I understand that there are to be 7 books in this series, but as of this writing there are only 5. I listened to them all, one right after the other, ..Show More »so it is difficult for me to review them separately. Besides, I think anyone new to the series should know what they're getting into right up front. However, there are no spoilers here.
I'm going to use the word "read" instead of "listen" because it's all the same to me and "read" is shorter.
My sons, both of them "men grown," have been nagging me for at least two years to read these books. Recently, they both accosted me about it from different parts of the country on my birthday, so I grudgingly agreed to try the first book. I have now read them all, as I said. My sons have been disinherited several times during the reading process. They had better hope that the last two books come out before I die.
I have read a number of reviews comparing Martin to Tolkien. This might be true if Tolkien had been a warped, sadistic bastard who enjoyed tormenting his readers. During the course of reading these books, I have called Martin everything but a good guy. Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Spawn of Satan top the list, along with accompanying adjectives. But I read all the books and am biting my nails waiting for the next one. True to his nature, however, Martin is making no promises about when that will be. Judging from the spacing of these first 5 books, I may have no fingers left by the time book 6 hits the presses. (This would help me relate better to some of his characters, I guess.)
So, for those of you who have not yet begun this series: If you are very squeamish, you'd better not start. There is a lot of torture, violence, explicit sex, and explicit violent sex. Even worse, there's some really bad language.
It is set in a world that seems to be based on Medieval England, but is not England nor any other place on this earth. The number of characters and story lines that are converging on each other seems daunting at first glance, but I was surprised at how easily I could keep the major ones straight in my head.
There are some characters that you will love and others that you will love to hate, and still others that you will hate to love. Some of them you will hate and then come to love or pity, and the other way around, too. Some of them, mostly Tyrion Lannister, are very witty and humorous no matter what the situation, so that provides a little relief sometimes. Some of them you will forget about entirely, as a whole book might go by before they pop up again.
If you like to feel safe and secure when reading a book, this series is not for you. Nothing is sacred, no one is safe. Bad things happen to good people, and vice versa. If I had been reading a paper book, I would have a lot of holes in my walls from repeatedly throwing the books against them. However, reading them has given me plenty of practice climbing the walls. (Unfortunately, as a woman, I would still not be able to become a Black Brother.) No one is happy in any of the seven kingdoms. The only joy comes from vengeance or, more rarely, justice. I hate books like that! But I read all the books and am biting my nails waiting for the next one.
I have given the series 5 stars because I could not stop reading once I had started, no matter how angry it made me. I would never have read these books if my sons had not hounded me into it. But wait--no--I have no sons. That was that other woman who lived before she embarked on the torturous journey that is Game of Thrones.
Good listen, but what's up with the chapter set up
I thought it was a fantastic story, and well narrated. My #1 pet peeve, which I found really irritating, was that the listening chapters didn't line u..Show More »p with the chapter menu on my iphone. It made it difficult to find my spot if I lost it, made it impossible to figure out how much of a chapter is left, and I couldn't check the next chapter to see who's perspective was coming next (which I like to do).
Carries on from 'Game of Thrones' and doesn't disappoint. Some characters have disappeared whilst others develop into excellent characters. What is so..Show More » good about this story is that the characters are not two dimensional cartoon types. Their motivations, ambitions and fears project them through the story with enough twists and different outcomes you will never see coming. I hope the magic of this series doesn't end.
As good as the books are, and they're very good indeed, it's Roy Dotrice's narration that makes the whole thing sing. As a comparison, the audiobook o..Show More »f Dune, another multi-threaded, multi-character, multi-dialect epic used several narrators sometimes and one narrator at other times. Sometimes the narrators were good, sometimes average and sometimes downright terrible.
Dotrice manages to do the heavy lifting and somehow carry the entire cast, from the major characters to the smallest one liner and give them all a voice and, using an array of British accents, makes them all consistent and recognisable.
Yes, sometimes the accent doesn't quite suit the character but such instances are rare enough to simply not matter.
It is hard to imagine how this audiobook could have been improved.
The story and narration are excellent, but is it too much to ask for the audio book to be constructed properly? The chapter breaks do not align with t..Show More »he actual chapters and the parts will end in the middle of a paragraph. Very sloppy and unprofessional. For a $50 audiobook I would expect more.
If you, like me, have been listening to the Song of Ice and Fire Series as read by Roy Dotrice, then odds are you've grown accustomed to not only the ..Show More »delivery, but the wide range of character voices that Dotrice handles so well. You've probably come to recognize some of your favorite characters just by the voice he uses to portray them. If so, you will find A Feast for Crows to be a rather jarring listen, at least initially.
First, a bit of history. When the audio release for this book in the series was first recorded in 2005, Roy Dotrice was not available, and the book was instead read by John Lee. Many fans were perturbed by this fact, and requested an edition read by the same actor as the rest of the series. After the HBO adaptation of Game of Thrones became popular, and the fifth book in the series had seen release, the books received renewed interest. Hoping to appease this new fanbase, Random House finally relented on giving the fans their long-requested wish. Thus, it was in early 2012, nearly 7 years after the initial release, that Roy Dotrice was brought into rerecord A Feast for Crows.
