Novel: A Feast for Crows [A Song of Ice and Fire #4]

385001Author: George R. R. Martin, 2005
Genre: Low Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 775 pages

It looks like I’m posting here at the same rate as George releases his books. Jokes aside, I actually couldn’t wait to write down my thoughts on the forth instalment of my favourite series. I just finished the book last weekend and, boy oh boy, am I getting anxious about approaching the end of available novels. Only one book to go and I have no idea when the next one is to be released! So far I’ve read these at a rate of one book per year, so the projected 2015/2016 release date would be welcome news indeed.

To be honest, going into A Feast for Crows I had low expectations. Most people I’ve encountered told me how slow the story line is, and how much of a “filler” the contents feel. Ultimately it was called the “weakest book in the series”. Maybe I should trust the author more next time, because I liked this book even better than A Clash of Kings. Obviously it is hard to follow up in the greatness of the third book – A Storm of Swords. There weren’t as many shockers and tragic deaths, or what have you, but it was deliciously intriguing nonetheless. Many readers complained that their favourite characters (mainly, Jon, Tyrion, and Daenerys) were not present, thus quickly losing interest in whatever was going on. But people, how could you not love the intricate scheming of Littlefinger, or Cersei’s desperate attempts in proving herself a great ruler, or Sansa’s balancing act on the great precipice of danger? I enjoyed every page of it, and it took me only three days to finish the entire thing (probably the fastest I’ve ever finished a novel in the series). A very enjoyable book for those who are interesting in political game of chess or love all characters equally.

REALLY BIG SPOILERS AHEAD

I have to discuss spoilers, because c’mon… they are awesome! So please do not read the rest of the post if you’re not caught up to this point yet. One of my favourite points of view this time was Cersei. I know, many readers think she is an evil bitch, but I just love her character. Cersei tried to prove herself equal to her male counterparts for the longest time. She was being repeatedly reduced to the role of a baby-making machine, a pretty accessory and a political pawn her entire life. Every man around her – be it Robert, or Tywin, or even Jaime, – never bothered to take her seriously. No wonder the girl became obsessed about ceasing power for herself at all costs. Having lost Joffrey to tyranny and eventually death, she wasn’t going to take no chances with Tommen. Quickly she realized that the Highgarden power behind Margaery Tyrell was too dangerous to keep around, so getting rid of the popular, young queen was her first priority. Too bad it backfired. I can’t wait to see how things turn out for Cersei, now that she is disgrace and on the verge of execution. And Jaime’s reaction? Buuuurn.

Brienne of Trath – wow! In this book our favourite female knight is on a quest to find the last (or so she thinks) House of Stark heir – Sansa. I was glad that Pod made a comeback and joined forces with Brienne, because he proved himself a great human being while squiring for Tyrion. In this book we get to glimpse a little more into the private thoughts of the shy, loyal girl that is Brienne. We saw that most of her life she had been feeling guilty for not being either a son, or a proper daughter to her father. The constant teasing about her ugliness and awkwardness, and dreams about being a knight, still seemed to haunt her, but she did her best keeping her head held high. At this point she was still very much devoted to Lady Catelyn, but had a drastically different opinion about Jaime Lannister. This tug of war between two of her loyalties eventually leads to a difficult situation, when she realizes that her dead mistress is actually alive. What was the word that Brienne screamed to save herself and Pod from being hanged? I bet you dimes to doughnuts it was Arya’s name. It had to be, because no way Catelyn was going to execute a person who had information about her long-lost daughter.

And speaking of Arya – she is far away in Braavos looking for answers in a temple of a Many-Faced God. Her part was very small this time, but she did run into Sam for a brief moment. You know, Samwell Tarly has a weird habit of running into Starks and not realizing it. First it was Bran, whose survival he must keep in secret even from Jon Snow, and now Arya. And he didn’t even have a clue about the little street urchin selling oysters! Ah, George, you make these kind of twists unbearable! The final twist – a possible blindness for Arya. Something tells me this might be related to her being a warg, like Bran. Or it could be a test from the Many-Faced God. Do I really have to wait until next book to find out?

What else? Well, Jaime was having some major changes of heart. I think his warm (not really romantic) feelings towards Brienne were totally adorable. I can see people wishing them to hook up already, but knowing Martin, he’ll milk this one for a while and then kill off either one or both characters. Wouldn’t that be something… There was also a lot of action going on among Martells and on the Iron Islands after Balon Greyjoy fell to his death in the last book. There are a couple of new players, but I’m rooting for Asha to become the first queen of the iron men. From what passed between her and contenders for the throne, Theon’s sister had no plans of giving up the Seastone Chair to anyone. But where is Theon? Is anyone finally going to kill off that snakey Maester Pycelle? Is Margaery going to triumph over King’s Landing? Is Jon safe for a while from the assassination attempts, since Kettleblack has no reason to follow Cersei’s orders now? Taking into consideration that the following book will be focusing on the second half of the cast, I’m afraid I won’t be able to find out until The Winds of Winter comes out!

10 comments

  1. What is “Low Fantasy”?

  2. Low fantasy, as opposed to high fantasy, is relatively realistic. The world is similar to ours in physics and nature. While there are some fantastic elements in A Song of Ice and Fire, like dragons, giants, and wights, they are rarely believed in by the characters themselves and are considered a myth, while the rest of the setting remains pretty similar to our own world. High fantasy heavily relies on magic, various imaginary creatures, and larger than life stories in no way possible in our real world.

  3. Oh that makes sense! Thanks for the explanation

  4. You are very welcome! Enjoy your stay.

  5. […] A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin […]

  6. Oh, the “low fantasy” is new for me too, so thanks for explaining!. Although it sounds somewhat pejorative…
    I’m glad you liked the book! So many people, so many opinions, I guess! I didn’t like it as much as the rest of the books, but it’s great to see somebody who did! 🙂 And I completely agree with you about all the cliffhangers – I can’t wait to see them resolved too. I really hope that thing with Arya is just temporary, and I’m interested in how the situation in King’s Landing will be resolved. But I think I’m most excited with Doran’s ambitions about his children’s match with some Targaryen. I think their alliance may decide the fate of the kingdom!
    I have also been reading a book a year, but I think I may pick book 5 soon, as I want to know the second half of the story!

  7. I think if I read this book right after A Storm of Swords and didn’t look through any reviews, AND had no Dance of Dragons to look forward to (imagine reading this in 2005), I’d be hating all over this book! 🙂 I can’t blame people for feeling that way. I’m glad it wasn’t a disappointment though. On the positive note, I heard DoD is amazing!

    Cliffhangers are evil! I can’t handle it!! I hope Arya is only blind because of her desire for revenge which the gods want her to let go of or a connection with Nymeria. It’s so cruel of George to leave us hanging! It’s funny how these things work, because the intrigues with Martells were the least interesting to me, that is until Prince Doran revealed his plans for Targaryens in the end. That was clever. It was strange (in a good way) to see Viserys mentioned, because he died in like what? Book one? It looks like Martells are going to come out to be a major player.

    I love how no character in this series is really a minor character, and everyone might eventually play a role in a turning point.

  8. I need to start reading this series. The only question is when am I going to have the time? :-Z

  9. Yes you should!! I’m not even a fantasy fan and I’m in love with these. But time is indeed ridiculously tricky thing.

  10. So, I skipped over the majority of your review because I haven’t read this yet (and really want to). But I’m glad to hear that you liked it more than others – I can’t wait to find time to give this series a go!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: