Review: A Feast for Crows

This post will include my review of the book A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin. It is the fourth volume of A Song of Ice and Fire series, released in September 2006.

The text below is taken from the blurb on the back of the book.

Crows will fight over a dead man’s flesh, and kill each other for his eyes.

Bloodthirsty, treacherous and cunning, the Lannisters are in power on the Iron Throne in the name of the boy-king Tommen. The war in the Seven Kingdoms has burned itself out, but in its bitter aftermath new conflicts spark to life. The Martells of Dorne and the Starks of Winterfell seek vengeance for their dead. Euron Crow’s Eye, as black a pirate as ever raised a sail, returns from the smoking ruins of Valyria to claim the Iron Islands. From the icy north, where Others threaten the Wall, apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly brings a mysterious babe in arms to the Citadel. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory will go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel and the coldest hearts.

This has been my least favourite book of the series so far. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been reading nothing but this series for the past three months or if this just wasn’t as good as the previous three but this book annoyed me. Every time I read the words “jape”, or “mummer’s farce”, it made me want to pluck my eyes out. I don’t recall any of those terms featuring so prominently in the prior books but for some reason they stood out in this one.

But that aside, my biggest disappointment stems from the fact that book three ended with some pretty substantial outcomes none of them were resolved in this book. No Tyrion chapters, no Daenerys chapters, no Jon chapters, and no Bran chapters. Instead we get introduced to a number of new characters and spend time with others that we’d previously only seen through others’ eyes. That and we find that at least one of the previously introduced new characters is now dead.

What I did like though, was the chance to see some other parts of the world, these being Dorne, Braavos. I enjoyed learning more about those regions but it wasn’t enough to overcome the disappointement of not know what became of Tyrion.

The Cersei chapters were interesting in many ways, but she began to annoy me by midway through the book. Her endless self belief was as annoying as Sansa’s previous insipidness. No-one ever knew better than Cersei, anyone who didn’t agree with her must be wrong and she refused to listen to any advice. Even Jaime, the man for whom she risked everything, became irrelevant to her when he didn’t do what she wanted. A woman that stupid couldn’t have hidden a relationship with her twin brother for as long as he had. I’ll admit to taking pleasure in the trouble she caused herself.

Sansa, finally started to display some growth, snapping out of the woe is me mood she’s been in since the end of book one, and the Brienne chapters were somewhat interesting though I am somewhat frustrated by the constant catch and release events of the lands just south of trident. It seems that whoever goes there ends up getting captured by someone at some point and I found myself feeling like I’d read this all before. I hope that one day someone will actually manage to travel north beyond Harrenhal.

I am glad that I am reading this immediately following the last book. I think if I had to wait six years for it I would have been rather disappointed, and the letter of apology at the end didn’t really help but drive home the point. This was the book that was released not the book that I wanted, and I am very glad that book five is already available, because I would imagine that another 6 year wait would have killed any lingering interest I had in this series.

A Dance of Dragons has some work to do, but given how much I enjoyed the previous books, I am sure that it will deliver.


3 thoughts on “Review: A Feast for Crows”

    1. The TV show is excellent, no doubt about that I think they’ll tackle this part of the story better than the book has.

      I’ve now started the next book and I sad to say that one of my least favourite characters is back. Not happy – not happy at all. Hopefully its just a few chapters here and there.

  1. I’m listening to the Feast audiobook at the moment, and I have to say I agree with most of what you wrote in your review. Since this volume I have come to hate the pointless travelling parts, and the filler chapters. I suspect that maybe at that point Martin didn’t know where the story was going. I like the whole King’s Landing old queen-new queen power play, since Cersei is one of the more interesting bad guys – at least I don’t hate her as much as I hated Joff. 🙂 I thought Aria’s chapters were pretty good so far. The thing I’m looking forward to most (except finishing this book and starting with the next) is season 3 – although it will only be based on the first half of the novel. But 10 episodes would be much too short for a Storm anyway.

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