A Feast for Crows
George RR Martin
A Feast for Crows is the fourth book in George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (more commonly known as the Game of Thrones series). It had a vastly different feel to it, given it’s structure and tone. When writing this volume, Martin found he was writing far too much to be contained in one volume, so he split it into two — this one and A Dance With Dragons (the next book in the series) — this this one following a handful of perspective characters and the next one following the rest, then uniting both books toward the end of A Dance With Dragons.
Since he wasn’t cramming a crapload of stuff in this book, Martin was given the space and freedom to move a little more ponderously and explore the massive histories he has for each of his characters. While this makes the book move rather slow (and, according to whiners on the internet, follows the unlikeable characters), I found it to be one of the more fascinating volumes in the series so far.
My ongoing complaint about George RR Martin is that there is an almost unmanageable cast of characters in his books — especially since he also names dozens and dozens and dozens of characters in passing. It can be hard to keep everything straight. This book didn’t lack that, but since it had more room for exploration, a lot of time was spent exploring character backgrounds — so I now feel like I know Jamie, Cersei, Brienne, Arya, Sansa, and Samwell a LOT better. Though I felt it went on a bit long sometimes, I now have a strong connection to the characters, which has revitalized my interest in the series.
And since we only got half the tale, it leaves me wanting to read the next volume to find out the rest. As well, my partner has read the next one and given me a few tantalizing hints of what’s to come. I will, however, probably wait until the fall before I pick up that one — it supposedly comes out in paperback in October and I’d rather lug that around versus the mammoth hardcover.
While I do have some criticisms about Martin’s writing, as discussed in an earlier post, I find much of his writing to be engaging and professional.
Like with the three previous volumes, the final 150 pages is almost mind-blowing in terms of character and plot development. It just kinda sucks that it takes 800+ pages to get there. I’m not saying the first 800 pages are dull, but rather if they were as earth-shattering as the final 150, the book would be amazing.
A Feast for Crows was a solid entry in the series, with engaging characterization and lots of intriguing plot developments. I highly recommend the series for all readers — even if you’re like me and generally don’t like the fantasy genre — it really sucks you in.