* Prices may differ from that shown
A feast for crows. A song of ice and fire - book 4. George R.R Martin
Why read this one:
I began reading this epic series of books after seeing the impressive adaptation on television. My passion was aroused. I yearned to discover more. I attached to certain characters and disliked others in a way that makes a book good.
I read the first three books in short succession. If reading is hard and fast it is because the author has me hooked and (to quote Stephen King) he is sticking to the story. I don't like prose that is overly descriptive. Pages of eloquent descriptiveness do not excite me or hold my attention for long.
Book three was so fast paced and full of interesting developments - along with a death toll that was bloody brutal of Martin - I could not wait to get my hands on this one.
Three words are of utmost importance in the land that is Westeros. It's an old saying that dates back thousands of years and belongs to the Stark household. 'Winter is coming'. If you remember nothing else you do well to remember that. Winter is not as we know it. This kind of winter will last more than months and with it will come 'others'.
The Iron Throne is warmed by the bottom of a babe now. A young King who has much to learn. Fear not for he has his sweet mother to guide him. Queen Cersei shall sit the council and ensure that all is fair and good in the world. If you believe that then you will believe ought. Cersei is anything but sweet.
Play your games well. Be prepared to die doing so and remain oblivious to what is coming. Winter is coming. You may run and hide but it seems it will be no use. The 'others' take you.
On with the show:
Eager is not a strong enough word. I cannot think of one fitting enough to describe my feelings as I began this prose. I could not wait to be well met with my hero's and those that I have grown to hate. Hate is a strong word but in the company of Queen Cersei it is apt.
I am normally full of positives for these books but on this occasion it is not going to be a Five Star review. Why? I struggled with it. First off, Martin breaks my rule (borrowed of Mr King) of sticking to the story. I cannot abide waiting and waiting for something to happen and there needs to be a reason for me to keep turning those pages. Secondly, I got so confused by so many characters being focused on or introduced - I couldn't even tell you half of who I read about now! Finally, it didn't include characters that have the most interest for me.
Don't misunderstand me. I am certainly not saying that the tale isn't good because it is BUT it could have been told a lot faster. I journeyed with Samwell Tarley and Ginny (or is it Gilly - so many characters that I get lost) over the sea for what seemed like a bloomin eternity. Not much happened apart from a baby crying and a singer getting fed up of it - heck I was fed up of it too. All I want to know really is that a voyage has been undertaken and that is quite enough. I don't need the details of what happened from A to B. What someone has to eat really isn't necessary as there are far more interesting and important topics to cover. Like what is going on with Tyrion the imp? Daenerys and my favourite John Snow. No, wait. What is happening with the 'others' and Melissandre? Come on, be fair. A tit bit would have been nice.
Fair enough I got a little time with my favourite girl, Arya. The only thing was she is stuck doing nothing. Mundane and boring to read about. I am glad she is still breathing but feel cheated with the stalemate action.
I do like how Martin is building up to something with the direwolves. I am sure Arya's she wolf, Nymeria, will be making an impressive appearance soon. I hope so at any rate as it's getting to be long overdue.
Time was spent with Petyr Balish and Sansa. Little Lord Robert has mention too. They are spending time at the castle on top of a peak. It's impregnable you know. Yes, I know. There are some interesting developments but reading about Littlefinger's plan for Sansa to rise to glory was trying and somewhat tedious. Don't presume I could relate back to you any of it now as the answer is a firm 'no chance'.
I seemed to be spending most of the time with characters that either didn't interest me or I really don't find appealing. Some new faces are introduced and as I got the impression that they would remain in the background as supporting roles I just scanned over some of the paragraphs. I have never found myself doing that up until now and that tells me that this book is not near as good as the others.
Brienne the maid of Tarth. I like this woman enough but not so for the monotonous quest that we follow her on, through many pages of the book. When the chapter heading had her name on it I even put the book down for a time, as I had to muster up some motivation to carry on reading about her doing the same stuff. She is searching for someone and no one has seen her. Well, I, the reader know full well where this someone is so her search seems all the more pointless for me to read. Hard work.
I have to say that Jaimie Lannister is now more endearing and some of his activity was interesting, however still not in the league of the previous books. Not by a long way. I want excitement and the vivid reality of the other books - it shows up in odd moments throughout but it's lacking in my opinion.
