Saturday, 17 December 2005

Book Review: A Feast For Crows (George R.R. Martin)

Finally, after three weeks, my Hopefully-Weekly Book Review is back! Yup, it's taken me that long to finish A Feast For Crows, but it was all good...



If you haven't read the first three books of The Song of Ice and Fire, you might want to skip this review, because
there are some SPOILERS HERE!

Title: A Feast for Crows (Book 4 of A Song of Ice and Fire)
Author: George R. R. Martin

The war-torn landscape of the Seven Kingdoms is threatened by destruction as vast as any in its violent past. The War of the Five Kings has ripped Westeros apart.

The bloodthirsty, treacherous and cunning Lannisters occupy the Iron Throne, with allies as ruthless as themselves. Lord Frey was host at the Red Wedding, so called for the massacre of the guests, their screams unheard above the music of the feast.

Euron Crow's Eye is as black a pirate as ever raised a sail, sworn to deliver the whole of Westeros to the ironborn. No less to be feared are their enemies. The Starks of Winterfell and the Martells of Dorne seek vengeance for their dead.

And the last of the Targaryens, Daenerys Stormborn, will bring fire and blood to King's Landing when her young dragons reach their terrifying maturity. The last war fought with dragons was a cataclysm powerful enough to shatter the Valyrian peninsula, now a smoking, demon-haunted ruin half drowned by the sea.

Against a backdrop of alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel! and the coldest hearts.

What I liked
  • FINALLY! We get to know what happened next!
  • Fooyor. Power politics, best I've read in a fantasy book.
  • I love how the different Houses have different characters, histories and traditions.
  • Lots of twists and turns

What I didn't liked:
  • So... many... names... ARGH! After THREE YEARS you expect me to rememebr all those?!?!?!
  • Where the heck are Jon, Daenerys and Tyrion?!?!?!
  • My head is swimming from all the politicking
  • Book... is... so... HEAVY.

What I think:

After THREE LONG YEARS, finally we get the newest book in Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. The series is one of the best modern fantasy series I've read (next to Robin Hobb's books), and I couldn't wait to get my grubby hands on this one.

Problem was, because it's been so long since A Storm of Swords, I'd pretty much nearly forgot all the names of the characters and a little bit of the story. So while reading this book, I got lost a little. There are so many characters and so many sub-plots that I had to struggle to remember them, and eventually had to flip through the last book's apendix where all the characters' names and history were all detailed nicely.

Even then, several of the main characters were not in this book much. Martin supposedly broke up his original book into A Feast for Crows and the upcoming A Dance of Dragons, because it got too long.

So what we get here is a little tying up of knots of the sub-main characters like Sansa and Arya Stark, Brienne of Tarth, Cersei and Jamie Lannister, and the struggle for the Throne of the Iron Isles.

The politics are laid on thick here, and no one character is sacred enough NOT to be killed in the next page. Throughout the entire series, you never know what will happen next, because of all th complicated politics, and the twists and turns that range from medieval battles to the plain fantastical.

I WAS dissapointed that there was so little of Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow though. Those two were my favorite characters in the whole series. Although the next book will probably just be about them and Daenerys.

The first half of the book is mostly building up the stories, which makes you wonder when he's gonna get to the point, but then when the twists and the climax comes in the end, you'll be shocked by the brilliance of it all. THAT'S what Martin is so good at - building up the story and then slapping everyone else in the face with a brilliant climax that will shock you and make you wanna know what happens next NOW NOW NOW PLEASE GIVE ME THE NEXT BOOK NOW NOW NOW!!! ARGH!! GAH!!! ARGH!!!!


A word of warning though. Refresh your memory by reading the apendix for the last books. It'll help, trust me.

It may be slower fantasy fare for those use to lighter stuff, but get through it, and you'll be longing for more. Sword fights? Epic battles? Not much of that here. What it DOES have, is endless betrayal, chopping off of heads, lots of intrigued, incest, raping, murder, and so on.

What I love most about this series is that it is a rolicking politicking fantasy story like no other. All the twists and turns, the politics and the interaction between each and every one of the characters have their own motivations and plots, making the story SO intriguing.

I just hope Martin REALLY gets A Dance of Dragons out ASAP...

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