A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

A Feast for Crows

Alternate covers can be found here.With A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth volume of the landmark series that has redefined imaginative fiction and stands as a modern masterpiece in the making.After centuries of bitter strife, the seven powers dividing the land have beaten one another into an uneasy truce. But it's not long before the survivors, out...

Title:A Feast for Crows
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:055358202X
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:1061 pages

A Feast for Crows Reviews

  • Kelly

    Dear George,

    How do you do this lovely May morning? I'm terribly sorry to bother you, but I really did think that I must in good conscience warn you of this problem I have. You see, I know many people who read these books and absolutely adore them. Legions of fans. I'm sure you know that. Really, the books are quite high quality and quite enjoyable and whatever you need to do to get them to stay at that quality, please do it.

    ... within reason. It has come to our (the masses') attention that perha

    Dear George,

    How do you do this lovely May morning? I'm terribly sorry to bother you, but I really did think that I must in good conscience warn you of this problem I have. You see, I know many people who read these books and absolutely adore them. Legions of fans. I'm sure you know that. Really, the books are quite high quality and quite enjoyable and whatever you need to do to get them to stay at that quality, please do it.

    ... within reason. It has come to our (the masses') attention that perhaps waiting three to four years between books is a bit excessive. Don't you think so?

    Now, more importantly than the principle of the thing... I've noticed some very unhealthy side effects from these gaps in between the books. Namely, some severe mental complexes that are resulting in a personal hostility towards you. I thought I had an obligation to warn you that I have heard of several imaginative plots that many of my fellow readers have dreamed up to get you to finish these books. All of them involve house arrest, most of them involve chaining you to your computer, a few involve terribly cruel things with assorted war instruments like those you brutally describe in your novels. I've heard a few terribly distressing things along the lines of, "shoving a broadsword up his ass." I'm sure you can imagine the rest.

    Now while I don't think that people would employ such plans now, I do notice that these mental complexes seem to get worse over time. So... who knows in the future?

    Just thought you should know!

    So, toodle pip, hope that put you in the mood for writing. (These people apparently think that such things will.)

    A sincere fan.

  • Justin

    I'm not quite sure what happened, here.

    As others have mentioned, Martin slows the pace of the story down considerably in this fourth installment of A Song of Ice and Fire, ostensibly writing this as the first half of a two-book volume, with a 3-5 year production time on each. As such, the book is by necessity filled with unresolved storylines, AWOL main characters, and lengthy travelogues where nothing of importance happens. Of course, this draws the inevitable comparisons to another famous fant

    I'm not quite sure what happened, here.

    As others have mentioned, Martin slows the pace of the story down considerably in this fourth installment of A Song of Ice and Fire, ostensibly writing this as the first half of a two-book volume, with a 3-5 year production time on each. As such, the book is by necessity filled with unresolved storylines, AWOL main characters, and lengthy travelogues where nothing of importance happens. Of course, this draws the inevitable comparisons to another famous fantasy series that started strong and became a sluggish, irritating morass (something to do with wheels and time, as I recall).

    The pace isn't really the problem, here, though, as the story still stands on its own two legs. The problem is the writing.

    Though the first three books were extraordinarily well-written as a whole, one could never classify Martin's prose as elegant. In this book, he takes three steps backward for some reason, and sounds almost amateurish in some chapters. The book is filled with phrases and sentences that are awkward, clichéd, and sometimes downright hackneyed. Martin's prose may typically be spare and to the point, but I never audibly groaned while reading the first three books.

    One of the biggest problems with this is Martin's sudden inclusion of colloquialisms that, so far as I can tell, never existed in the books before this one. Coz's, nuncles, and valonqars abound, even though we've never read any character use these turns of phrase before, and be prepared to hear "groats" referenced multiple times in a single chapter. This doesn't only present a continuity problem, for those of us wondering why these dialect oddities are so suddenly commonplace... Martin seems to have run out of patience for phrasing things differently, so the exact same idiom often gets used ad nauseum. I was weary of these invented clichés before I even truly understood what they meant.

    By now, fans of the series thus far are used to the disturbing ubiquity of rape in Martin's world, but even that loses what little subtlety it had in this book, with at least two characters being described as "needing a hard raping" (another example of redundancy in Martin's writing... did that expression really need to be used twice in one book?). The consensual sexuality devolves in this book, as well; Martin uses strange fixations and blunt-force descriptions (the comparison of female private parts to a "swamp" was the high point for me, as it were) which make them seem almost bizarre, and therefore a lot more gratuitous than they were in the first three books.

