A Feast for Crows by GRR Martin: Review

Title: A Feast for Crows
Author: GRR Martin
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: Jan 2005
Length: 1060
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire (#4)
Reason for Discovery: Sword & Laser Book Club, Game of Thrones TV show, the Internet
From GoodReads:
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.
This book contains 13 POV (point of view) characters (this includes the prologue POV character). This book predominately follows Cersei Lannister, Brienne, Samwell Tarley, Arya Stark, Jaime Lannister, and Sansa Stark. Cersei is despertately trying to keep hold of Westeros and maintain her standing as Queen Regent, even though Margery who is married to King Tommen is making trouble for her. Brienne is on a journey to find and protect Sansa and Arya Stark, so she can keep her word to the now deceased Catelyn Stark. Samwell is traveling to Oldtown to beg the maesters for help for the Night's Watch. Arya is learning how to be a faceless man, while Jaime is trying to be a better man. Sansa is just trying to survive. Also, the Greyjoys are fighting over who should be king, since Theon's father has died. Okay, I think this sums up what is happening with limited spoilers. :)
There are a lot of POV characters in this book. I should admit that I didn't pay close attention to the Greyjoy chapters and had to go to the A Song of Ice and Fire Wiki to find out what happened in those chapters. I think I got a bit frustrated with all of the different POV characters and decided not to pay close attention to any except for the main characters (i.e., Cersei, Brienne, Samwell, Arya, Jaime, and Sansa). It was very neat to learn what was happening in lots of different places at the same time, but I think having 13 "main characters" is a bit much.
In regards to the story itself, I found it interesting. I didn't feel like it was dragging. I kept finding myself surprised how quickly I was moving through the book. Even though A Feast for Crows was barely shorter than A Storm of Swords, this book felt shorter than A Storm of Swords. This is surprising, because the majority of the book focuses on explanations for characters' actions and the history of the Seven Kingdoms. At one point, Littlefinger gives a monologue to Sansa on why a young man born out of wedlock will be Lord of the Vale one day. Towards the end of the book, there is a good amount of action and a few little surprises that make the reader want to read the next book. Some of the action is due to what the characters have been doing up until that point in the book; however, some of the surprises technically pop out of nowhere. There are hints of these surprises in the book; however, the when and where of the surprises could have happened at any time. For example, something happens during Brienne's POV chapters. This something was not really related to anything that Brienne had done up until that point.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I liked being able to follow Cersei and learn more about how she thinks. Arya and Sansa are two of my favorite characters, so any book with them is going to be enjoyable for me. Plus Jaime, Brienne, and Samwell are always great. I do wish that some of the story lines like the Greyjoy story had been written up as novella that takes place during this book, because I thought there were just too many POV characters. I also wish that maybe some of this information could have been put in A Song of Ice and Fire encyclopedia instead. At the same time, Martin's goal (at least I am assuming this is his goal) is to write an epic high fantasy story that shows that lots of things are happening all over the place. This series is not about how one person changes a world but how lots of people are changing lots of things at the same time. I hope that we haven't read a book's worth of extraneous information over the course of this book series. I think I just need to withhold judgment until the series ends (hopefully in the next 5, 10, 15 years?).
I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

14 comments:

Lexxie Lin said...
November 27, 2013 at 5:03 AM

I really want to read this series, but the sheer size of the books is intimidating me a little. I have the first two as audio-books, but I can't seem to start listening to them, either...

Happy reading Pamela :)

Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

Chene Sterckx said...
November 27, 2013 at 5:35 AM

Wow 13 POV changes! I want to read this series but the length just scares me off every time. I liked this part of your review: 'This series is not about how one person changes a world but how lots of people are changing lots of things at the same time.'
Great review Pamela as always!

Chanzie @ Mean Who You Are.

Pabkins said...
November 27, 2013 at 6:06 PM

I haven't read number 4! I think I left off on #3 because when I had started I saw how many years apart each publication was and decided I was going to wait til the series was finished. I can't hang with 5 years between releases.

Pamela D said...
November 27, 2013 at 10:07 PM

I wouldn't have continued with the book series until the series was complete either, but I decided that I wanted to get ahead of the TV show. There should be one more season focused on A Storm of Swords, but I am worried that the show is going to start bleeding into books 4 and 5.

Pamela D said...
November 27, 2013 at 10:13 PM

These books are super long, and I find them intimidating too! I find the audio books to be more manageable. At the same time, the TV show is a fairly faithful adaptation of the books (at least so far), if you want to go that route. Honestly, I started the book series after I saw the first season of the show. Knowing what happens in the first book already helped me keep track of the characters when I was reading the book and made me feel more confident about keeping all the characters organized in my head for reading the second book (and beyond).

Pamela D said...
November 27, 2013 at 10:16 PM

Book 4 is when Martin starts to go a bit crazy with all of the POVs. The first three books are more manageable. The series is really good. If you are unsure, you might want to try the TV show. It is a faithful adaptation. If you like the show, you will probably like the books. My one caveat about this series is the amount of sexual violence (and physical violence) that happens.

kimbacaffeinate said...
November 28, 2013 at 12:10 AM

Whole POV's 13?!?!? Now I like multiple pov's for certain type books, but eek gads. This series is still on my wishlist. Right now I am working on Outlander.

Erin @ Paperback Stash said...
November 28, 2013 at 3:10 AM

My fiance has the first four books so I have them waiting to read. I havent yet but I was thinking of doing them next year.

Lexxie Lin said...
November 28, 2013 at 9:27 AM

I'm not sure if the TV show is on at all in Europe, but I usually prefer books - I don't really watch much TV at all. Maybe I'll just start with the first audio-book and see what I think about it then.

Thanks for sharing :)

Kimberly @ Turning the Pages said...
November 28, 2013 at 4:59 PM

It's too bad that you didn't like this one more, I can see why though. It was a departure from the usual flow of the story but I think Martin just likes throwing his fans for a loop. If you think 13 POVS is a lot try Battle Royal. There's 46 :)
- Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

Pamela D said...
November 29, 2013 at 11:43 PM

The first three books are more reasonable. GRR Martin got a bit POV crazy in his later books! I read Outlander and really enjoyed it. After I finish up Martin's series, I am gearing up to return to Outlander.

Pamela D said...
November 29, 2013 at 11:46 PM

They are pretty good. I am really impressed with Martin's world building. If you like gritty, high fantasy epics, this is the series for you.

Pamela D said...
November 29, 2013 at 11:49 PM

46! I don't think I could keep that many POVs straight! I think I am going to start taking notes when I read A Dance with Dragons. ;)

Pamela D said...
November 29, 2013 at 11:51 PM

I hope that you enjoy the audio book! It is quite good. :) Let me know how you like it.

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