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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.
112 of 116 people found this review helpful
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.
491 of 517 people found this review helpful