    I gave it two stars instead of one because the standout elements of this series are still evident in A Feast For Crows, despite Martin's apparent attempt to sabotage them with clumsy writing. The characters are multidimensional, unpredictable, and well-developed, and the overarching story is fascinating enough to keep me turning pages. However, I am genuinely concerned about the direction of this series, which has heretofore been my favorite fantasy series and often recommended to friends. I don't know what's going on with Martin's writing, but I truly hope the next book returns to the caliber of the first three. I would hate to have to do with this series what I do with Jordan's: recommend that people stop at Book 3 and pretend it's an open-ended trilogy. I'd much rather dismiss this one as "the mediocre volume" and go back to enjoying the series. Here's hoping.

  • j

    A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. (A highborn maid of thre

    A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. (A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair?) A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair.

    A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair? A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair -- A highborn

    with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair.

    A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and

    hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair.

    A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair!

  • Matt

    The context here is everything.

    began with the publication of

    in 1996.

    introduced us to the land of Westeros, a continent the size of South America but suspiciously similar to medieval England. We followed a handful of characters representing various factions of the Seven Kingdoms, squabbling for the right to sit upon the Iron Throne. Its grittiness, tactility, fully-realized characters, and high stakes (a major character loses a head) gave it a c

    The context here is everything.

    began with the publication of

    in 1996.

    introduced us to the land of Westeros, a continent the size of South America but suspiciously similar to medieval England. We followed a handful of characters representing various factions of the Seven Kingdoms, squabbling for the right to sit upon the Iron Throne. Its grittiness, tactility, fully-realized characters, and high stakes (a major character loses a head) gave it a cult following.

    Two years after

    ,

    was published. It told the story of “the War of the Five Kings.” Though it started slowly, it built to a fine ending, which included the shocking loss of Winterfell (home to many of our main characters) and the epic Battle of the Blackwater. A phenomenon had started.

    Like clockwork, the third novel in the cycle,

    came two years after

    . It was the biggest book so far, and easily the best. It featured all the hallmarks we’d come to expect from author George R.R. Martin – swordfights, detailed descriptions of food, casual misogyny, laughably crude sex scenes, shocking twists, major character deaths, and a humdinger of a cliffhanger – but those elements were heightened. There are set pieces in

    that are simply classic (see, e.g., “the Red Wedding”).

    At the end of

    , the fate of several major characters – beloved characters – dangled in the wind. Readers thirsted for the next installment. They began their wait.

    And then crickets.

    Nothing for five years.

    After five years, we were given the present installment:

    . By this time, it was nearly impossible for any book to live up to the expectations of

    . On this level, at least,

    did not disappoint. It certainly met the expectation that it could not meet expectations.

    As the old saying goes, the only thing worse than a bad meal is a small bad meal.

    Not only did

    fail to meet the challenge of

    , it was over too quickly. When readers got to the last page, they were left to wonder,

    . Martin, you see, had allowed the manuscript for

    to get so long, he decided to cut the thing in half. As he explained in a now-infamous postscript, Martin decided to split the book geographically, rather than chronologically. That meant that many of the best characters did not appear; none of the cliffhangers from

    were resolved; and we were left to follow the dubious quests of various secondary personages. To make matters worse, Martin tentatively promised the next volume,

    , would be published the next year.

    That postscript was written in 2005.

    Six years later,

    was finally released.

    Thus, it is a fortuitous time to review

    . It is a much-maligned book, buffeted by two competing elements: the long wait before the book was published, and the longer wait after. In other words, the book has suffered critically because it took so long to come out and did not satisfy the pent-up demand. It also suffered because it did nothing to alleviate the long wait for

    .

    Almost all agree that

    is the weakest volume in

    . Beyond that, opinions are split. Some people hate it with the light of a thousand suns. Some people love it like a pug dressed in a tuxedo. Others acknowledge its weakness while admitting that a subpar steak is still a steak.

    The length of time it takes Martin to churn out his opuses creates some high passion amongst his fans. That passion, combined with the internet and thousands of basements belonging to thousands of moms has created a great deal of hyperbolic ire directed towards Martin. While this criticism is a minority report, it is loud, and has colored the merits of

    .

    I am immune to this misplaced anger. I am a latecomer to Martin’s work; accordingly, when I started reading

    , four books had already been published, with a confirmed release date for the fifth. I’ve never suffered the long withdrawals between books that the early adopters have had to overcome.

