yorkshire to Welsh, I actually like Dotrices narration its like being told a story by an old man around a villages community fire, but a story teller needs to be more aware of his use of accents. What I think actually happened is Dotrice read the rest of the book and saw that Tyrion Lannister became a hero rather than a Rumpelstiltskin character, he couldn't become the hand of Gofrey and talk like a Clegg from last of the summer wine.
I have listened my way through this book several times now and it just keeps getting better, Roy Dotrice's narration manages to bring each character to life and I could now pick out each by his narration alone. It's been a long time since I found a book so engaging.
"Really Good Listen and Great Characters"
The first point I want to make about this audible book is - I Have to disagree with everyone saying the narrator was poor, I found him excellent and easy to listen too and have heard far worse.
As for the story line yes there are lots of characters but that is what makes it great and the story itself is excellent. The imaginary world created and the characters are really interesting, which makes for a great yarn.
Yes you have to keep your wits about you to follow the twist and turns and the various storylines and characters, but that is what makes this book great.
All I can say is some of the other readers who have commented negatively towards this book and narrator must profer easier listening something with a handful of characters and simple quick storylines. If you want that then this is not the book for you. However if you want a great fantasy adventure with loads of interesting characters and a great storyline download this book.
"Best fantasy around if you have the time"
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.
"Some useful background information"
I have only just started this book, and although I am enjoying it, I did find it slightly hard to follow. As some of you may know - this is now a successful HBO drama which is shown here in the UK. If you go to the HBO website, you will get some useful background information relating to the characters and storyline.
"A perfect listen"
Another book where one is sad when it comes to an end, but, on the plus side......we have more to come!!!
Perfect candidate for the audio format, Roy Dotrice does a difficult job of breathing life into all the characters... not sure I like all of them (his characterisations) but as I only listened to this after watching the excellent HBO production maybe I had preconceptions.
Notwithstanding all of that, I can't recommend this highly enough, makes a car journey never long enough!
"Great Story, Difficult Narration"
I actually own the paperbacks to A Song of Ice and Fire. And I re-bought the entire series as eBooks for my Kindle. The I purchased the Season 1 DVDs for A Game of Thrones. And the Graphic Novel (Part I). So take it as read that I'm familiar with the books, the story, George R R Martin's writing style, and the cast of thousands that populate Westeros and the lands across the Narrow Sea.
As you might surmise, I love the story. Unfortunately, this audiobook was a struggle to listen to because I just couldn't get on with the narration. Leaving aside the characterisation, for a moment, Roy Dotrice has this bizarre habit of pausing... mid-sentence so you're not sure if the sentence is finished... or if there's another portion... to come. At some points, these pauses almost change the sense of what's being said, and you find yourself having to mentally re-wind to re-phrase the words in your head to get the proper meaning.
In a similar vein - just concerning the narration rather than the characterisation - at some points the narrator's choice of tone doesn't jibe with my own interpretation of the story's tone; the first time we hear the Stark's motto, '"Winter is Coming", we're given it in almost upbeat fashion, rather than the heavy, almost portentous phrase that I have in my head.
However, my biggest obstacle with the narration was the characters' voicings; to be fair, the book has a cast of thousands (probably literally, although I haven't counted), and it would be impossible to form a distinct voice for every single person. But characters frequently sound much older than written (Theon Greyjoy, for example), the cod-Irish accent deployed for some characters is almost unlistentable, and, most disappointingly, Tyrion's accent changes mid tale, from Lancastrian to something that oscillates between Welsh and Irish.
It's a hard job, and I wish Mr Dotrice no ill, but I would've liked to hear Steven Pacey's reading of this instead.
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