A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1
Written by: George R. R. Martin
Narrated by: Roy Dotrice
Length: 33 hrs and 50 mins
Series: Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1
Release Date: 12-09-03
Publisher: Random House Audio
After staring at the screen for quite a while I now realize that adequately describing such an epic work like the A Game of Thrones audiobook is no simple task. The temptation to compare it with other big titles in the fantasy genre is almost irresistible and yet doesn’t seem quite right. How could I possibly put it in the same category as The Lord of the Rings or The Wheel of Time series? They are all epic fantasy and still they are quite different. George R.R. Martin describes the world of Westeros trough the eyes of multiple believable characters which you start to root for from the beginning. This is a world of extremes and constantly opposing forces, a world where politics, backstabbing, war, adventure and love exist at the same time. How could I possibly do such a masterpiece justice?
Synopsis from the publisher: 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.
My review: The A Game of Thrones audiobook can’t be fairly compared with another fantasy book that I can think of. George R.R. Martin has somehow succeeded to create a saga of epic proportions while keeping the narrative on a small scale so we can build a unique relationship with every single character. This is where Martin shines – creating believable, not-perfect-at-all, sometimes even evil characters. But don’t be so hasty to judge them – new facts will often reveal events from their past that may change your mind and the course of events. Also I can’t think of any other author that disposes of his characters so lightly. Even the main characters aren’t safe from some horrible and/or painful death.
Even though it’s a long book you’ll find yourself plowing through it, wanting more, grabbing for the next installment in the series as soon as you finish this one which you can grab here: A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book One
About the narration: OK, this is where I had a problem with the A Game of Thrones audiobook. Lots of people seem to adore Roy Dotrice but I couldn’t make myself like his performance and found it distracted me from the story. In fact, at the beginning I had a hard time understanding some parts of what was said. The different voices for the characters made it even worse for me. I thought I’d eventually get used to it and I kind of did, but it’s still not a pleasant experience. This is just an opinion but I’d strongly advise you to listen to a sample before buying. All that aside, this is probably the best fantasy saga in the last 20 years and if you haven’t read it yet, you’re missing out.
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