Tag Archives: Roy Dotrice

Book Review: A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

30 Jul

It took me three months to listen to this audiobook. For context, it’s 39 disks long. A normal book is around 10, long books are 15. This was 39. I believe it was over 50 hours of audio. I had to get a librarian to change my due date twice because I’d run out of holds. It felt so good to finally finish this book!

Cover image via Goodreads

A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3) by George R.R. Martin

Other books by Martin reviewed on this blog:

A Game of Thrones (#1)
A Clash of Kings (#2)

Summary from Goodreads:

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, victim of the sorceress who holds him in her thrall. Young Robb still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. And as opposing forces manoeuver for the final showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost limits of civilization, accompanied by a horde of mythical Others—a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords.

This book really took off. I looked at my ratings of the first two books (4 and 3 stars) and I’m surprised because this one was such a winner and I don’t remember disliking the first two. Maybe I’m going nuts. I was swept away with the story in book three. A lot of my favorite moments from several seasons of the show ended up in this book and the clash of them all together was very enjoyable. Each character is killing it and I’m liking the pacing a lot. Overall, I can’t wait to read book four. I’ve just got to carve out the time.

Martin builds amazing characters. As before, Tyrion is a favorite and I adore how he’s evolved in this book. Sansa is starting to become more likable and Arya is starting to feel less whiney. Most importantly, I’m starting to like Jaime. This book shows Martin’s amazing ability to build characters and I’m loving where it’s going.

Tyrion is again my favorite. I love how he appears to be evil and mean but it’s clearly a result of how his sister and father have treated him his entire life. I think his relationship with Jaime really shows a lot about him and in this book in particular. Jaime’s loyalty is very divided between the woman he loves and his brother when the two of them are at each other’s throats for most of the book. I think the brothers’ bond will be explored more as this goes forward, more so than the show did. I also loved the development of Tyrion’s first wife that we don’t get in the show. I won’t spoil it here, but I felt it showed a lot about Jaime that he told Tyrion the truth.

I can’t say I’ve been in situations like many of the characters in the story and that’s part of what makes it such a wonderful escapist pastime. The way they react in situations makes me think ‘I’d never do that’ or ‘I can see where they’re coming from,’ but their situations are not at all familiar to me.

George RR Martin
Image via GeorgeRRMartin.com

Arya and the Hound’s time together was my favorite of the book. I enjoyed the relationship they developed and being inside Arya’s head and hearing how she felt about Sandor and how that changed was really fun for me. She hated him but relied on him. She wanted to kill him but also wanted him to stay alive. I liked how she dealt with those mixed emotions and I think she grew a lot because of it.

There wasn’t a part of this book I disliked. I think it was all amazingly done and I really look forward to the next one now that Martin has kicked it into high gear.

Roy Dotrice was an amazing narrator yet again. I’m going to miss his voice when we finally get to books he couldn’t narrate. He does an incredible job with the mix of characters and the delivery of certain lines with deep emotion. He’s so talented and deserves the recognition he’s gotten for his performances.

There was a lot of loss and revenge in this book. Loss mostly from death but also other ways. Jaime’s loss comes to mind. Sansa is dealing with a loss of freedom. Revenge from Theon and Tyrion are prominent and the way the Northmen and outlaws are rebelling plays a large role in the balance of power in the realm. Revenge is often dark but we see how it can be so sweet in some of these cases.

Writer’s Takeaway: You rarely get a book as long as this one and it doesn’t drag at all. There wasn’t a down moment in this book, it kept rocketing ahead and I loved it. Martin does a good job of building to high points before switching to another character. This is something I’m trying to work into my re-write on my book which also uses multiple points of view. It’s great to see how it can be done well.

A great job and a middle book with no lag! A full Five out of Five stars.

This book counts toward the 1300-1499 period (assuming it parallels the War of the Roses) for the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Review: A Storm of Swords | literaryelephant
A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin | Lighthearted Librarian’s Website
A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3) by George RR Martin | loudbookishtype

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Book Review: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martian (3/5)

16 May

I’m slowly buying into this trend. Slowly. I still haven’t seen the shows and I don’t think I’ll jump on the third book anytime soon. This isn’t my genre but the characters are great and that kind of makes up for it. Sorry for any big fans, you can’t please everyone!

