A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1 (Unabridged)
by George R.R. Martin
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In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow. At the center of the conflict, the Starks of Winterfell hold the key: a reluctant Lord Eddard is summoned to serve as the king's new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder both family and kingdom. In this land of extremes, plots and counterplots, soldiers and sorcerers, each side fights to win the deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.
This is a great book, a really good read. The narrator does a good job, but some parts would sound much better if a woman read it.
Fantastic book, okay reader
I have listened to dozens of epic texts via audiobook. This is, undoubtedly, one of my favorite books. I love the gritty and dystopian nature of Martin's characters. I love the realistic discussion of sex and real families. This is epic fantasy for adults, and despite my love and devotion to Tolkien's masterpieces, in many way this surpasses even that.
However, I feel less enthusiastic about the reader. He is not bad, but it takes real skill and talent for a reader of one sex to expertly speak in the voice of someone of the opposite sex, and the reader here does not pull it off as well as I would like. The reader only does an adequate job of distinguishing voices between characters, but this is no different than what you would have if you sat down and read the book for yourself. I am very picky about my readers, and have been spoiled by some very good ones.
The book itself is a 5 star, the reader is a 3 star.
Difficult to listen to
As others have said, the reader's per-character voices are less than ideal, particularly for children and women. His pronunciation of many of the proper nouns within the book is also jarring, and not what I would have expected for a given spelling.
The chapter divisions are completely arbitrary with respect to content, and seem to be based entirely on time. Of the four parts (each around 250MB -- the whole book is about 1GB of audio), only two have chapters (42 and 40, respectively); the others have one 8.5 hour section. The last sentence of each "chapter" is repeated at the beginning of the next one, which is distracting when listened to sequentially.
Dramatically this gets 4 stars, but the technical problems are a huge detractor. For $44, I really feel let down.