Amber’s Goodreads review of A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4)A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn’t like this one as much as the previous three, and not just because “none of my favorites are in it! Where’s Dani/Jon/Tyrion? :(” In this one we get to follow (not nearly enough of) Arya, another fave of mine, and a little of a new favorite, Asha Greyjoy. Seriously, I don’t see how anyone can accuse Martin of misogyny given the wealth of strong/dynamic/complex female characters. Asha is great, ballsy and witty, and I love her.

We also follow Jaime some more, and Sansa, who is definitely growing up some. And though Littlefinger is a scoundrel, I can’t help but like him a little. It’s the wit and intelligence thing again. I actually enjoyed Samwell Tarly’s journey more than I thought I would. Brienne is all right and Jaime grows ever less awful, but there’s one POV character who bucks the trend of being more sympathetic as we see things from their side, and that’s Cersei.

That’s one of the satisfying parts of this installment: we get to see Cersei spiral down in “wicked queen from Snow White” style, plotting against the “younger, prettier” queen, Margaery Tyrell. She makes enemies of friends and sends away good counselors and able officers because of their connections to Highgarden, installing bumblers in their place; feels herself constantly surrounded by either enemies or fools; constantly makes foolish decisions she thinks are so smart and clever that turn around and bite her in the ass (like re-arming the Faith); and acts less like her father (as she prides herself on believing) than another Mad King Aerys. Littlefinger put it so well that I laughed out loud: “Cersei stumbles from one idiocy to the next, helped along by her council of the deaf, the dim, and the blind. I always anticipated that she would beggar the realm and destroy herself, but I never expected she would do it quite so fast.” (pg 892).

And yes, I know that she’s a product of her upbringing, raised to be an over-proud lion who believes she’s owed the world. Thanks, Tywin, for that. And she’s had a hard time of it, not getting to marry Rhaegar and having to put up with that brute, Robert. That doesn’t excuse anything. “I’m just doing it to protect my son” is what she tells herself, but overall she seems more concerned with keeping hold of the throne so she can be the queen she was “supposed” to be and was cheated of. I suppose we’ll find out in time if all the Tyrells really were plotting against her (aside from the plot we learned of last book, with Oleanna’s scheme and Joffrey’s demise) or she’s being overly paranoid, but that’ll be another book away, since the next one focuses on all the characters left out of this installment.

Again, I can see how what I think of as the “soap opera method” of spending a little time with this character, barely getting anywhere, then on to the next, keeps people reading, but I have a horrible habit of wanting to flip ahead to see what happens next to the person I was just reading about, and this style makes it really hard to resist. I can also see why Martin chose to do the “half the people in this book” thing, because otherwise it would have been one chapter per person, and we hardly would’ve gotten anywhere. I’m lucky: I started this series after he started writing them again. I feel for all the people who read the note in the back about he “devoutly hopes” A Dance With Dragons would be out the next year (2006) when it didn’t come out until 2011. Sometimes being late to the party is a good thing.

Overall, there is a lot of interesting stuff going on but the pace seems really slow compared to the last three. I think it’s probably a symptom of trying to show us what’s going on everywhere with everyone. It’s still good, just not amazing, and of course essential if you want to know what’s happening as the series goes on. We’ll see how the next one turns out.

View all my reviews

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~ by Amber on November 9, 2013.

One Response to “Amber’s Goodreads review of A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin”

  1. […] Amber’s Goodreads review of A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin (ambermarshall.wordpress.com) […]

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