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A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4) Paperback – October 30, 2007
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"The only fantast series I'd put on a level with J.R.R. Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings…. It's a fantasy series for hip, smart people, even those who don't read fantasy…. If you're new to the series, you must begin with Book 1, A Game of Thrones. Once you're hooked…. you'll be like the rest of us fans, gnawing your knuckles until book 5”—Marta Salij, Detroit Free Press
“THE MOST impressive modern fantasy, both in terms of conception and execution, is George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire.… A masterpiece that will be mentioned with the great works of fantasy.”—Contra Costa Times
"Long-awaited doesn’t begin to describe this fourth installment in bestseller Martin's staggeringly epic Song of Ice and Fire."—Publishers Weekly
"Grabs hold and won't let go. It's brilliant."—Robert Jordan
"Such a splendid tale and such a fantistorical! I read my eyes out."—Anne McCaffrey
"Fantasy fans will feast!"—Associated Press
From the Back Cover
A Feast for Crows
It seems too good to be true. After centuries of bitter strife and fatal treachery, the seven powers dividing the land have decimated one another into an uneasy truce. Or so it appears....With the death of the monstrous King Joffrey, Cersei is ruling as regent in King's Landing. Robb Stark's demise has broken the back of the Northern rebels, and his siblings are scattered throughout the kingdom like seeds on barren soil. Few legitimate claims to the once desperately sought Iron Throne still exist--or they are held in hands too weak or too distant to wield them effectively. The war, which raged out of control for so long, has burned itself out.
But as in the aftermath of any climactic struggle, it is not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters start to gather, picking over the bones of the dead and fighting for the spoils of the soon-to-be dead. Now in the Seven Kingdoms, 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--are seen emerging from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges ahead.
It is a time when the wise and the ambitious, the deceitful and the strongwill acquire the skills, the power, and the magic to survive the stark and terrible times that lie before them. It is a time for nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages to come together and stake their fortunes...and their lives. For at a feast for crows, many are the guests--but only a few are the survivors.
- Publisher : Bantam; Reprint edition (October 30, 2007)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 784 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0553582038
- ISBN-13 : 978-0553582031
- Item Weight : 1.65 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.1 x 1.31 x 9.2 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #84,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The story line deviates from that of the TV series enough to make it fresh even if you watch the latter. I spent time checking maps and websites to firm up my understanding of what went by in a blur on TV.
This series is too long by half. Martin unnecessarily draws out scenes involving minor characters, and constantly introduces avoidable new ones. The cast of characters is so long it occupies nearly 10 percent of this volume. Martin has managed, though, to create a whole world, one even wider and more developed than Tolkien’s Middle Earth, and in its many shades of gray more realistic and adult than the latter. I must credit him.
I found, say, a chapter on Arya’s wandering through Braavos, selling shellfish to many as she gathers information, to be quite evocative and beautiful. Martin could have covered this episode in her saga in a few paragraphs, but instead took a longer and more artistic option, and the result is quite lovely.
This story begins after Tyrion Lannister murders his father Tywin and flees. His sister Cersei Lannister, still Regent but now in charge with her powerful father gone, needs a new Hand to replace him. Her brother Jaime won’t take it, earning her resentment, and catalyzing a growing rift between the two.
For Jaime’s own part he’s jealous over the infidelities of his twin, whom he incestuously loves. Others turn her down too. Cersei is fun to read, but truly an evil queen. We don’t dismiss her, though, because the theme of this vicious game is what it takes to seize power and hold it, and what happens to those who lose. Our world isn’t that different, and we have to ask ourselves, if we were in Cersei’s place, might we make the same choices?
Not wanting Jaime around, Cersei sends him north to secure the huge, strategic Harrenhal castle and to take Riverrun, where the last Tully brother holds out. The TV series didn’t develop the siblings’ growing alienation as much, or Jaime’s realization of the monster his sister is becoming.
Sansa and Littlefinger hole up at the Eyrie. Sansa must keep a secret - that Littlefinger murdered his bride Lisa Arryn - and deceive Arryn bannermen, suspicious of this newly arrived usurper. Sansa sees the depth of Littlefinger’s corruption: he murdered Lisa to protect Sansa, but had planned to all along to seize power over the fief.
Arya arrives in Braavos, finds the House of Black and White, and finally wins their trust enough to begin training as an assassin. She is ordered to eradicate every trace of her former self, but nurtures deep down her secret dream of revenge.
