I Do Not Read Books (7): A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin

It's Halloween so Fernando decided to step in while I eat a lot of candy and "awww" over little kids in superhero costumes. Funnily enough he decided to review the book I'm currently in the middle of reading! Anyway he doesn't read a lot of novels, thus the title of the series, but you can read all the reviews he's written here. However, if he continues to enjoy the books he reads, I might turn him into a reader yet!

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice & Fire #4)
George RR Martin

Bantum Books
Released October 2006
1060 pages
Epic Fantasy / Magic

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With A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth volume of the landmark series that has redefined imaginative fiction and stands as a modern masterpiece in the making.

After centuries of bitter strife, the seven powers dividing the land have beaten one another into an uneasy truce. But it's not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters of the Seven Kingdoms gather. Now, as the human crows assemble over a banquet of ashes, daring new plots and dangerous new alliances are formed while surprising faces—some familiar, others only just appearing—emerge from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges of the terrible times ahead. Nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages, are coming together to stake their fortunes...and their lives. For at a feast for crows, many are the guests—but only a few are the survivors. 

Well, this review has been a long time coming. I read this book a long while back. I waited such a long time because I wanted some objective space between me and the review. Doesn't sound good, does it? The previous three books in George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire make up a nice, neat trilogy package. And then you get this fourth book. First I did enjoy the fourth book. Second, I knew before going into that some of the characters that I have enjoyed so much were not going to be in this installment. What?! For those of you who do not know, here is the back story.

George had planned his epic to be 2 trilogies. One trilogy is made up by his first three books, and the second trilogy was meant to happen some 5 years later. However Martin abandoned that, and instead he picks up the forth book after the third book and writes and writes and writes. His manuscript ends up so large that it must be split.

This is where Martin makes a bold choice. He splits the book by character geography not by character chronology. So, a majority of the plot from this book overlaps with A Dance with Dragons, the next book. Follow that? The crux is that this results in many chapters that focus on new characters and some of the favorites are left for the next book.

This book should not be thought of as a sequel. Instead it is an expansion of the universe and adding some great new characters. I had a tough time with this book. It does bring in some great elements, but it does so by sacrificing the buildup that has been going on for the last three books. I may feel differently after the conclusion of the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Had I written this review immediately after I finished the book, I would have been very disappointed. I won’t spoil it by telling you the characters that are not in this book.  So, I will concede it’s not the best book in the series thus far; however, my thoughts have changed because I don’t think of it as a sequel. Instead I look at it as the introduction to different plot points in an ever expanding universe.

If you have read the first three books in the series, then you are going to read this book because it’s an important piece in the plot and a necessity before reading A Dance with Dragons. Do not let the pace of this book or the lack of some of your favorite characters deter you from finishing it. Now that I have finished both A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, I appreciated this book much more. It’s not my usual stunning endorsement of the series, but it’s also the first blemish.