This is Part One of A Dance with Dragons, the fifth book of the A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series.
The fifth volume in the greatest epic work of the modern age, this recording is unabridged and split into two parts. The future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance. In the east, Daenerys, last scion of House Targaryen, her dragons grown to terrifying maturity, rules as queen of a city built on dust and death, beset by enemies. Now that her whereabouts are known many are seeking Daenerys and her dragons. Among them the dwarf, Tyrion Lannister, who has escaped King’s Landing with a price on his head, wrongfully condemned to death for the murder of his nephew, King Joffrey. But not before killing his hated father, Lord Tywin. To the north lies the great Wall of ice and stone – a structure only as strong as those guarding it. Eddard Stark's bastard son Jon Snow has been elected the 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, but he has enemies both in the Watch and beyond the Wall, where the wildling armies are massing for an assault.
On all sides bitter conflicts are reigniting, played out by a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves. The tides of destiny will inevitably lead to the greatest dance of all….
©2011 George R. R. Martin (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
"In the grand epic fantasy tradition, Martin is by far the best... tense, surging, insomnia-inflicting." (Time magazine)
"An absorbing, exciting read… Martin’s style is so vivid that you will be hooked within a few pages." (The Times)
"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)
After book 3, I was gutted to find out Roy Dotrice didn't do the narration for book 4. Instead, some talentless no-mark got the gig and, almost without exception, made an absolute dog's dinner of it.
So imagine my delight when Dotrice returned for book 5!
And then I started listening...
I've praised Dotrice's work previously because he gave a huge range of characters a unique and consistent voice. Why then does he suddenly elect to give a young girl the screwed up voice of a yokel crone when previously she'd been anything but? Why then does he take what was previously a rich, husky female voice and again turn it into something more suited to a wart-nosed witch? Yes, the majority of the characters are as they were, but these two aren't the only jarring changes but they are by far the worst.
And then there's the story. The previous books had intrigue, shocks, revelations and great characters and a wide but still cohesive narration that was occasionally interspersed with chunks of 'nothing much happens'. This book still has the intrigue etc, but it also has great swathes of text where characters just... really... don't... do... much. At all. I'm looking at you Daenerys, you wishy washy sack of absolute tedium. Other characters that have been dead since before book 1 suddenly take centre stage. Martin has never been shy of offing major characters but he seems to be developing a taste for occasionally resurrecting them without really seeming to have good reason. The cast just keeps getting bigger and more complex. The chronology of events from one place to the next gets tricky to follow.
Dragons feels more like a book from an author who's created too much 'stuff'' in his world trying to give it all time in the sun so he can get it straight. As a result, the tale sometimes seems a little forced and occasionally 'round peg, square hole' as pieces are forced into places and events that just lack.. something.
Still, if anyone can tie it all together in the end, it's GRRM.
The series is reaching the point where I am beginning not to care. The original cast is well thinned, while other POV characters have come and gone. Major figures have has mundane deaths, often 'off camera', without any real meaning. It kind of makes me wonder why they were written at all. Too many minor characters sapping my interest in the story, a whole volume without Tyrion, John Snow and Danerys? I know he explained it in the epilogue of the last book, but it was too long away from major characters. How many years was it in the end?.
I will finish the series and I hope it picks up.
Oh yes, and the reader is rubbish. Stiff and definitely no 'voice actor'. Reminds me of a Latin Master at some dusty old private school.
The storyline is slow to get going (warks can be boring), but progresses nicely. Big disappointment is the narration!. After the appalling narration of the Feast for Crows, I was delighted to see that Roy Dotrice was re-instated only to be bitterly disappointed at his making a complete mess of the voices for the main characters, completely destroying their audible chjaracters in my imagination.
I have downloaded the series but there does not seem to be a Book 4 in the Audible version.
It is a great story - love it - very dark though it doesn't really raise much hope for mankind - but it is a great read.
I'm not sure Roy Dotrice's reading does justice to the characters in the book. His many voiced characters show he is a talented man but when Denarey's part is read I can't visualise a 15-16 year old girl. The characters all sound seedy - was that George Martin's intention?
I somewhat disagree with complaints about Dotrice; pacing and vocal range are more reasonable than most, although his rhythm is too pronounced sometimes. My sad tale would be that I think Martin is doing a "Jordan", as in Robert Jordan who would be too busy describing a scene rather than actually getting on with the plot. I started to get this feeling in the previous book and it seems to be spelled here pretty strongly. Things need to move along! However it feels like another two books minimum at this pace before a conclusion can be reached. The twists are starting to feel a little contrived. I hate writing this, I have been a huge fan of this series since it was first published.
A very good/excellent book completely spoiled by terrible voice acting. I tried to force myself and listen for a while, but I gave up after some six hours. This is the first time in five years (since I started listening to audiobooks) when I decided I just could not stand the narrator. I would not believe it if somebody told me before...
There are plenty of talented people in the voice acting business and I just cannot comprehend how a major fantasy bestseller ended up being read by a leprechaun/old Irish drunk commoner.
I am a fan of George R. R. Martin saga and this rating concerns the voice performance quality, not the book itself.
In summary: Great story; horrible narration.
Like many others here, I found Roy Dotrice to be painful to listen to. Half of his characters sound like stereotyped pirates! I was half-expecting to hear him shout "Avast!" from time to time.
Some of you may not be aware that, besides Roy Dotrice, Roy Avers also narrated Books 1 & 3 of the series. (John Lee narrated Book 4).
Having listened to all of the books in this series several times (and by all three narrators), I had really hoped that George RR Martin would have asked Roy Avers to read this, the 5th book, for us. Roy Avers has a much greater range of different voices for each of the characters. At times, it seemed as though he snuck his daughter in to read the parts of Arya and Sansa. Roy Avers also changes his reading pace to suit the mood of each part of the story. He reads faster when there is action, and slows-down and lowers his voice when characters are trying to be unobtrusive. This is something that Roy Dotrice could learn from.
Given a choice, I'd prefer to listen to Roy Avers instead of Roy Dotrice (or John Lee - who narrated the 4th book).
The story itself was very good. There were several surprises. However, the plot tended to drag along slowly at times (as it did in Book 4). As much as I like his writing style, sometimes I would have enjoyed the story more if Martin had got things moving a little quicker and not have let the characters stories draw-out needlessly.
I'm certainly looking forward to the next book. This series is still my favourite above all others, despite the horrible narration of Roy Dotrice and John Lee.
If I had one dying wish, it would be to have the completed Ice & Fire series finally completed by Martin and all books read by Roy Avers.
I'm an Audibook Fan driving tens of thousands of kilometres for work yearly and I find the performances on these novels the best time passer
Good, but it is dissapointing that he can not use consistant character voices throughout the series.
I could actually finish listening to the book. The files I downloaded were corrupt and I have been waiting for them to be fixed.
I loved the book however the Narration was awful I cannot stand to give the book a bad review but the Narration is so bad I would strongly recommend reading the book and spending your audible credit elsewhere.
Roy Dotrice does not do the work justice. The female characters all sound like old North Country serving women from some low rent historical drama. With younger women this is particularly jarring, Daenerys sounds like she is 103. I will avoid any audio book read by Roy Dotrice in the future.
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