The whole book felt like it was an in between preparation for something better to come. You need to know this stuff in order for the next books to make sense. I just kept bearing that in mind to keep me turning the pages. I got to the end of the book and Martin even tells you himself why he has not included certain characters. The book would have been too big he says - cut out a load of the unnecessary journey blogs and hey the book may have allowed for more interest and action.
I don't mean to be so brutal but I have to be honest and for me this one was hard going. My brain just couldn't take anymore characters to remember and I really don't need to know what image is on every shield or flag from the minority and insignificant houses.
I am looking forward to the next one but only because I'm hoping it will be much better than this one.
www.bookbutler.co.uk will do a full online search for the best prices
Amazon at £3.08 at time of writing
It's not entirely dull. It just could have been done over less pages and Martin has strayed from the story at times. I wouldn't say it is a bad effort as it is not but I can only say it was hard going. I don't appreciate knowing what someone is eating in detail or going through details of what sigils are on battle shields when you are getting to double figures - just not interesting for me. What I will say is that it is necessary reading to continue on with the tale and that you will get there in the end. It's worth three stars easily, maybe three and a half but no more in my opinion.
Published on Ciao.
© dawnymarie 2013
A Feast for Crows is the fourth novel in George R.R. Martin's epic series, A Song of Ice and Fire. Set in the fictional lands of Westeros and Essos, the saga follows its participants as they play "the game of thrones". King Robert Baratheon died in the first novel, and was succeeded by his son Joffrey - but given the allegations that his children were actually the product of incest between his queen, Cersei, and her brother Jaime, this did not sit well with the kingdoms. Other kings declared themselves, and war followed.
At the opening of the saga, the main family was the Starks of Winterfell, but due to the loss of various members of the family, there are many other narrators by the time of A Feast for Crows. The choice of narrators for this particular novel, however, has been some cause for criticism - three fan favourites do not make an appearance in A Feast for Crows. These are Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen. Their stories will be continued in A Dance with Dragons, which is set at the same time as A Feast for Crows.
Previous novels in the series have been packed full of action, war and excitement, but A Feast for Crows is much more of a character piece. It has a slower pace, and has recieved criticism for this, but while more action and story development would have been a plus, I enjoyed the character aspects of A Feast for Crows.
There were a few which stood out for me, but chief among these were Cersei and Jaime Lannister. Since Jaime's return to court following his imprisonment, the twins have not been as close as they once were. Jaime seems to be developing a conscience, and certainly isn't quite as loathsome as he once was, while Cersei is getting worse and is possibly starting towards madness. Reading about her paranoia and fears is enjoyable, as you begin to feel that she might get her comeuppance after all.
Two stories which are rather plodding and dull are those of Samwell Tarly, of the Nights Watch, and Brienne of Tarth. Sam is dispatched to Oldtown with a couple of charges, to study to become the new maester for the Nights Watch. Most of his story seems to be about being cold, wet and miserable, and only shows the possibility of becoming interesting right at the very end. Brienne's story follows a similar line, as she searches Westeros for Sansa Stark, at the secret command of Jaime, who she seems to be harbouring feelings for. As with Sam, her story becomes interesting towards the end of the novel, ending on a huge cliffhanger after an unexpected meeting.
Arya Stark's story is one which has been frustrating ever since she left the capital, King's Landing, following the execution of her father. She has always seemed to be going in the wrong direction and always just missing the people who could help her. Now she is across the sea in Braavos, and yet again is dithering about and getting involved with groups of people when you feel she should be heading back to Westeros, to the Wall where her half brother Jon Snow is.
Despite these delays and irritations and dithering characters, A Feast for Crows is an enjoyable read and a good addition to the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, but you do feel that it could probably have been done in about the half the length, and maybe given us a few characters without cliffhangers. Martin's writing is as evocative as ever, but it could be cut down quite a bit without losing any of its magic. A Feast for Crows really came about when he found that he had written far too much and had to split it into two books - and it looks like the interesting stuff is to come in A Dance with Dragons, which features the parallel stories of the characters not covered in A Feast for Crows.
I enjoyed A Feast for Crows, and it is a part of the saga which cannot be skipped, but it is the weakest entry so far, and now I have read it, I am looking forward to A Dance with Dragons.