It would seem, however, that in that time Dotrice has forgotten which voices belong with which characters. For example, the characteristically obsequious tone of Petyr Baelish has been replaced with a rather out-of-place gruffness with a slight brogue. Moreover, pronunciations of names have changed significantly, generally moving from a read-as-written interpretation to treating the names as archaic written forms of modern names. Brienne's name has shifted from Brai-een to Bree-anne, and Petyr's name has shifted from Pit-tire to Pete-ur. While you will quickly grow accustomed to the changes, it nonetheless feels unnecessary; Dotrice should have been professional enough to review his previous performances to stay consistent with the latest edition.
As for the story itself, the spotlight of A Feast for Crows is placed rather differently than its predecessors. Entire story lines, characters, and regions of the world will go nearly untouched throughout this entire book. While this is made up for in the sequel (which is at least partially a parallel narrative), some readers may become bored with their favorite characters being thrown to the wayside. Still, the story lines this book chooses to follow are interesting, well-written, and add to the tapestry of interwoven plots that make the series so interesting to read.
Ultimately, if you've already read the first three books of a Song of Ice and Fire, you're unlikely to be deterred by A Feast for Crows. While Dotrice's performance is inconsistent with previous entries, the quality of that performance is no less admirable. And while the focus of the story differs from its predecessors, you will still likely find yourself involved with the happenings of Westeros.
After the first three in the series I would have definitely said yes but this is such a disappointment I may not finish the series unless there is a d..Show More »ifferent narrator. It is also worth noting that this is the weakest of the first 4 books - long passages explaining histories of minor houses (I assume they become important later) that just drag along.
While I disliked having to wait five years for A Dance with Dragons as much as anyone else, I wasn’t too disappointed with the experience of reading i..Show More »t. In fact, I was thrilled just to be immersed in George R.R. Martin’s gritty, living world again, and to revisit my favorite characters (Tyrion, Jon Snow, Daenyrs, and a few others) and locations. I couldn’t put down the audiobook (well, the device containing it).
The first three books were tough acts to follow, and Martin can be partially forgiven for falling a little short on books four and five. However, the chorus of frustration from fans isn’t without merit. Martin kind of painted himself into a corner back in 2004, when he realized that the book he was writing had gotten too long. Rather than edit it down to a more manageable size, he split it in two. A Feast for Crows wound up being an immense novel of in which lots of hitherto minor characters got placed into new intrigues, along with some new characters. Was there was a larger purpose to these minor adventures? Or had the author just gotten swallowed in his own world, convinced that what the reader really wanted on this bus tour through Westeros was more stops, with no roadside stand or historic marker not worth a visit? (Hey, it worked for Patrick Rothfuss.)
A Dance with Dragons doesn’t really resolve those questions, but at least we get the major characters back, and the things eventually start to pick up steam and head somewhere. Tyrion hitchhikes his way east by a few less-than-ideal arrangements. Jon Snow tries to do his duty while dealing with the conflicting demands of an impatient king. And Theon Greyjoy makes a return, in *very* changed circumstances. As always, the “living, breathing” world remains brilliantly vibrant and alive, its drama infecting everything that happens in the foreground. For example, there’s one sequence in which soldiers are sent on a dreadfully misplanned winter mission, not unlike Napoleon’s troops in Russia. While this sequence could have been shorter, the details of cold, starving, weary men were so vivid, I didn’t really care -- I was just along for the ride. And the chapters with Daenrys in Myreen illustrate the difficulties of ruling a “liberated” land in a way that seems not unfamiliar. By the time the dragons in the story finally come into their own, we’re feeling as ready for it as she is.
I agree with a few other reader complaints. Martin has slipped into the bad habit of repeating catchphrases (“words are wind”, “my name is Reek...”) and important pieces of information multiple times, from multiple angles, rather than trusting readers to see the connections themselves. The new characters he introduces aren’t terribly interesting, and there’s little tension (for now) over the possibility that our old favorites will die, as they have in the past. I wouldn’t have minded a little more exploration of strange and wondrous things (e.g. the ruins of Valyria).
On the audiobook experience, I had very mixed feelings. Overall, Roy Dotrice’s grandfatherly tones are a great fit for Martin’s writing, but, to my ears, he gets some voices horribly wrong. Young women sound like old hags or Monty Python members in drag. Too many knights sound like Long John Silver, and Tyrion could be a leprechaun. For the first hours, I was tempted to give up and get the print edition, but, luckily, my ears adapted. In general, I’m pretty tolerant of less-than-perfect readers for audiobooks -- your mileage may vary.
Yet, all that said, I remained hooked on the series, and even a flawed entry is one I can’t put down. Martin has tested us with two long novels of buildup, buildup, and more buildup, but I remain hopeful that the tour bus will be getting back on the highway and heading towards the big destinations that his fans signed on for.
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 withou..Show More »t 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.
Yes I would recommend it. If you've stuck with the story this far, then stick around for this part. Things are finally starting to pick up, as you se..Show More »e characters finally starting to make up their mind, and take action. I also felt that this audiobook was very good value for money (less than $1 per hour as compared to some others titles that are as much as $5 per hour).