I love the "Song of Ice and Fire" series so much that I have read the books three times and now have listened to the audio books as well. Martin is very skilled at drawing you into the story; he moves the plot(s) along at varying paces, sometimes slow, even plodding and sometimes he hits you over the head with a war hammer. At it's heart, the story is one of schemes within schemes, Machiavellian intrigues, lust, murder, greed, envy, deception, betrayal and all the other good human virtues :-). The fantastical elements within the story don't overwhelm; they merely add another flavor. Although as the plots of the first books unfold, the power of magic is growing, as supernatural events seem to be increasing in power and frequency. This will be even more apparent in the third book, "A Storm of Swords". Roy Dotrice is amazing as the reader for the audiobook. You may know him as Mozart's father in the Movie "Amadeus". Dotrice does a brilliant job of capturing the personalities of old crones, young children, gruff knights, pitiable beggars, and a host of others. Nothing beats a long drive and these audiobooks to keep you company. What am I saying, I listen to them at home as well because I don't want the story to end. I can't wait for the next audiobook, only so I can enter the world again while I wait for "A Feast for Crows" to get published. If you enjoy Tolkien, Robert Jordan, or other epic fantasy series, you will fall in love with this. It's simply the best series being written today, and deserves a place in the short list of great epic fantasy tales.
As a story, this is wonderful. I love and love to hate the characters.
The narrator cannot do voices..every man sounds like a old geezer and the women never sound like women....
If the story was not so wonderful, I would not tolerate these books. The narrator cannot remember how to pronounce a name....the same characters get a different name in (well at least in the way it is pronounced) in each book. That is really sad.
Martin's series is grand and ambitious in its scope, and that is simultaneously its blessing and its curse. The writing is strong, but the pace of the story is at once somehow quick, drawing the ear to the next page, and painfully slow. His use of different perspectives to tell the story is refreshing, but there are certain characters that it seems should be added to that list who remain absent, while some characters can grow simply tiresome at times. Nonetheless, if you're here for more of what you got in "A Game of Thrones", you'll find plenty.
That being said, Dotrice's narration is, to say the least, a mixed bag. Some characters, mainly the older male characters, are given excellent voices. Similarly, the voice he uses to narrate the general text itself is deliberate and clear. That being said, the list of characters who are nearly destroyed by his flamboyant voicing is long and unfortunate. He miserably fails at voicing literally every female character in the book, especially Brienne of Tarth and Mellisandre, and he manages to butcher most of the younger characters, including Theon Greyjoy and Bran Stark. His most distracting and consistent failures come with two of the most important characters, Tyrion Lannister (who is given to sound like a shamefully caricatured leprechaun) and Lord Varys, whose sloppy annunciation and unmstakeable lisp are a shame to Mr. Dotrice and an absolute failure to grasp the character. Also worth mention are his terrible performances as Hodor the stableboy and Yoren the black brother. With Hodor the failure is less distracting, since he only says one word anyway, but Yoren is consistently annoying and hard on the ear in every scene.
Nonetheless, the writing is strong enough that a careful listener can work around the narration. I would recommend this recording of this book, but be aware of what you're getting yourself into beforehand.
More important, I think, are the books I would not compare it to. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Heinlein's works and essentially all other rote fantasy material is not fundamentally comparable. Often, the books read more like a novelized, fictionalized history of Scotland or England, and that's a compliment. Martin understands the kind of society he's mimicking, and as such he manages to write what is mostly a political novel with fantasy elements, rather than a fantasy novel with politics.
I will, but *only* because his is the only available narration of these books. Otherwise, I would not be caught dead listening to another of his performances.
Keep reading the series.
George R. R. Martin continues his epic tale filled with greed, passion, intrigue, and war. If you are a veteran of A Game Of Thrones then you'll have learned to expect the unexpected; surprising plot twists and turns and a sort of literary brutality with the fates of his characters put Martin well above the fluff-writing fantasy authors infesting bookshelves today. You'll go through the full gamut of emotions before you're done and, tired and weary, you'll be left wanting more. The narration by Roy Dutrice is phenomenal--his myriad voices and accents and seasoned, gruff voice is perfect for Martin's grim, realistic writing. Now, there are many people who don't like Martin's penchant for making the "good" characters suffer for their ignorance and lack of ruthlessness. There are many people who don't like Martin's realistic take on villians and how bad people with lots of power can do really bad things. There are many people who don't like seeing the characters that they've invested their emotions in get killed or have worse happen to them (yes, worse.) If you are one of these people. then go read something else that will fill your hearts with kittens and butterflies and chocolate chip ice cream. To everyone else: Strap yourselves down because you're in for one heck of a ride.
