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.
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.
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.
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.
"Oh dear the narration really lets this down"
I know there are a lot of characters to remember but Roy really doesn't do the book justice. The accents are odd and change wildly. Names are also repeatedly mispronounced.
it is also a bit cheeky making folk pay twice for the same book.
this is my first experience with audible and I'm not sure I'll continue after the trial period is over.
I had read and loved the series several years ago, and thought this audiobook would be a great distraction during a long stint of painting and decorating. What a waste of time. I can't understand why such a bad performance was accepted for such a highly regarded book. Hammy, inconsistent accents, mispronunciations, the narrator sounds utterly bored and has no interest in the story. Maybe we've been spoiled by the HBO series, but I don't understand why these audiobooks are of such low quality. They have clearly been rushed out without thought or attention to detail. Rubbish.
"Good book ruined by an appalling narrator"
A better narration
Never managed to get all the way through it
100% ruined it, unbearable
I had been looking forward to listening to this audiobook but the narrator ruined it, he is so bad that I never managed to get through more than a chapter or two.
Somebody skilled - Stephen Fry for instance - narrating instead of Roy Dotrice.
The disappointment of having to stop listening due to the diabolical narration
The narration is terrible. Roy Dotrice has an unpleasant voice to listen to. The pace is rushed, his intonation is frankly bizarre and his character voices are misjudged. I only got about 30 minutes in before I gave up.
Judging by the TV show, the book itself is probably fine, but I couldn't tell you because I couldn't bear to listen to Roy Dotrice.
"Lived up to the hype"
Until a few months ago I'd never knowingly heard of this book, but suddenly I seemed to be surrounded by people talking about the book and TV series. Now I know why (well about the book the TV series probably won't happen).
It shouldn't work, a large cast of characters, multiple places, a complicated story, this is a recipe for confusion. Except it isn't and it works, very well!
This is a well written and read epic story set in a fictional past. You will need to concentrate at first just to sort the characters but after a while you want to concentrate just because it's so good.
Well worth a listen.
"Really enjoyable, but annoyed it's been split in 2"
I really enjoyed both the book and the narration. The narrator took a few minutes to get used to, but I grew to really like him.I didn't find it difficult to follow, but sometimes it's hard to remember who all the characters are, particularly the minor ones - that's just how it's written, and a product of how richly detailed the story is. I particularly loved the descriptions of people and places - you can really see them in your mind.
This version loses a star for splitting the book into two. I remember seeing at the time that the US site sold it as a whole (not sure if that's true now), so it's pretty annoying to have to pay double for it in the UK. I obviously sucked it up, though :)
"Hooked - and I don't even like the genre.!"
I am not a fan of the fantasy genre - in fact avoid them like the plague - but got hooked-on the HBO Series from the start because of four primary determinates: terrific acting, great costumes and sets, wonderful characters and a gripping story. Undergoing withdrawal following the end of the second HBO Series I decided that even without two of the four determinates I would give the audiobook a chance and have found that the characters and story alone are more than enough to carry it. Whilst initially I was a little disappointed with Roy Dotrice's narration I was also realistic enough to put much of my reservation down to the fact that he didn't sound just like the actors but then again neither should he have to - he's a reader, not a mimic. And, just as a great narrator can often compensate for a poor storyline in this case the story itself covers any 'shortfall' in narration whilst the accessibility audiobooks provide more than tips the balance between reading or listening. Do yourself a favour and get hooked.
"Good book, poorly read"
What a shame, this is a good story but the reading is mostly deadpan, flat, and emotionless. I will have to somehow work up some enthusiasm to listen to part two.
"Brilliant novel, bad narration"
I couldn't finish this audiobook. The narration was dull and there was not enough distinction between the character's voices. The timing was also poor and description and dialogue were said in the same breath so I found myself losing track of who was talking and didn't have time to digest the narrative.
Very disappointing. I would have chosen John Lee who narrated Pillars of the Earth for this.
"Can't put this down"
The first thing to say is that listening to this saga has made me realise just how inspired the casting of the TV series is. The second is to say how much clearer the story line is in the book than on the TV. The story itself is gripping and the narrative first class. My one nitpick is with Roy Dotrice's narration. He is undoubtedly one of the UK's finest actors but I get the feeling he has come into this a little unprepared. Although he makes the whole thing very enjoyable there are a number of inconsistencies in his narration - place names tend to change pronunciation from time to time and sometimes his phrasing is a bit off putting. By that I mean taking breaths and breaks at unusual points in a sentence. I get the feeling that this is not for dramatic effect but rather it sounds as if he is reading it for the first time. Unless I am very much mistaken, one of the characters actually changes accent completely during the narrative which, again, is a bit disconcerting. From being a northerner he suddenly becomes Welsh.
All said though, I can heartily recommend this series to anyone whether they have seen the TV adaptation or not.
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