    Due to this tardiness, I feel like I can judge

    based on its literary qualities, rather than its late arrival onto the

    firmament. Unfortunately, the literary qualities of

    are in short supply.

    Most of

    ’ problems stem from Martin’s decision to divide the story by geography, and focus mainly on the action in Westeros that takes place south of the Wall. That means that the dwarf, Tyrion Lannister, Martin’s greatest creation, is missing. So are Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. Not only are you losing fantastic, multidimensional characters with whom we’ve traveled for hundreds and thousands of pages, you lose the heart of the story. As far as I can tell (and I’m sure I’ll be wrong), Martin’s endgame seems to point towards two events: the struggle at the Wall against the onslaught of the walking dead (the song of Ice); and Daenerys’ struggle to reclaim the Iron Throne with the help of her dragons (the song of Fire). Neither of those crucial points get any play in

    . Instead, it’s 700 pages of B-side.

    The viewpoint characters in

    (Martin’s story is told in the third-person limited, with chapters that alternate points-of-view among various characters) are mostly new to the spotlight. Jaime Lannister, Samwell Tarly, Arya Stark and Sansa Stark are the only returning viewpoint characters. The other viewpoints go to Queen Cersei, Aeron, Asha, and Victarion Greyjoy, Areo Hotah, Brienne of Tarth, Aerys Oakheart, and Arianne Martell.

    Some of these characters are brand new. Some have been barely mentioned. Most of them are confusingly named (it gets a bit tough keeping Arya, Areo, Aeron, Aerys and Arianne apart, at least for me; unfortunately, I’m not able to devote my entire life to these books). With some exceptions, their stories do not rise to the level of interest or intensity as the plotlines of Martin’s earlier books.

    The bulk of this book, nearly a quarter of the pages, belongs to Cersei. Given space to develop her character, Martin is his usual strong self. Earlier in the series, Cersei was a terrifying, enigmatic peripheral character. In

    , she showed her smarts, and her cruelty, by getting the drop on Eddard Stark (admittedly not the sharpest tool in the shed). After the death of her son, King Joffrey, in

    , Cersei’s transformation began. She became more guarded, paranoid, and megalomaniacal. Her descent into madness is marked by her growing certainty that all her decisions are correct. The most interesting aspect of

    is Cersei’s long fall contrasted with the rise of a fanatical religious movement called the Faith.

    Cersei is also beneficiary of one of Martin's weird peripheral-characters, the the fallen maester Lord Qyburn. Like Dr. Frankenstein, Qyburn toils away in the dungeons, doing odd experiments on living subjects, the result of which, it is obvious to see, will be half-human, half-monster. (Unfortuntately, Cersei's chapters are disadvantaged by a subplot concerning Westeros' outstanding loans to the Bank of Braavos. All the talk of high finance and trade federations harkened uncomfortably to another famous fantasy/sci-fi epic that lost its way).

    Cersei’s brother/lover, Jaime, has the second most page-time. His evolution from villain to hero takes a big leap forward, as we see him go from murderous sister-humper to a canny leader pushing back against the excesses of King’s Landing. With Jaime’s chapters, Martin is able to tie up a few loose ends still dangling after the War of the Five Kings (for example, the dragging siege at Riverrun is finally concluded).

    The balance of

    is told in scattershot style through the ten remaining viewpoint characters.

    We barely hear from Sansa, which is fine with me. Still, it is nice to see that she is developing at least a semblance of wit. I have a major problem with her character, mainly because Martin portrays Sansa as a real child; that is, as someone who is uninteresting and dumb. The problem with kids as characters is that kids are inherently boring. Kids aren’t clever, no matter what I see posted on Facebook. Only in a book or movie is a kid who can’t tie his shoes crafty enough to turn his house into a living version of

    to foil a pair of robbers. So far, Sansa is realistic in the sense that she is dull, frightened, mistake-prone, and hollow. This also means she is a weak protagonist. In

    , despite a limited appearance, she finally starts to learn some of the finer points of deception.

    Arya Stark is a more traditional fictional child. Despite her tender years, she performs great heroic feats. Her ever-growing darkness, however, makes her a joy to follow (I wouldn’t be surprised if, at the end of

    , we counted her among the bad guys). In

    , Arya is exiled to Braavos. She doesn’t do much of anything, and her chapters seem meant only to explore the islands of Braavos. This would’ve been fine if Braavos was interesting. Instead, it’s just Venice, right down to the swaggering, arrogant, hand-talking men-folk.

