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Book review: A Feast for Crows - Phil's Rambling Rants — LiveJournal
March 20th, 2006
03:09 pm

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Book review: A Feast for Crows
Today's book review is A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin.

This is volume four of Martin's epic A Song of Ice and Fire.  Don't try to start in the middle.  It was perhaps a mistake for me to read Crows without re-reading A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, and A Storm of Swords, because it's been so long since Swords came out, but I read too slowly and these are long books.  If you haven't started reading the series yet, you may want to wait until it's actually finished, if you'd rather read a whole stack of 700 page books than sit around frustrated, waiting impatiently for the next one with the rest of us.

This book is definitely another chip off the same block as the earlier ones in the series.  Martin's writing is so rich and compelling that he sucks you into his world completely, and it's a delight to read even as almost everything that happens is horrible.  Psychopathic villains are fascinating.  Stalwart heroes are brave and delightful, and usually come to horrible ends.  As with the earlier volumes, Crows jumps between many viewpoint characters, advancing their stories significantly, but by the end of the book, the overall story hasn't advanced very far, and we're still waiting on the edge of our seats to see what happens next in each of a double handful of subplots -- not even counting the characters left hanging in earlier books that stay offstage in this volume.  Westeros is still in the most interesting times imaginable, even a little more interesting than they were after the first three books; you really wouldn't want to live there (unless you're a crow), but for all the frustration and lack of conclusion, it's still a lot of fun to read, because chapter by chapter the story is told so damn well.

Maybe not quite as good as the earlier volumes, but if not it's certainly very close.  Don't expect a conclusion, but if you're ready for more adventures along the way, don't wait.  A Dance with Dragons is supposed to be along in another year -- and they're no longer billing it as the conclusion either, just a continuation.  For all there is to be frustrated about, I still have to give this a 9 out of 10.

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From:singlemaltsilk
Date:March 20th, 2006 09:53 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad you enjoyed it, but I can't believe we read the same book. Maybe I *shouldn't* have re-read the first three volumes.
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From:tigertoy
Date:March 20th, 2006 10:58 pm (UTC)
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Would you care to be more specific? I was disappointed, at the end, that the overall story hadn't advanced very far and that most of the individual characters were still (or should I say once again) dangling from various cliffs by their fingernails -- but I enjoyed it too much while I was reading it.
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From:singlemaltsilk
Date:March 21st, 2006 01:06 am (UTC)
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I wrote briefly about it here back in November. I understand GRRM's stated reasons for splitting the book, I just don't feel that he made it work. Given what AFFC delivers story-wise, I find it awfully hard to justify the 784 pages he took to do it.

I expected better. I'll probably pick up the next volume when it comes out, but if Dragons is more of the same, I"m afraid that's it for me.
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From:tigertoy
Date:March 21st, 2006 06:28 am (UTC)
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I'm pretty sure I didn't read it then, because there was a spoiler warning and I didn't want to have spoilers (although nothing you actually said would really have upset me, I figure it's better safe than sorry when someone gives a spoiler warning). I can't argue with what you said, but even though several of the stories in this volume seemed to be filler in the grand scheme of things, I couldn't help hanging on every word.

I think my single biggest frustration was that Tyrion never appeared in the book, even though I had heard GRRM less than a year ago read a chapter about Tyrion which he said was from Crows. For the first few hundred pages, I kept turning pages hoping that I'd see a new chapter that said "Tyrion". I despise the little varmint, but I'm still fascinated by his story.
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