This was a tough one for me, in spite of the valiant efforts of Roy Dotrice. After the excitement and intensity of the first book, I figured there was enough momentum to propel the entire series - but this one took a very different direction. Game of Thrones was a very unpredictable, genre-bending fantasy/noire that threw in every curveball it could, then Martin decided it would be fun to watch everybody in Westeros slow wayyyy down and play a game of Settlers of Catan. You would think 7+ major parties vying for the throne would be exciting to watch. . . but I assure you no. Let's see - Tyrion traded 6 armor and 2 sheep for wildfire. Theon rolled the dice, then traded 3 iron for 1 rusty crown. This really is how the book plays out - except that it adds about 100 new characters, only 3 of which maybe matter. It's also hard to analyze just 1 book in the series, as I understand that we're building toward something - maybe in the bigger picture of the series it's not as big a deal... but slogging through these 1,000+ pages (37 hours) felt like pushing a safe across a sandbar, so my answer as to whether I will continue the series will have to be "Eventually."
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
I am writing this review based on the first four books of this series overall.
There is a LOT going for these books, good character development of many strong, interesting characters (every one with their own fortes and flaws), a superior writing style with interesting vocabulary and a lack of clich??s and many of the other faults found in most fantasy novels. The majority of the chapters are good, a few chapters (at least one per book, excepting book four) are among the best to be found in the genre. Yet I did not come away pleased. The story moves from one complication to another, one interesting character to another (some of the characters have a half-dozen or more names/personae), but there is little resolution. Some sub-plots come to an end, but there is not a resolving. The story seems to have become more a fantasy soap opera than a novel; a well written and compelling soap opera, but a soap opera never the less. The only technical flaws that annoyed me were a few minor anachronisms and some grating crows and half-wits. The narrator for the first three books had VERY strong character voices (which might be too much for many). The narrator of the forth book erred in the other direction (in a book with so many characters character vocal differences can be a good thing). Somewhere in between would be nicer. This was much more of a saga than an epic, more good writing than literature, more a series then a story. I will not be listening to any more unless I hear that they finally and successfully resolve. The first book was the best of the four, with the next two being nearly as good, the fourth was much weaker.
While I have enjoyed the series immensely, I am periodically put off by Roy Dotrice's portrayals of some of the characters. He does many things so well including consistent and distinct voices for each character and keeping Tyrion and The King slayers voices different but similar (they are brothers). But often he portrays young people and women with voices that sound so unrealistic that I find it disturbing and distracting. Teenagers are often made to sound much older and most older characters sound toothless. I am about to try the fourth book in the series and hope that the narrator, who did Pillars of the Earth, is an improvement, though I suspect from the preview that some of the subtle tones of Dotrice will be sacrificed for more of a "reading" than a portrayal. Stay tuned.
Great story but the narration is really distracting. The narrator makes everyone sound like a dim-witted toothless old man, even the women. I listened less and less and ended up just reading the book since the audio took so much away from my enjoyment of this excellent read.
I am not as enchanted by this series (I'm about to finish book 2) as most people seem to be. It's good. The characters are interesting, bad guys are very bad and good guys VERY good with a couple of gray people to add spice to the mix. If you are looking for a long, complex series to fill the hours for quite a while, this is a fine choice. But "Lord of the Rings" it is not, nor even "The Wheel of Time." The whole thing is really about war and power and skulduggery. Which, if you like that, is fine. I am more into character development and interaction than endless power plays with the expected back-stabbing and chicanery. And eating. I am a writer too and I know filler when I read it. Every meal is described in absurd detail. Spicing, sauces, even cooking methods. Geez, enough with the food already. It goes on for literally hours in each book. I am not that interested in the quality of their cuisine and if I wanted to watch the cooking channel, I would do that!
It's readable. It has fine narration. There's a lot of action and interesting situations. I will eventually listen to the whole series I am sure, but I'm not in a big hurry to know how it turns out because I simply don't care enough, nor have I gotten sufficiently attached to any character or characters to become deeply involved. And oh yeah, Mr. Martin has a nasty habit of killing off anyone I really like. This is not a cheery tale and the good guys frequently lose. Kind of grim actually. I stick with my initial assessment. Good. Not great.
Epic, intrigue, adventure
The author does a great job of getting you emotionally attached to the characters.
Inconsistent voices for characters. Everyone sounds like an 80 year old man.
Great book and story. The Roy Avers narration is much better.