Dubbed the American Tolkien by Time magazine, George R. R. Martin has earned international acclaim for his monumental cycle of epic fantasy. Now the number-one New York Times best-selling author delivers the fifth book in his spellbinding landmark series - as both familiar faces and surprising new forces vie for a foothold in a fragmented empire.
In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance once again - beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has three times 3,000 enemies, and many have set out to find her. Yet, as they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.
To the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone - a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Nights Watch, will face his greatest challenge yet. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.
And from all corners, bitter conflicts soon reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.
Enchanted? Check out the rest of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series.
©2011 George R.R. Martin (P)2011 Random House
"Martin has produced--is producing, since the series isn't over--the great fantasy epic of our era. ... his skill as a crafter of narrative exceeds that of almost any literary novelist writing today." (Lev Grossman, Time)
"Martin's love for sophisticated, deeply strange fantasy permeates Dance like a phantasmagorical fever dream…Martin seems poised in the last two books to bring home one of the best series in the history of fantasy." (Jeff Vandermeer, Los Angeles Times)
"Fans of A Song of Ice and Fire will surely think the wait was worth it. ... The great attraction of the story must lie in its panorama of a medieval kingdom: knights in armor, mercenary ‘sellswords,' tavern wenches, struggling and surviving inhabitants in all forms, from low to high." (Tom Shippey, Wall Street Journal)
I bought and listened to all 5 volumes of this series recently. I was pleased to see that Roy Dotrice was returning as the reader for book 5. That was until I began listening. I can only assume that Mr. Dotrice and his director chose not to reacquaint themselves with the voices he used for various characters in the first 3 books. Is there a more egregious audiobook flaw than to have the same performer radically change voices for characters across volumes?
I wondered how this could happen. Looking back over the audible.com descriptions, I see the first 3 books were published by Books On Tape with Random House audio while books 4 (narrator change!?) and 5 (return of Dotrice but no voice / character continuity) were Random House only.
I give book 5 4 stars for story but only 1 star for shabby audiobook direction/production. I think Dotrice is a fine reader but the change in character voices is unforgivable. If I was in charge I would have Books On Tape re-record books 4 and 5 with Dotrice as narrator but make sure the director takes care to maintain voice / character continuity.
I previously PRAISED Roy Dotrice's performance of the books in this series. I struggled through the defeating sludge of uninspired data that made up most of A Feast For Crows, just to get back to the story- and BACK TO ROY DOTRICE. What a catastrophe. How can an actor of his magnitude think that a fourteen year old beautiful willful queen should sound like a lowborn troll? This is not the Denaris Stormborn of three books past. WHAT HAPPENED ROY? Unfortunately, the narrator's reading of the female voices so vital to this story have made this book IRRITATING rather than pleasurable to listen to. What a way to kill what once was a such a good thing. Women should not sound like old men. Wassup Random House?????? Is nobody listening?
A Song of Ice and Fire is my "most favorite" Audible series (member for over 10 years), but I was actually disappointed in this audio book. For the most part, it was probably the narration by Roy Dotrice that ruined it for me. Mr. Dotrice did a superb job narrating previous books and I remember being very upset that he stopped narrating the more recent ones. So, I was thrilled to see that he had been brought back for this book. Unfortunately, he was just not up to the task. I had to listen very carefully when a chapter started to know who the characters were because each chapter had a nearly identical set of "voices".
Daenerys (young dragon queen), was probably the worst voiced character. She has a prominent role in this book, which made her voice all the more disappointing. Instead of sounding like the most beautiful queen in the realm, she sounded like an old hag. In fact, nearly all the females sounded old and haggy. Nearly all the knights sounded the same as well. But, at least you could always pick out any male from house Lannister because they all sounded like Tyrion :)
I am not trying to be mean here since I love the series and loved Roy Dotrice in the previous books he narrated. I will have to say that George Martin went a little overboard with the number of characters in this book and perhaps that had something to do with the narration problems. Also, this book did not have nearly the action and pacing of the previous books. I find this is typical with writers who are trying to "tie up" all the loose ends in a series or just trying to do a good job of bringing things to a logical conclusion. Then the last part of the last book is so full of action and pace that you can't put it down and find yourself wishing the writer had done a better job of spacing the pacing (so to speak).
