My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Before I get into the story, let me first address the narration of this book by Roy Dotrice. If you only listen to this book, then I expect that you’ll feel that Mr. Dotrice does a wonderful job. Unfortunately, if you listen to the books subsequently, you may not agree.
The main problem is that Dotrice changed the voices of several characters. He also changed the pronunciation of several characters’ names. At first, it was jarring, but after a few hours, I had forgotten all about it.
Now onto the writing. As usual, George R.R. Martin proves that he is excellent at writing morally grey characters and intricately twisted plots. He’s very good at bringing characters to life and making you care about them, whether you love them or hate them.
However, the main reason that I can’t give this book 5 stars is because, despite its length, Martin ignored several characters that are critical to the series’ overarching plot, including Daenerys, Stannis, Jon Snow, Bran, and Tyrion.
That, to me, is a big deal, because as a result the plot didn’t really move forward all that much. Yes, some minor events occurred and a number of sub plots were introduced, but the main plot was not addressed at all.
Still, this was a very good novel in its own right. There wasn’t a lot of action to speak of, but there was still a lot of excellent drama and character development. Plus, the characters that it did focus on are some of my favorites.
If you liked the first three books, you’ll definitely still like this one, but I’m hoping for a little more in the fifth. I think we all know roughly how the series has to end; I just hope Martin doesn’t drag it out too much.