A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

true detective /hannibal / dc movies / snl / mindhole blowers / netflix / celebrity facts / marvel

Cannonball Read V: A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

By Lady Cordelia | Book Reviews | December 30, 2013 | Comments ()


Officially the fourth in the presumed seven of the “Song of Ice and Fire” series, A Feast for Crows was originally intended to be one with its sequel, A Dance with Dragons. Due to its sheer length, the manuscript was split into two books along mostly geographical lines rather than the perhaps more obvious chronological split. This was kind of problematic for me, as I really missed certain favourite characters here. There was also a sudden shift to bring in a number of storylines set in Dorne, which until now hadn’t really made an appearance. This felt to me like Martin was running out of characters, after the high body count in the previous books.

The chapters here are told from the perspectives of Cersei Lannister, Jaime Lannister, Brienne of Tarth, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Samwell Tarly (though not at the Wall), Aeron Greyjoy (Theon’s uncle), Asha Greyjoy (Theon’s sister - called Yara in the HBO series), Victarion Greyjoy (another uncle), Areo Hotah (Captain of the Guard in Dorne), Arys Oakheart (the Kingsguard who went to Dorne with Princess Myrcella) and Arianne Martell (heir to the Dorne throne). You can see that the emphasis here really is on Dorne and the Iron Islands.

One thing I did particularly like was the introduction of another religion. The Iron Islanders worship the Drowned God, and the traditional baptism is actually to be drowned in salt water and then resuscitated. Those are some hardcore believers, right there. Cersei Lannister’s story is also more interesting here than in previous novels - she has finally consolidated power and is effectively ruling Westeros herself through her son, only she’s not actually very good at it. All her scheming and grasping to gain power has basically led her to a position where she constantly suspects everyone around her. The saddest thing is that she has no awareness that she simply does not have the political savvy of her father or brother Tyrion. Even though she now has Jaime back, she simply cannot accept him maimed and even his support is lost to her. Littlefinger has the other really interesting storyline here - this man knows how to play the long game! Compared to what we’ve seen in the show, his machinations run a lot deeper and his ambitions are much greater than you may have suspected.

This is probably my least favourite of the series so far, but I did still race through it.

This review is part of the volunteer Cannonball Read V. Read all about it, or sign up for Cannonball Read SIX at the new group blog.. Find more of Lady Cordelia’s reviews on the current group blog.

(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the amazon.com affiliate links
in this this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)

5 Shows After Dark: Well, SOME People Had a Great Christmas | For the Past 9 Years, A (Gasp!) Lesbian Has Been Delivering Feel-Good Stories on 'Good Morning America'

Are you following Pajiba on Facebook or Twitter? Every time you do, Bill Murray crashes a wedding.

Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Maddy

    I think I only appreciated this on the reread, it's just such a change of pace from Storm of Swords. It makes sense on an intellectual level for things to slow down after the shit storm that was the Red Wedding, but I found it tough going the first time through. When I read it again without the plot expectations, I enjoyed it a lot more. I just enjoy what a complete nutcase Cersei is, and while it's frustrating that we know exactly where Sansa is while Brienne wanders around, it gives us a valuable look at the smallfolk and the state of Westeros. Meribald's monologue is one of my favourite things in the whole series.

    I just cannot get into or care about the Greyjoys though - I cannot stand Victarion as a character and I don't want to be in his head, although Asha at the Kingsmoot was awesome. I also don't understand the choice to not have all of the Dorne chapters from Arianne's POV - Arys Oakheart and Areo Hotah are just completely blank slates as characters. Dorne is interesting, but its hard to be as invested in it as I am in the North, mainly because I haven't spent as much time with those characters.

    Because I'm such a fangirl, I loved when Jaime totally smacked down Red Ronnet for disrespecting Brienne "You are speaking of a highborn lady, ser. Call her by her name. Call her Brienne.” HELLS YES

  • I felt like this book showed Martin's need for an editor, because the same things seemed to happen over and over. I did like finally getting inside Cersei's awful little brain, though.

  • ToadvineFresh

    If nothing else it gives you Victarion being an unstoppable badass. That guy is a wrecking ball in human form. He doesn't have a particularly nuanced insight though.

  • Becks

    I found this book one of the hardest to get through. As Fredo mentions, Jamie's chapters are the highlights of the book - he's struggling to find his identity. Who is the Kingslayer without being able to swing a sword?

    The Arys Oakheart chapters I just don't get. I don't find that they really contribute much to the overall storyline (and doesn't he die at the end anyway?). It only gives us minor insight into one of the Sandsnake daughters and explains how Myrcella came to be disfigured. Meh. I guess that's Martin's calling card though - introduce a character and then kill them just because he can.

  • Part of the book's problem is that, with Dany and Bran out, many of the more other-worldly elements go out the window and this becomes a far more political book -- primarily on Cersei and on the Martells. That and poor Brienne's quest feels slow given that we know of Sansa's true location. I mean, did we need another episode of noble knights making fun of "Brienne the Beauty"? And without a payoff to his journey, it felt as if Sam's travels were all about him getting laid.

    That said, yes, the Cersei chapters are great in that "Shakespearean theater doing Julius Caesar" way. Doran Martell is a fascinating character -- a man who could rival Tywin and Tyrion in terms of cunning. But the biggest change is the one that occurs to Jaime who is so far removed from the brash asshole of AGOT to someone who is using his head, thinking straight and no longer pussymatized by his sister.

  • John W

    IMO This book is underrated. I really enjoyed the Cersei chapters.

  • It's one of my favorites.

    Greyjoys...drowned men, these are my people.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Me too. Cersei is like a train wreck happening in slow motion. You can't not look.

blog comments powered by Disqus