Book Review: A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin

A Feast for CrowsTitle: A Feast for Crows

Author: George R. R. Martin

Publication Date: 2005

Why did I choose to read this book?

I read A Feast for Crows (the fourth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series) when it was first published in 2005. I decided read it again before starting the newly-published fifth book in the series, A Dance With Dragons.

Summary

From Amazon:

The fourth volume in the hugely popular and highly acclaimed epic fantasy. There is passion here, and misery and charm, grandeur and squalor, tragedy, nobility and courage.

Bloodthirsty, treacherous and cunning, the Lannisters are in power on the Iron Throne in the name of the boy-king Tommen. But fear and deceit are in the air: their enemies are poised to strike.

The Martells of Dorne seek vengeance for their dead, and the heir of King Balon of the Iron Isles, Euron Crow’s Eye, is as black a pirate as ever raised a sail.

Across the war-torn landscape of the Seven Kingdoms, Brienne the Beauty (thus named in mockery of her great size and strength) seeks for Sansa Stark, having vowed to protect Sansa from the wrath of Queen Cersei, Tommen’s power-hungry mother.

Meanwhile apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly brings a mysterious babe in arms south to the Citadel from the cruel frozen north where the sinister Others threaten the Wall…

Review

One of the key features of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series is the way that the story is told from multiple viewpoints. Although written in third person, each chapter is devoted to one character and the reader gets to see events and scenes from his or her perspective. As the series has progressed, the number of viewpoint characters has increased. In order to prevent A Feast for Crows becoming too large, George R. R. Martin decided to divide the viewpoint characters into two groups. The storylines involving the first set of characters became A Feast for Crows, and the storylines involving the other group would be contained in A Dance With Dragons (Book 5). These two books  pretty much cover the same time period, they just recount the story events from the perspectives of different characters.

The move by Martin to split the book in this way has proved to be quite a controversial one, and I admit that when I first read A Feast for Crows, I was quite frustrated by the fact that some of my favourite viewpoint characters (Jon and Tyrion in particular) were missing. However, this didn’t seem such a big deal to me during the re-read. In fact, I quite liked the way that other characters came to the fore and were given more space and attention.

George R. R. Martin’s writing is always vivid and easy to read and, although the plot becomes even more convoluted and complex, it’s never hard to keep track of and follow.

Because of the decision to remove half of the viewpoint characters, A Feast for Crows doesn’t feel as complete as the first three books in the series. It doesn’t have such a clear beginning, middle and end, and it doesn’t really work as a standalone novel. But this isn’t really a big problem as most people will read this book and then read the next book in the series, A Dance With Dragons, straight after. I still think the best book in the series so far is A Storm of Swords (Book 3), but A Feast for Crows is also very good. I’m really glad I re-read it and I can’t wait to begin A Dance With Dragons.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Check out my review of A Storm of Swords (Book 3 in the A Song of Ice and Fire series)

2 Replies to “Book Review: A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin”

  1. Completely agree with what you’ve pointed out. I love this series, but this was a weaker novel than the rest. Nice review; I feel like I should do a reread now I’ve finished ADWD.

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