    Three characters, Areo, Arienne and Aerys, serve to give us entrée into Dorne. The set up here – the machinations of Dorne against King’s Landing – is obviously important. However, these chapters are rushed (and the Aerys chapters are so short and abrupt I have a hard time understanding their inclusion). The same goes for the chapters with the three Ironborn characters: Aeron, Asha, and Victarion. In perfunctory style, they are moved like chess pieces, put in place for further development down the road.

    The chapters following Brienne are like walking on a treadmill. She’s given a lot of space to do things, but she never gets anywhere. Martin has her crisscrossing the ruins of a war-torn Westeros, searching for Sansa Stark. Of course, we know exactly where Sansa is; therefore, we know that Brienne is never going to find her. Also, for all her abilities, she is portrayed as a slow-thinker, a female Forrest Gump who’s handy with a sword. Even if we didn't know where Sansa was hiding, we’d have a pretty good idea that Brienne’s plan to find her would fail (it literally consists of her wandering around, asking where Sansa has gone).

    These are structural problems. And forgivable, as long as the book’s quality had been consistent. It’s not. This is a poorly written book by Martin’s standards. His descriptions seem tired. His writer’s tics are more pronounced. The dialogue, which had been whip-smart and eminently quotable, is execrable. It is flat, repetitive (Jaime’s “I love you too, sweet sister” is repeated on a loop), and filled with odd, obtrusive, never-before-used idioms. For some reason, the characters start referring to their uncles as nuncles, even though uncle had served just fine before. In one chapter, the insult “stoatish” is used two or three times (as far as I can tell, it means weasel-like) and then dropped like a bag of flaming poo.

    Despite taking five years to write,

    feels like a first draft. There are brief glimmers displaying Martin’s mastery of both his world and his writing. For instance, even though Brienne’s dead-end quest is inert as a narrative, Martin’s evocation of a war-weary Westeros is captivating, with its fresh graves, burnt-out homes, and outlaw-infested roads.

    Subpar writing can be saved by a propulsive plot or a great set piece. As I noted before, the plot grinds forward. Moreover,

    exciting happens. Swordplay is kept to a minimum. There isn’t a battle to be found (in a way, Martin’s exhausted effort mirrors the tiredness of war-blasted Westeros). With the exception of

    , I try not to use the word “boring” in my reviews. Here, though, things get awfully close to the b-word.

    To be sure, there are a few saving graces. The first is the sex scenes. They are just awful, and bound to put a smile on your face. The high/lowlight is a lesbian sex scene between Cersei and Lady Taena that involves an unfortunate comparison of a women’s nether regions to a swamp. It had me laughing my ass off.

    Martin is also able to add a few twists at the end, including a cliffhanger that leaves one character dangling by the neck. Here, unlike in

    , a strong ending isn’t enough to save the rest of the book. To the contrary, Martin should take lessons from M. Night Shyamalan: you can’t rely so much on 11th hour shocks or uncertain character fates.

    At some point,

    will be finished. Either Martin will complete the saga, or it will linger forever as a partially-completed near-great thing. When that time comes, it is very likely that the esteem for

    will rise. It’s faults will be less glaring; its virtues will seem more virtuous.

    Right now, though, I just want to move on to

    and pretend

    wasn’t half as bad as I know it was.

  • mark monday

    silly readers. i'm not sure i've ever read such a collection of resentful reviews for one book. one reviewer just decided to repeat the same phrase over and over and over again (sorry Joel, had to say it). another decided to note that "...kids are inherently boring. Kids aren’t clever..." er, wtf?

    sigh. i suppose i can understand the backlash. Martin took a long-assed time to

    silly readers. i'm not sure i've ever read such a collection of resentful reviews for one book. one reviewer just decided to repeat the same phrase over and over and over again (sorry Joel, had to say it). another decided to note that "...kids are inherently boring. Kids aren’t clever..." er, wtf?

    sigh. i suppose i can understand the backlash. Martin took a long-assed time to put this out into the world and then - WHAT THE HELL - reader favorites Tyrion & Jon Snow & Daenerys have dropped off of this book's radar. but i am also perplexed - despite the loss of these wonderful creations, this is an excellent and challenging novel. come on readers, grow a pair!

