Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Feast for Crows - George R.R. Martin

And here we are with Book Four of A Song of Ice and Fire.  It's taken me long enough to get through this monster.  Over three months have past since I completed A Storm of Swords, but it feels like it could have been three years. I feel like I've been reading this book forever.  Granted, I was warned.  At long last I have made it through and am eagerly looking forward to Book Five, which has been touted by my cousins as the best one of the series.  First, though, a review of Crows. I promise to make my thoughts on the book shorter and less painful than the book itself. (Warning: Spoilers ahead)

Crows is definitely a challenge to even the biggest fans of Martin's work right from the start.  The book focuses mainly on a handful of characters.  Because so many beloved characters were brutally killed in Swords, Martin brings quite a few new voices into the story.  It took some dedication and commitment to get to know these characters.  Yet, by the time I got to know them, I was getting very irritated by the absence of other story lines.  This combination caused the middle of the book to really drag for me.  It wasn't until the end that Martin began to gain speed for a mildly climactic ending.  I seriously am not kidding when I say I felt like a conquering victor after this book.  I read the last 200 pages in one sitting because I just wanted to be done with it.  The only way you will ever fully understand is if you read this series yourself. Ok, I promise I'm done complaining...

One thing that infuriated me about Crows is that my dear Daenerys was missing from its pages.  I assume she is busy setting up her kingdom in the east, but still.  I wanted to hear about her and her dragons!  She has been a favorite of mine from the very start of the series and to have a whole book with nary a mention of her was hard for me.  Not hearing much at all from the Wall was difficult as well.  In fact, once Samwell left, Martin gave us only silence from the icy North.  Throughout the first two books, I really didn't care much about the storyline in the North.  However, Swords won me over.  It gave us such a powerful chain of events and invested me in all the happenings at the Wall. I was left hanging throughout Crows.  

I also struggled with the relationship between Jamie and Cersei Lannister.  Up to Book Four, the two have been practically one character, one person.  Yet, suddenly Cersei decides that she despises Jamie and thus ends their love affair.  While I understand her resentment at all the change going on and even that she is projecting some of this dismay into her relationship with her brother, this change of heart seemed sudden and  unnatural.  Granted, this is an incestuous relationship.  Everything about it is unnatural.  Even at the end of the book when Cersei sends for Jamie, it is only out of desperation, not because she actually wants him.  And he, upon receiving notice of his twin's dire condition, burns her letter.  I am very anxious to see what happens with them.  For two people to have been so connected in every way from birth and then suddenly despise each other leaves me feeling unresolved.

Speaking of Cersei, its about time that she started facing some consequences for her actions.  Her bitterness, hatred, pride, and greed ran to new heights in this volume.  She surpassed even the wildest expectations for her cruelty.  She has spent the entire series manipulating everyone in her path at any cost.  She is ruthless.  So, to see her suddenly meet her match in the religious leadership was glorious.  Is it horribly vindictive of me to be happy to see her suffering the same fate she meant for Margaery?

As for the new characters, it should come as no surprised that I loved the fiery heroines that Martin introduced.  Though we had been introduced to Asha Greyjoy before, I was delighted to see more of her in Crows.  Her attempt to turn the Kingsmoot of the Iron Islands into a Queensmoot and claim the throne for herself had me rooting for her and almost believing she was going to make it happen.  I hope she has more of a future in this series than being married off.  I doubt she would stand for that.  As for Arianne Martell, the Dornish princess who attempts to crown Princess Myrcella Baratheon, she captured my attention and stole my heart.  While I do not think that Myrcella should be ruling the Seven Kingdoms (or what is left of them), Arianne's fervent belief and strong-willed actions were enjoyable reading.  In her final Crows chapter, she is locked in her father's tower and goes on a hunger strike until he grants her audience and reveals his plans for their family.  To see this new story tie back into the greater picture was very rewarding.  For a moment, I was disappointed that Viserys Targaryen is dead and cannot marry Arianne.  Then I remembered what an awful person he was and how much I miss Daenerys.  Have I mentioned that yet?

It seems odd that after 1060 pages, I only have this much to say.  Certainly, I could regale you with thoughts on Brianne's journey (long, depressing, still no closer to finding the Stark girls, possibly killed at the hand of their own zombie mother) or Areo Hotah (why bother? Arianne is more interesting) or Aeron Greyjoy (The Drowned Prophet struck me as extremely odd), but I would rather just put Crows behind me and look to A Dance with Dragons with eager anticipation.

Pages: 1060
Date Finished: May 15, 2012


  1. I think you'd enjoy a roughly chronological reading of A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons because it's essentially one story that had to get split it two. And that way you'd get your Dany fix.

    I didn't have as much of a problem with Jamie and Cersei. During A Storm of Swords and somewhat during A Clash of Kings I felt that the two of them were headed in very different directions. Jaime is somewhat redeeming himself and becoming more sympathetic while Cersei continues to head down the road of insanity. I felt the break between the two of them happened when Jaime was captured.

    I'm personally a fan of Brienne's journey and while the narrative for Hotah could have been covered by Arianne, I enjoyed the history and setting that was fleshed out during his chapters.

    1. I'm still in the middle of A Dance with Dragons and happy to see Dany back! I'm trying to savor it since the next one won't be out for ages. I'm a stickler for reading things in order, but I would definitely do a chronological reading as a part of a reread of the series.

      That's a great point about Jamie and Cersei. They have definitely been growing apart for a while, but I guess we didn't see it directly until they were back in each other's presence.