Reviews of Feast for Crows, a (2005)
Iíve just completed my second re-read of the series (in anticipation of A Dance of Dragons finally being published), and if youíve got as far as Feast I donít think youíll be too disappointed. Undoubtedly it is the weakest of the series, largely caused by the loss of Jon and Dany (Ice and Fire), Tyrion, and Bran, whose parallel stories will be told in Dance. Instead Feast focuses on events around Kings Landing, Dorne, the Iron Islands, and Braavos.
Political intrigue is once again the order of the day, focusing on the rival political factions in Kings Landing who are trying to control the Iron Throne. Dorne is introduced for the first time to the reader, as Doran Martell plots his revenge for the murder of sister, Princess Elia. On the Iron Islands a new king is chosen who promises to conquer all of Westeros. The book is of a much slower pace than A Storm of Swords and is probably more akin to A Clash of Kings, focusing on character movement and development, which will (hopefully!) allow it to all come together in the final two books. While it is slower I donít think itís boring, instead allowing Martinís brilliant characterisation to come to the fore.
Each chapter of a Song of Ice and Fire is written from a characters point of view allowing the reader to watch Cerceiís continued self-destruction or Jaimeís near redemption from both an internal and external point of view. And once again Feast is also full of little diversions. Is Tyrions first wife still alive? Who is the gravedigger at the monastery Brienne visits?
If you donít like epic fantasy with a massive cast, or the first three books have already put you off, A Feast for Crows is not for you. However if youíre a George R.R. Martin and A Song of Ice and Fire fan thereís nothing to worry about and lots to enjoy.
Review by clong (2007-07-06)
After five years of waiting, this book was bound to be a bit of a letdown after the superb A Storm of Swords. And it is indeed a letdown.
Which is not to say that it is bad: Martin continues to deliver interesting characters and storytelling. But after almost 700 pages, it felt like the overall story for the series had not moved forward much (which sounds fighteningly similar to what happened to Robert Jordan when he hit book 6 of WoT), and we had seen neither hide not hair of my favorite characters in the series (again, this brings to mind Jordan's mid-series meanderings). Indeed, the author has admitted that this is only half a book--though not surprisingly, it still costs as much as a whole book.
Instead we get lots of pages of moderately interesting Iron Islands and Dorne storylines, more than we really needed of an increasingly ludicrous Cersei, Brienne's search for Sansa (I very much want to like Brienne, but her story here is fairly tedious), Sam getting sick on boats, Jaime's search for purpose and perhaps redemption (the most compelling storyline in this book, imo), and a bit of an update on Arya (who is doing interesting things) and Sansa (who is not).
After three books this felt like a candidate to be the BEST FANTASY SERIES EVER. After A Feast of Crows, it feels more like a series stuck in neutral. But I have no doubts I'll be lined up to get book 5 when it hits bookshelves.
Review by archaic (2007-01-31)
It saddens me to say that this book did not meet the ASoIaF standards. The first 500 or so pages were slow paced and just dragged on and on unlike the previous books. Around page 600 was when the book really took off. All the unpredictable plots and unimaginable changes of events occurred that ASoIaF fans have come to love.
The only stories I found interesting in this book were Cersei's and Jaime's. Arya's story was(in my opinion)a waste of time. Her chapters never seemed to add anything to the story (unless they are building up to something in the future). Brienne's story was also rather dull.
This was still a great read but just not as good as one would think.
Review by lennartvanheel (2006-08-16)
First off, I have to say that this last part of the superb series A Song of Ice and Fire is not the most exciting one we've seen so far. That said, it still is a good book and a fascinating read with many promises for the future.
The main reason for the relapse in comparison with the previous books, apart from the previous books being exceptionally good, is the fact that this is only half a book. GRRM wrote twice as much but could not fit everything in one book. As a result, half of the (most interesting) characters are not even in this book. Then again, new characters emerge and the book seems to have become a nice build-up for the rest of the story.
Although the book did not have the brilliance of some of the earlier books in the series I enjoyed it thoroughly and cannot wait until the next part comes out.
Review by halfthere (2005-12-30)
George R.R. Martin's A Feast For Crows departs slightly from his last three books in the excellent Song of Ice and Fire series, and in a rather unfortunate way. While in the last three the intrigue was constant, the plot always moving, and the tension ratcheting up again as soon as anything seemed secure, this time we are treated to a rather slow progress in the plot.
There are eight main stories which we follow. First is the story of Cersei in King's landing, where all sorts of intrigue occurs. Much of it is perpetuated by her, but behind all that we see utter, raving paranoia. She gives especially harsh scrutiny to the Tyrells, who she thinks are stealing her son and power and must say so about five times a chapter. This is a mother gone bad. Second is Arya in Bravos, training under the faceless men. I've always been fond of her character, and so I can't justly complain that we basically get more of the same. Third is Sansa, now called Alayne, under the rather lecherous protection of Petyr Baelish AKA Littlefinger. In much the same way that Cersei is a charicature of paranoia, Sansa is sketched as a very obvious pawn. Fourth is Brienne, maid of Tarth, chasing dubious leads on her quest to find Sansa.
These first four stories, of the women of Westeros, bear one thing in common. Exactly one thing of relevance occurs in each, setting up four excellent cliffhangers for the next book (actually book 6 since book 5 will not cover them). The substance is sadly lacking, even though it promises to retun full force next time we see them.
We also follow the progress of Jaime, first in the castle and then wandering up to Riverrun to capture it and end the protracted seige. So to do we spend time with Sam in Bravvos as he seeks passage to Oldtown, perpetually stuck in his dull and dreary hotel room with dying maester Aemon. The other two stories are in places rather than following people. The Iron Islanders' new king and subsequent conquest provide most of the sparse military action in this installment, while down in Dorne we watch some rather intriguing but disproportionately space-consuming scheming play out.
Every plot gives rich promises for what will happen in the next story, but do little more than fill our minds with sugarplums. Only Jaime, as he struggles to find a place for himself without his sword hand, and perhaps sansa who learns from Littlefinger even as she is complicit in his plots, deserve the full amount of time spent on them. The other plots grow long-winded to a greater or lesser extent, as they talk and talk but don't say a whole lot.
Review by bkedryna (2005-12-29)
I was slightly disappointed with this book. I read on the author's web site that he wrote too much and still didn't finish writing, which is why he decided to split it in two books (the other one coming out next year). But he didn't want to "tell half the story for all the characters" in this book, so he decided to "tell the whole story for half the characters". To me, this was a mistake. The other characters should have been mixed into this book, at least a little, and I don't see a need to finish the story for some of these characters in this book, either. I think the result of this choice is negative, this book isn't as good as the previous three.
Still, it is one of the best books out there, overall. But anyone who read the first 3 doesn't needed to be convinced to read this one, and anyone who hasn't done that should definitely do it first.
Review by MaLuoDan (2005-11-05)
As good as the last three books, but it feels a bit stalled, plotwise.
Part of what makes this series so compelling is that it is all shades of grey instead of black and white, good and evil. In Crows, you spend a lot of time with Cersei and Jamie, which is nice in that it helps reinforce that those we might consider "evil" are people just like the "good" ones, and they have their own motivations and fears.
I missed some of the others, though, and I was disappointed that we don't get to see them much through the book.
All in all, I found it to be as good of a read as the other books in the series, but I wish the plot had advanced a bit more.