    personally, i savored this book from beginning to end. the intricate plot, the propulsive narrative, the intelligent world-building, and most importantly the depth of characterization that were all hallmarks of prior volumes are still in place and undiminished in this installment. one of the things that is often overlooked about Martin is that he is a brilliant writer of quality prose. his descriptions are not just lavish, they are often quite beautiful. he has an expert grasp of language; the man knows how to create imagery that is by turns stark, subtly threatening, strangely enchanting, morbid, nostalgic, and ambiguous. the only reason the novel does not earn a top rating from me (but really, who cares anyway) is because of an unfortunately heavy reliance on repetition - mainly of key phrases and dream imagery. still, this novel should stand tall as an excellent continuation of this amazing series.

    first and foremost, A Feast for Crows is

    . because this is set in a medieval land that has very little wish fulfillment in terms of rectifying gender imbalance, it is fated by its own nature to be an unsettling and unfufilling narrative.

    CONSTANT SPOILERS FOLLOW

    . Cersei Lannister is this series' chief villain and so it was with much anticipation that i approached her POV chapters. they did not disappoint. quite unlike the POV chapters from her formerly villainous twin Jaime, there is not much redemption coming Cersei's way.

    , as the saying goes. she remains cold, grasping, machiavellian, murderous, and extremely petty. she is also incredibly entertaining: a villain in the Grand Old Style, full of swallowed rage and sweetly-uttered put-downs and viciously cruel schemes. she takes to drink and she lets a fellow viper into her bed (which also allows Martin to indulge in an enjoyably laugh out-loud lesbionic interlude). she makes a classic mistake in allowing fanatics to arm themselves. in the end, she literally outsmarts herself, and is the victim of her own foul trap. best of all, she is going crazy! her dreams haunt her, dreams of her death and the deaths of her children. much of her villainous nature is explained by these dreams...what mother wouldn't stop at anything to protect her children? and so Cersei doesn't stop at anything.

    but what i mainly took away from her chapters were two important lessons that i learned, oh, years ago, probably in my various college Gender Studies classes. first: a woman in power within a patriarchal structure is a woman in constant battle with her peers. she will not receive the automatic respect granted to men; she will have to "earn it", whatever that even means. she will be constantly reminded that her job is actually to marry and to bear children, and that her position of authority is somehow unnatural, against the natural order of things. i despised Cersei, but i also despised those around her who did not give her the automatic respect a man would have in her position. i appreciate that Martin made this inequity crystal clear: he is against Cersei (of course he is - she's the villain) but he also gives the challenges she faces in her new position a rather timeless quality. gender inequity

    timeless.

    and the second lesson: a woman who gains power within a patriarchal system by mirroring the gender essentialism that supports that system has, sadly, sublimated that structure as natural and right - and will therefore enact that chauvinism. Women's Studies 101, folks. Cersei does not "challenge gender imbalance" - she supports it. her interior monologues are full of the same bullshit as any sexist dumbass. she despises "weakness" in men. she condemns "slutty" behavior while indulging in it herself. she uses classic chauvinistic tactics to bring down a rival and even-more-classic male brutality to destroy men and women alike. as i mentioned...she's a fuckin bitch! but her character is a fascinating one to contemplate.

    and

    . i suppose the chapters set in Dorne could contribute to many readers' disengagement with this novel. oh, whatever. i love Dorne! Dorne is the ugly stepchild of Westeros: matrilineal and distantly threatening, with a great big chip on its shoulder. but what a place it is: aggressive and volatile, sure, but also a land where women are automatically given the same respect as men, where a princess is the natural heir to the throne, where bastards are not automatically disrespected. the brief glimpses of the Sand Snakes, despite their inability to start the war they craved, were compelling in how differentiated they were in their various proposals to begin battle. and i also appreciated how fallible Arianne Martell turned out to be: a girl unused to schemes but still scheming away, a seductress who fell in love, a woman loyal to her friends and disinterested in cruelty, an heiress and misguided leader-to-be, one whose time in the limelight approaches.

    and

    . sometimes a girl has to literally convince herself that she is someone else, simply to survive. sometimes a girl has to forget the parts of her that make her

    , in order to achieve her goals. of course in one case, this is a girl who has lived her life as a pathos-ridden pawn. in the other case, we have a girl who is slowly losing her humanity as she becomes a kind of living weapon. eh, so what? they both have my full support. go Sansa & Arya, go! survive this series, you can do it!

