George R.R. Martin’s superb and highly acclaimed epic fantasy A Song of Ice and Fire continues with the third in the series A Storm of Swords. There is passion here, and misery and charm, grandeur and squalor, tragedy, nobility and courage. Unabridged and split into two parts. The Seven Kingdoms are divided by revolt and blood feud, and winter approaches like an angry beast. Beyond the Northern borders, wildlings leave their villages to gather in the ice and stone wasteland of the Frostfangs. From there, the renegade Brother Mance Rayder will lead them South towards the Wall.
The men of the Night’s Watch are ready for the coming of a great cold and the walking corpses that travel with it. But now they face a horde of wildlings twenty-thousand strong – hungry savage people steeped in the dark magic of the haunted wilderness – poised to invade the Kingdom of the North where Robb Stark wears his new-forged crown. But Robb’s defences are ranged against attack from the South, the land of House Stark’s enemies the Lannisters. His sisters are trapped there, dead or likely yet to die, at the whim of the Lannister boy-king Joffrey or his depraved mother Cersei, regent of the Iron Throne. Cersei’s ambition is unfettered while the dwarf Tyrion Lannister fights for his life, a victim of treachery. And on the other side of the ocean, the last of the Targaryens rears the dragons she hatched from her husband’s funeral pyre. Daenerys Stormborn will return to the land of her birth to avenge the murder of her father, the last Dragon King on the Iron Throne.
©2011 George R. R. Martin (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
"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)
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"Great story, well read"
I would like to say the west country accent that Roy tends to favour when acting out a number of characters.
The tale drifts from character to character which can be a little hard to follow but George does tend to leave each of his characters in a difficult position before moving onto the next. Gripping stuff.
The narration - Roy does a superb job! Especially with Varys. I think the show has obscured the characters for most which is why they find Roy's narration difficult. I however love how he's given the characters distinct personalities with the voices. Although I wish Arya sounded a bit more powerful given she is a little rascal!
I hope he narrates them all because he's simply the best!
"Mostly TV vs Book time line in this review"
Well I was told that season 3 of HBO tv series basically followed the first half of the third book but when I got to the end of part 1 of a storm of swords I realised that lots hadn't happened in the book yet, and quite a bit had happened in the book that hadn't yet happened in the series. So I started on the second half with every intention of stopping when I got to vaguely the same place that the third tv season finished.
This did not work, not least because it is so totally impossible to stop listening to this twisting turning tale, but also because the two do not line up exactly. One of the first person characters will reach the final scene from the series while the rest of the first person characters are still meandering on their way to their own.
I had hoped to watch the series and then listen to the books (as I find that the book is always better so if I listen first then the tv series does not disappoint, although I know this is a contentious point of view). However the big ending in the book is amazing, I do not want to give anything away and spoil it but I did not see that coming and I can't wait to see how the tv series handle it. I will have to keep very quiet when I watch it with my partner as I don't want to spoil the surprise for him.
So my advice is if you want to watch the tv series first then don't listen to the second half of the book until you have watched the 4th season.
That said it is a very good book and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
"Wonderful stuff, and addictive"
here is depth of charaxter, excitment, suspense. It is wonderful
I love the diawolves who become the children's familiars
The prolog has all the suspense and drama of the rest
real steel, real courage
I have bought 9 of this trilogy, and it has been wonderful.
"Grim and gripping"
If, like me, you've got this far you are probably going to stick with it until the bitter end (I am guessing much bitterness along the way, certainly).
After so many hours of listening I am used to Roy Dotrice's narration. It's not always right - lots of characters sound too old and he's not always consistent across books - but is generally fine and it's now the voice I associate with the story. His depiction of the sex bits is a bit icky but I can live with it. It's difficult for any reader get those right.
I am enjoying the additional POV characters, particularly Jaime and his character development is interesting and believable.
I find I'm less enamoured of Danaeys's storyline at the moment as the settings are bit too old school fantasy Conan the Barbarian-ish for me but that's a matter of personal taste.
Characters often talk about rape and sexual assault although there are not any first hand descriptions. Even so it can be fairly unpleasant. Again, if you've got this far you know it's very violent and no one, even the major POV characters, is safe from the authorial axe (sword, fire, poison etc. .)
Anyway, I've given it 4 stars overall as it's a cracking story with great characters and I keep wanting to know what happens next.
"Accents all over the place!"
I don't think I need to review the series itself, which is excellent and an achievement beyond almost anything else out there. I just felt the need to comment on the narration, after getting through two and a half books so far.
I don't actually mind Roy Dotrice's leisurely hesitant style but WHY do the characters' accents change all over the place? In book one, pivotal character Tyrion Lannister started off sounding like he came from Birmingham or somewhere, then halfway through turned very Welsh indeed. Except his siblings Jaime and Cersei spoke Posh English, although his father and his uncle, when they turned up, were also Welsh.
Come book three, in which Jaime gets his turn as a viewpoint character, suddenly he too is Welsh! Which is, you know, fair enough. His sister remains English but I thought maybe, the narrator had suddenly realised he ought to make an effort to make the important Lannister family verbally consisted. But no! When his father Tywin and uncle Kevan re-appear, they've lost the Welsh accents they had in book two.
I'm baffled. It's a great book and it is actually fun to listen to, but did nobody have editorial control of this recording, and point these things out to Mr Dotrice?
"pure genius writing"
Best book in the series so far. Wont give the plot away but martin is a master story teller in the same context as tolkine. Only complaint I have is to audible. Why is this book is two parts feel as if I am being robbed paying twice its unfair practice audible. I will be looking else were for next book in the series
Plot narration. Carachter development
"The Apex of a Great Series (so far)"
(concerning all parts of this audio book)
This is a great audiobook, well written and well read. As of this point (waiting for book 6) this is the high point of the series both in terms of story and in this particular reading. I say this because the gap between this book and the next left Roy Dotrice (reader) forgets all the accents and simply reinvents them all and it's off putting.
So anyway, this book is the best audiobook I've had to date and probably one of my top all-time reads.
All the many facets of the extended shock ending.
Take nothing for granted.
The next two books drag a little, hopefully the Winds of Winter (book 6) makes up for it.
"It gets better and better - Martin does it again"
George R R Martin just keeps getting better and better - the 3rd book is the best one yet! Absolutely loved it. I thought 48 hours of the same book would become tiresome, but it didn't
Story – 5/5
Yet again more surprises, if you have already enjoyed the gritty, brutal and unforgiving nature of the first 2 books, this will impress you even more. This one is action packed, and you will not see any of it coming.
It introduces new characters and world locations just as interesting as in the first book. Martin always gives you enough to keep you interested, but not too much that it becomes predictable.
Performance – 3.5/5
The narration of the story was as good as ever with Roy Dotrice - there was a slip with the voice acting though. For some reason, he decided to change the accents for some of the characters to something completely differently. It seems to be with the Women, altering them from a lighter toned voice of the male acting to a weird demented Irish voice. I would have thought that the production staff would have pointed him back to the other 2 books as a reference. I got used to it though, and was able to enjoy the book thoroughly.
Overall – 4.5/5
Apologies for the star ratings not matching the written review, I am forced to round halves on Audible.
This is an excellent audio book - the story is great in the first place and the narration really helps to build the atmosphere and make you keep listening. I really, really enjoyed this audio book and I couldn't turn it off!
The audio quality is also up to the usual high standard. I would recommend this!
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