A Dance with Dragons

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  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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By Jim "The Impatient" on 02-04-12

Where do Whores Go?

This is the fifth book in the series, if you have not read them do not start here. This is the best Fantasy series being written today, so go to book one and enjoy.

For those that have read the earlier ones, I placed this third in the series of what I liked. Book 3 was the best then book 1. This is a character driven series and has some of the best characters of any series written. The book starts with Tyrion who is my favorite of all characters of all books. Tyrion is as witty or more so in this book, unfortunately he is about the only main character who does anything and even his character does not seem to have a purpose. There is no plot to this book, it just a tie-up of what each character is thinking. With the exception of Tyrion and Reek, everything else is just Wind. The exploits of Tyrion and Reek make this book worth the credits and 49 hours of listening. Reek is kind of a new character, you have to read the book to find out what I mean.

Daenerys and Jon two good characters are featured in this, but they don't do anything until the very end. Samwell is sent away early in the book, so has no impact. Arya and Bran are in this fleetingly, but are interesting when they are. Asha Greyjoy has a couple of good chapters. Cersei has a good chapter toward the end. We get to know Ser Barristan Selmy a little more in this book. Penny is a new character that could be interesting. There is some here on Sellswords and Free Companies, but I found them mostly a distraction.

G.R.R. M. likes to remind us that words are wind and there is a lot of wind in this. A lot of talk about things that happened hundreds to thousands of years ago. There is a lot of talk about who is related to who, etc. Boring stuff I wish GM would quit forcing on to us.

About the narrator. This is the first book of the series that I have listened to. I understand that this was a hard one to read with the dozens of characters that are in it. But I believe it to be a crime to screw up, one of the main characters and the butchery that the narrator does to poor Daenerys is unforgivable. She is supposed to be a young beautiful queen. (Check out her looks in the HBO series, which if you have not watched you should) The narrator makes her sound like a granny from the Ozarks. There were times when I not only was confused on which character was talking, but I could not even tell what gender they were. I have listened to hundreds of audio books and this the worst butchery I have ever listened to. All of the characters sound like they are over 70, with most of the men and some of the women sounding like pirates, I keep expecting him to end the sentences with RRRRR.

With all that being said, Martin at his worst his better then most writers at there best, so you want this book. You will want to become a part of these characters lives and you will thanks to Martin.

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105 of 109 people found this review helpful


By J. Cano on 07-31-11

A tale of two publishers:

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.

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481 of 505 people found this review helpful


By Dianne Houston on 11-02-11

OH NO ROY!!!! NOT DENARIS!!!!!!!

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?

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411 of 435 people found this review helpful


By Anne Harris on 07-14-11

Voices off!

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?

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302 of 320 people found this review helpful


By MYB on 07-14-11

Daenerys and Mellasandre are ruined

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?

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246 of 263 people found this review helpful


By Ryan on 03-10-12

Enjoyable, but a lot of setup

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 it. 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.

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104 of 111 people found this review helpful

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