    . and sometimes a woman fails. to accomplish her goals, to protect her loved ones, to save her children. i imagine that some women can get past this and can go on to define themselves anew. and other women cannot, or do not. they swallow their bitterness but do not forget: it becomes their fuel, their purpose for being. it can turn a heart to stone. and, um, it probably doesn't help having your throat slashed at your brother's wedding and then being revived as a monstrous quasi-zombie. and so Catelyn becomes a dread avenger, and not a pretty one. she is a killer without regard to reason or even justice, and she turns Dondarrion's Merry Men into a grim and bloodthirsty cabal. i never thought i'd see Thoros be so sad, so lost. i never thought Lemoncloak could be such an uncaring asshole. i never thought Catelyn would hang an innocent woman or a mere lad. well, i suppose that's what can happen. so i know that Brienne survives, that's obvious. but if Podric Payne dies,

    . i saved one of my favorite characters of the series for last. i don't think Brienne is a lot of readers' favorite; i assume they find her constant integrity and her equally constant naivete, repetitiousness, and lack of imagination to be tedious. but that's not how i feel! i loved her from beginning to (probably not her) end. there is such genuine

    to her loyal, awkward, lovelorn character. she is a warrior woman, but this means nothing in male-dominated Westeros except constant and automatic disrespect. she is, i suppose, "physically unattractive" and is constantly reminded of that by nearly every person she meets. she is always Doing The Right Thing; that integrity causes her to be disrespected even more, and it often means nothing to the people around her. well it means a lot to me! her quest may have been aimless, but it was also useful in illustrating the true and awful tragedy of war: the lives lost, the tormented survivors, the bleak landscapes, the sense of a world turned dark and bloody and soulless - a world without meaning. seeing such a brave person travel through this blighted landscape and continuously, stubbornly, mulishly trying to do good was hard to read - but it was also what i really needed in order to truly connect with this novel: a hero, tried and true. her two fight scenes, vanquishing members of the appalling Brave Companions, were awesome. what a brave lady and what a unique addition to the fantasy genre's Hero Archetype. i love her. as i loved this book.

    now on to the next one!

  • Madeline

    Hey everyone, George RR Martin here. I thought I'd take some time off from planning my intricate and complex storylines (spoiler alert: everyone has sex with everyone and then kills each other) to introduce

    , the long-awaited fourth installment in my epic fantasy series! You guys are in for a treat, this one is

    .

    So the last book was quite a ride, huh? There was that craziness that was the Weddings of Death, Tyrion killed his father, , Jon Snow finally got cool and is now

    Hey everyone, George RR Martin here. I thought I'd take some time off from planning my intricate and complex storylines (spoiler alert: everyone has sex with everyone and then kills each other) to introduce

    , the long-awaited fourth installment in my epic fantasy series! You guys are in for a treat, this one is

    .

    So the last book was quite a ride, huh? There was that craziness that was the Weddings of Death, Tyrion killed his father, , Jon Snow finally got cool and is now Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, Arya continued to be a tiny BAMF, Bran looked like he was finally moving towards a real plot, and Daenerys decided to temporarily shelve her whole unleash-the-dogs-of-war plan and be a queen for a while. Also I made Christmas come early for Madeline when I killed off Catelyn Stark, only to bring all her hopes and dreams crashing down when it turned out that Catelyn is a zombie now and will never die. Hee hee hee.

    Anyway, with all that cool stuff, you probably thought that this book was going to be

    , what with all the fallout from the stuff I described above. And it will be, but unfortunately my attention to detail and complex storylines finally came back to bite me in the ass, and it turns out I couldn't devote an entire book to all the plots I started in the last book. So I divided them into two volumes, and saved all the cool people for Book Five. Want to read about Jon Snow, Daenerys, and Tyrion? Too fucking bad.

    Don't worry though, this means we get to meet lots of fun

    characters, like Theon's crazy uncles and a lot of random people from Dorne. They each get just one chapter, of course, because they only exist so I can have a perspective to show all these events from (my changing single-character viewpoint structure has also begun to bite me in the ass, unfortunately) and you'll probably never see them again, but that's what makes it fun!

    It's not all bad, at least - Arya's still here, even though she's not doing much murdering or really much of anything. This is where Arya learns how to be more awesome, so she can wreck everyone's shit later - or maybe not, because in the last chapter we see her in, she's just gone blind. Is it temporary, or permanent? You'll just have to buy the next book and find out (maybe)!

