(Cover picture courtesy of TV Tropes.)
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, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters of the Seven Kingdoms gather. Now, as the human crows assemble over a banquet of ashes, daring new plots and dangerous new alliances are formed while surprising faces—some familiar, others only just appearing—emerge from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges of the terrible times ahead. Nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages, are coming together to stake their fortunes…and their lives. For at a feast for crows, many are the guests—but only a few are the survivors.
Wow, whatever I was expecting out of A Feast for Crows definitely didn’t happen. You can say whatever you like about George R. R. Martin, but you can’t claim he’s predictable.
You know the tension between the Faith (the traditional seven gods) and the religion of the Lord of Light that was starting in the last book? Well, it’s definitely cranked up a notch in this one and I really want to see where it goes in the next few books. Without giving too much away, I think Cersei created a pretty disastrous situation for herself there. This increasing tension as well as the growing tension between the factions competing for control of Westeros just shows how well Martin really does understand politics. There are subtle plays for power, hidden alliances and outside factors that influence the politics as well.
Although I understand his reasons for doing it, I wish he would have included the points of view of Daenerys, Tyrion and Jon Snow. I’m incredibly biased since two of the three are my favourite characters, but I’m also curious about how their stories are playing out in the scheme of things. However, as a sort of consolation prize, getting the points of view of both Cersei and Jaime as well as new points of view from Dorne were great. Not only does it give you a far better understanding of said characters, it also allowed for a different perspective on the current political situation. Jaime’s disgust with Cersei, Cersei’s increasing instability and the power politics in Dorne centering around Myrcella were all fascinating.
For a book that’s nearly a thousand pages long, there weren’t that many places where the plot dragged along. Of course I got a little bored dealing with some of my least favourite characters, but the plot never crawled to a halt as it sometimes does in fantasy novels with multiple viewpoints. In typical George R. R. Martin fashion, there’s a heck of a cliffhanger at the end of the novel from pretty much every single viewpoint and I’m actually scared of reading A Dance with Dragons because then I’ll have to wait years for the next book. I am not necessarily the most patient person in the world when it comes to awesome series like this, that’s for sure.
If you haven’t started A Song of Ice and Fire you need to read the series from the beginning. Ignore the fact that there’s a TV show and enjoy the books before you decide whether or not you want to watch the show. Ignore the hype and judge the books on their own merit. And most of all, if you just finished reading A Storm of Swords you’ll love A Feast for Crows.
I give this book 5/5 stars.