It took me nine months to get through all 47.5 hours of the audiobook. You can produce a child in that amount of time.
The majority of my friends have read the Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, whatever) books and we gather on a Monday evening to watch the new episodes (also a food-from-the-series feast at the end of each season, phenomenal). Speaking during an episode is strictly verboten, so I started reading the books to fill in the gaps in my knowledge. (The show is excellent, but there are a lot of characters and they tend to resemble each other.)
However, midway through the first book, the switching POVs, not my favourite device to begin with, had me thoroughly confused and I turned to the series of audiobooks read by Roy Dotrice, who does an admirable job of voicing each character differently. Much easier to follow.
George R.R. Martin does an excellent job crafting a realistic world and detailed characters. The different motivations of the characters – especially when you have already experienced the journey on the show – are particularly interesting.
He does rather go on a bit, though.
A Storm of Swords starts slowly and sets the scene for the coming events meticulously.
At some points, I became frustrated with GRRM’s detailed descriptions and just wanted some action to happen. A couple of times, I almost missed the action because I had been lulled by Dotrice’s voice and a quarter-hour of detailed description.
Below is a selection of status updates from my Goodreads, which I feel depict my frustration with GRRM and his wordiness:
15% (5 months in): “Goodness me does this book take some reading.”
35% (7 months in): “The more I read, the more I appreciate the TV show…shorter and without fairly extraneous yet lovingly (and long-windedly) detailed subplots.”
42% (8 months in): “Was George RR Martin paid by the word?”
At about the 30 hour mark of this third book, the events of the novel started to dovetail and the pace of the plot and frequency of action really picked up and the book became an easier
read listen. Until that point, I was hanging in with the story to try and work out the parts of the television series I had not understood. Some parts were incredibly interesting – a lot of the world politics had gone over my head and I had never understood what was going on with Daenarys – but some parts I wished I could fast-forward through.
Overall, it is a great book and a terrific fantasy – but it wasn’t always an enjoyable book. GRRM: please hire a more brutal editor.