    And hey, I gave you guys some Cersei chapters, finally. And yes, she's just as much of a psycho bitch as you always suspected. You're welcome. Also Jaime chapters - bet you didn't think

    would turn out to be one of the only decent characters in the series, huh? (of course, if he's becoming one of the good guys, that means I'll probably murder him soon) And there are more Samwell Tarly chapters! Everyone loves reading about Sam, right? Guys? Guys? Where are you going?

    Don't worry, the next book will be all about Tyrion and Daenerys and Bran (look, it's going to pay off soon, I swear. Really guys, he's going to be interesting eventually.) and all the other cool characters that I totally ignored in this book and that you really wanted to read about. As for all the character-based cliffhangers I established in this book, will they be resolved in the next volume? Probably not! I am George RR Martin, and I demand your money and your tears!

    PS: Quit bitching at me to write faster. You'll get your books when I say you get them, and not a day sooner. Don't push me, or the next volume published will be titled

    and it'll be nothing but Jon Snow, Bran Stark, and Samwell Tarly sitting around and thinking about how inadequate they are. Do not test me on this, nerds.

  • Raeleen Lemay

    This book definitely wasn't quite as eventful as the previous books in the traditional sense. There weren't any huge battle sequences or weddings filled with bloodshed, but rather a lot of

    .

    This book contained two of my favorite characters, Arya and Sansa, but there weren't enough chapters about them to satisfy me. This one mainly followed Cersei and Jaime, along with quite a few side characters who we didn't see much of in the first three books.

    I'm really interested to see what happens

    This book definitely wasn't quite as eventful as the previous books in the traditional sense. There weren't any huge battle sequences or weddings filled with bloodshed, but rather a lot of

    .

    This book contained two of my favorite characters, Arya and Sansa, but there weren't enough chapters about them to satisfy me. This one mainly followed Cersei and Jaime, along with quite a few side characters who we didn't see much of in the first three books.

    I'm really interested to see what happens in the next book, but I'm already anxious for book six because I need to know what's happening with Arya and Cersei. THINGS ENDED OFF SKETCHY FOR THEM.

    So I hear that Arya is actually in ADWD, along with a bit of Cersei and Jaime. All is well. (well probably not but I'm happy with this lol)

  • Candace

    Although this epic fantasy has me captivated, I have to say that 'A Feast for Crows' didn't hold as much appeal for me as the earlier books. That being said, it is still an extremely well-written story. I have no doubt that the new characters, places and events will serve to further the plot.

    While hearing Cersei's viewpoint was somewhat enlightening, it got tiresome. Cersei is as cold and cruel as Joffrey was. Being "stuck" in her mind was torture. She was constantly scheming and manipulating. H

    Although this epic fantasy has me captivated, I have to say that 'A Feast for Crows' didn't hold as much appeal for me as the earlier books. That being said, it is still an extremely well-written story. I have no doubt that the new characters, places and events will serve to further the plot.

    While hearing Cersei's viewpoint was somewhat enlightening, it got tiresome. Cersei is as cold and cruel as Joffrey was. Being "stuck" in her mind was torture. She was constantly scheming and manipulating. Honestly, does this woman never stop? Just hearing it was exhausting.

    Arya and Sansa continue to do what they have to in order to survive. It is interesting to see how they evolve as their circumstances change. I would've liked to hear more about the Stark girls, but maybe next time.

    This book also introduced some new characters...and brought back some old ones. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the back from the dead Catelyn Stark. She's definitely changed in more ways than one. Sometimes, things are better left alone. I'm struggling to accept this particular twist.

    Mostly, I was disappointed to find many of my favorite characters noticeably absent in this book. Daenerys is my favorite. I longed to hear about what was going on with her and her dragons. How is their journey going? Unfortunately, I didn't get that information.

    Similarly, Tyrion Lannister was nowhere to be found. As a character, he really grew on me. His disappearing act left me feeling a bit bereft. Like Daenerys, information on Tyrion was noticeably absent. I'm dying here!

    Like the last one, this one ends with a bit of an upheaval. Cersei finds herself in a bind and calls upon her knight in shining armor to save her. I'm hoping that she finally gets what she has coming, but I'll have to wait and see.

    Overall, I'm still very much addicted to this series. The writing is spectacular, as is the narration. I'm on to the next book. Based upon the title, I'm expecting to hear more from Daenerys and the dragons. This may have been my least favorite of the books so far, but it still blows most other books away.


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