The Bookshelf: A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4 by George R. R. Martin

A Feast for Crows

Warning:  If you have not read the previous novels in this series and do not wish to know anything about the later parts… spoilers are here a plenty.  You have been forewarned.

A Feast for Crows is different from each of the preceding novels in the A Song of Ice and Fire series.  After the success of the previous three novels; A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords… and after a hell of a reveal at the end of the last novel, fans were foaming at the mouth for the fourth of the planned seven novel series.  Unfortunately for fans at the time, it was not released for a full five years after its predecessor.  The previous three had come out in a flurry between 1996 and 2000… A Feast for Crows was not released until 2005.

The late release was not the only bizarre aspect of this novel… fortunately for me and those of you reading this series for the first time, that didn’t matter since I was able to read it immediately after finishing A Storm of Swords… but odder than any of that, this novel does not contain many of the characters that we have grown to love and/or hate over the course of a few thousand pages.  The majority of characters present in A Feast for Crows are familiar to readers, but many of them are simply absent.  Why is this?  Apparently as Martin wrote the story, he realized it would be too large… so he split the novel in two.  But instead of simply splitting it time-wise, he planned on making the fifth novel run concurrently with the fourth.  So instead of having one book with Dany, Tyrion, Jon, Cersei, etc., he has one book with Cersei, Arya, Sansa, etc., and the other with Jon, Tyrion, Jaime, etc.  It’s an interesting idea… but doesn’t pay off as well as I would have liked.

That said… I did enjoy A Feast for Crows very much.  We are introduced to more characters and new regions of Westeros.  We are allowed to follow the story arcs of many of the female characters more so than most of the men and best of all, watching the slow motion train wreck that is the reign of Queen Regent Cersei.

The majority of the novel takes place in and around King’s Landing with quite a bit of the goings on in Dorne.  This has a very different feel than the previous, notably missing are Dany and Jon… and without Tyrion’s wit, the novel has a tendency to bog down in some rather frustrating maneuvers from all sides.  Without Dany and Jon, gone is much of the magic.  But now we meet Arienne, princess in Dorne… along with her father, Doran Martell.  The Martell family has much to offer the entire series… therefore it was wonderful to peek into south lands.

A Feast for Crows feels very much like a set up.  I am currently 2/3 of the way through the fifth novel, released in July, six years after the release of A Feast for Crows (after promising the novel in one year’s time… he has a hard time hitting deadline).  For much of A Feast for Crows we are given hints to the happenings in Westeros and the lands to the East… it’s been fantastic reading A Dance with Dragons and having many of those holes filled.

Entering into the world that Martin has created has been a phenomenal experience… it’s rich in backstory, in plot, in intrigue and always interesting and moving forward… but after almost four months and over 5000 pages, I’m a bit burnt out on A Song of Ice and Fire.  Fortunately, I only have about 300 pages to go until I am finished with book five and will have to suffer along with the other fans while we wait for book six, and hope that it doesn’t take him another six years to complete.

I have a stack of unread books waiting for me… calling out to me… read us, read us… soon my little pulpy wonders, soon.

So… A Feast for Crows… of the four novels up to that point, definitely the low point.  That is not to say it’s a bad novel… not in the least, and if you have read the first three (which you could stop there and call it a day), I couldn’t imagine not continuing on… but there are those who will not read book four or five until all seven are completed.  I can understand that… but I can’t abide by that.

Look for my review of A Dance with Dragons soon…

Also… I’m still on the hunt for someone interested in creating a Game of Thrones podcast where we review each episode of the HBO series… let me know if interested.

I like dwarfs on pigs,
Cornelius J. Blahg

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