Perhaps George Martin is now such a mainstream success that his editors were afraid to touch the script... I mean book. Please, please, please, Mr. Martin, Mr. Dotrice, and "editors", return to the style of the earlier books for Book 6 and you will have my undying appreciation!
Yes, Dotrice is much better than the guy from the previous book. But Daeneyrs is my favorite character, I have been waiting 10 years to find out what's happening with her and her chapters are ruined by the old crone strange accent that Dotrice is suddenly using! It's wrecking this book for me. You may be less sensitive, but be warned. Did no one on the production side listen to this to hear the jarring change in voice of such a major character?
Let's get the important stuff out of the way. Writing? As good as the rest. Narrator? Read the other reviews. Should you get it? It's not like you won't. What's the problem then?
The problem is that nothing happens in this book, even (unbelievably) less than in the last one. I understand that Martin wanted to skip ahead in time and deal with everything in flashbacks, but he wrote this book instead, a book of not-flashback folderol. At best, it is an engaging slog. The first three books were full of movement, literally. People went places and killed people, often as part of giant armies. Then all of a sudden, everyone decides to sit around for a while, twiddling their thumbs, remembering times past and talking talking talking. There are a few armies in this book, and one of them does manage to move for a while before stopping to have a nice chat. Only Tyrion and Victarion actually bother to pick their feet up and go, and they're the best bits. Jaime and Davos get about two chapters of movement, just enough to remind us that they're awesome before vanishing off to get ready to do of something interesting in the next book, presumably. Some new characters appear out of nowhere and take the time to tell us their names. Daenerys sits around worrying over logistics, marriages, food, and the meaning of leadership. Jon sits around worrying over logistics, marriages, food, and the meaning of leadership. Asha and Ser Barristan do much the same, although mildly less insufferably. Only Theon's story truly kicks ass in this book, and boy does it. I actually started to get annoyed at each new Jon chapter. Each one was an hour of blather and petty bickering. By the end I was hoping he would die like his boring old dad. Arya turns up again, still with the mysterious dudes who don't bother to say anything that might hint of a plot. Cersei turns up again, to feel sorry for herself some more. All of this might be bearable if we could expect the next book any time soon. I don't.
I've listened to or read this entire series, but this one is tedious and dreadful. I'm having a very hard time not turning it off and giving up on the series.
this review will be about the audio performance and not concern the story itself. I am delighted that we the audience were heard, and that Roy Dotrice has returned. The audio performance of book 4 was a crime against fiction.
But this performance is no where near as good as were the 1st 3 books and I am angered that no one involved in this production cared enough to make it better. Was there no director? Was Mr Dotrice given time enough to prepare? Was this project not worth the bother of continuity?
I echo the criticisms of all the others who said that Dany's voice is terrible. But also its much harder to tell the difference between the characters speaking and the thoughts they don't voice. In previous books there was no question. And some of the emotionality is just wrong. For example, I don't think this is a spoiler, Jon thinks to himself that he must kill the boy inside himself to become a man. But the thought " kill the boy" is delivered with a venomous rage that would be more appropriate were Jon thinking about Theon. The depth and perception of the earlier work is betrayed here.
its still way better than book 4
One small mention of the writing itself - this book is coarser in a lot of ways and made even more so by lots of chatter about bodily functions and elimination behaviors. That the narrative has been peppered with references like this all along has never bothered me, but this one has too much. Its cheap.
I can't help but think they didnt give it enough time or perhaps they just see the audio as income and not as at artform with intrinsic value. Its such a pity. I feel like Christmas was cancelled this year
Loved the first four books. They are absolutely the best series I have read, but this book was not worth the wait. Over half way through and nothing much has happened. It just drones on.
I agree with other reviewers who point out that Roy Dotrice, who was so excellent in the first 3 books ruins the reading here by changing the voices of Daenerys and Mellesandre. This is especially noticeable with Dany who is such a central character. She is supposed to be a young, royal woman but now sounds like an old serving wench. I can't fathom the change. I've so enjoyed listening to this series, but I don't know if I can make it through this one. I love hearing the old Tyrian again, but I find myself wanting to turn this off anytime Dany speaks. What happened here?
A total disappointment. Verbose, boring, lacks direction, a poor excuse to take my money. I want a refund. Compared to the other three books this is a disaster of literary proportions.
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