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin (Book #2 in the A Song of Ice and Fire series)

Also reviewed on this blog: A Game of Thrones (Book #1 in the A Song of Ice and Fire series)

Summary from Goodreads:

Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over an age of enforced peace are dead…victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.

As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky—a comet the color of blood and flame—six factions struggle for control of a divided land. Eddard’s son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming courtiers who teem over King’s Landing. Robert’s two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers.

I read this book over a three-month period when I would have and lose the audiobook for it. I think that detracted from my enjoyment a lot. I would lose track of what was happening to characters, especially the more minor characters like Theon and Davos. I wished there were more about Dani because she was one of my favorite characters from the first book, but she didn’t have as big of a role in this book. I know she’ll come into play in a large fashion but it will be a while first.  Oh well. I found this book slower than the first and harder to enjoy because of it. Maybe it was my pace, but it was hard for me to get into it.

Martin’s characters are what I love most about this series. The women are smart and the men are cunning. I like the play of magic and strength for power. I think there are a few too many characters, though, and it would be easier if we didn’t have to follow so many plot lines to stay with the story. There was never a time I remember thinking ‘WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?’ about a character. They were all motivated well, even the ones you didn’t agree with (Theon).

Tyrion was my favorite character. We saw a softer side of him with Shay this book and I liked that, though he had to be even more cunning than before as Cerci tightens her grasp on the crown. Because my other favorite characters are the Starks, I feel like I should really dislike Tyrion, but he’s so well written and he has so many good one-liners that it’s hard to dislike him.

I related to Catelyn, Sansa, and Arya in different ways. I related to Catelyn’s loss of control. I’m at a point in my life when I’m in over my head and I don’t feel like there’s a lot I can control going on around me. Sansa’s fear of being her true self reminds me of high school when I (and I’m sure many others) felt like I had to play the part another friend (Cerci) wanted me to, even if I didn’t like it. And I related to Arya’s resilience. That was one thing that stood out to me in this story. No matter how much hardship was thrown at Arya, she always found a way to get through it and survive. She’s very admirable for that and I think anyone who’s had to tough out a bad situation can relate to her.

George RR Martin Image via GeorgeRRMartin.com

George RR Martin
Image via GeorgeRRMartin.com

I thought Dani visiting the ghosts was a great scene. It was great that her dragons went with her on the quest and she was so smart in how she approached each of the puzzles. Martin had great imagery in this scene and I was able to picture the complicated setting with clarity. It was a bit more magical than I’m used to, but it was really fun to see what happened.

I’m not a fan of war and battles so the battle at King’s Landing was a big dull for me. Luckily I was in the middle of a seven mile run so I toughed through it! It felt drawn out to me, reminding me of the Battle of Helms Deep in the Lord of the Rings. I felt that could have been faster, too. I’m not a war person.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Roy Dotrice, the same narrator from the first audiobook. I still stand that he’s my favorite narrator I’ve listened to. He does an amazing job with voices for the minor and major characters. I never get confused about who is talking. He works in the mannerisms of each character, something I rarely hear in audio and I greatly enjoyed. Him narrating could get me to listen to the third sooner than expected.

A lot of the characters in this book had to be self-reliant. Arya, in particular, can’t trust anyone around her and I think the same can be argued  for Sansa and all the contenders for the throne. I have a feeling this will come into play later in the series when everyone will have to trust each other and count on one another to succeed but that’s just my conjecture. We’ll see how it goes.

Writer’s Takeaway: The build-up on this one was rough. A lot of you have said the third one is great and totally worth it, but I’m dragging a bit with this series overall. I need some big event to take place and the battle at King’s Landing didn’t do that for me. It didn’t affect the characters I cared about very much and I’m reading for something new.

Well written, yet again, but not for me. Three out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Review: A Clash of Kings | The Literary Omnivore
A Clash of Kings: Book Two of A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones), George R. R, Martin (HarpurCollins, 1999){Random House Audio, Narrator: Roy Doltrice) | The Archaeologist’s Guide to the Galaxy.. by Thomas Evans