Sam endures a harrowing voyage south to shelter Gilly and her baby with Sam’s family. They lay over in Braavos, where Sam encounters Arya without either realizing their connection through Jon Snow. They are stranded when the Night Watch’s aged maester they accompany - one of the last of the royal Targaryens - is too sick to go on. Sam gloms to Gilly’s tragic secret as he searches desperately to get to Oldtown and the Citadel.
In the Iron Islands, with Balon Greyjoy dead, a new king must be chosen by the people. Balon’s niece Asha throws her hat in, but too few ironborn will accept a woman leader. Another of Balon’s brothers, now high priest, desperately tries to stop another brother, the wicked Euron - whom readers know murdered Balon - from becoming king. A third brother contends but doesn’t have Euron’s ability to sway a crowd. The TV show had Asha’s brother Theon involved here, but in the book he’s been MIA for a couple of volumes.
Brienne roams the riverlands searching for Sansa, trying not to name and thus endanger her. Brienne must endure men resentful of a woman knight, including Sam’s nasty father Randyll Tarly, who’s scouring outlaws from the war-ravaged land. It’s a lot easier when it comes to blows, since the towering Brienne can vanquish almost any man she fights.
The book develops, much further than the TV show, the Sand Snakes plotting in Dorne against their crippled and cautious uncle. They want revenge against the Lannisters for their father’s death. Cersei’s daughter Myrcella is a Martell hostage and a pawn in the game. The focus on TV is the prince’s colorfully violent bastard nieces, but here it’s on his more conventional daughter Arienne, who plays a high-stakes game using her feminine wiles on Myrcella’s bodyguard, Arys Oakheart of Jaime’s officially celibate King’s Guard.
Back in King’s Landing, Cersei surrounds herself with mediocrities after alienating those few good people who might have helped her. She wants to eliminate her young son’s bride, Margaery Tyrell, as a rival. She fears the latter aims to depose Cersei through the boy king she increasingly influences.
We don’t see Tyrion, Daenarys, Jon, Stannis, the Onion Lord, or Bran (I don’t miss him, he bores me, along with his frog-gigging companions), but the story still drew me in.
Westeros is a chaotic mess after years of civil war. Much of it, particularly the central Riverlands, is a smoking, corpse-choked ruin, full of orphans, broken people and bandits. There are rumors of dragons across the sea.
Make no mistake, this is still a novel worth reading and I am still captured by the whole Game of Thrones saga. But the author could have done much better and that makes this one frustrating. RJB.
But I look forward to the next book anyway, and will order it tonight. So, here's hoping to return to the good action again.
Last night I watched the TV show as usual....nothing has dimmed my interest there. JON SNOW TOUCHED THE DRAGON'S FACE !! So they can do anything or kill anybody off now, I have seen the best part.
Top reviews from other countries
As plots, intrigue and battle threaten to engulf Westeros,
victory will go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel
and the coldest hearts..."
Jesus, A Feast for Crows is massive! I am exhausted... (Which is why I'll probably keep this review short. That and I'm lazy...)
For the fourth entry in A Song of Ice and Fire, Martin pulls back the pace and ups the scale. We're definitely more contemplative as Westeros tries to manage the consequences of the war for the Iron Throne, a war that threatens to reignite at every turn. It's both a good and bad thing. It's good because A Feast of Crows returns to its harrowing focus on politics and paranoia as some try to ensure their claims and others try to extend theirs, and bad because a lot of immediacy and accuracy are lost.
Overall, however, Martin brings another epic entry to the table, spinning webs with countless spiders, and all of them are ravenous...
SPOILER WARNING (Should only be for the synopsis, and they won't be too surprising.)
Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)
The Lannisters reign supreme, for the most part.
War has been reduced to embers and the Iron Throne has its king, but for how long?
From the ashes arise new contentions, new plots and new enemies.
Battles have moved from the field back to the shadows and whispers.
Cersei fights to remain Queen; Jaime hunts for his purpose; Brienne searches for the lost; the Iron Isles elect a new and terrifying king; Sansa remains hidden; and Arya continues her training under the Many-Faced God.
But not all of them can have their happy endings.
Some will have to watch their nightmares come to life and devour them piece by bloody piece...
Plot - 4/5 Stars
There are a lot of aspects to A Feast for Crows, but I'll try to keep things succinct. With the war dying down, our distinctive characters are far from safe. A shadow war is waged and fought in whispers. Shady politics rule as everyone tries to get ahead of one another. It's probably the most engaging part of the plot, and reminds me of this series' first entry: A Game of Thrones.
In most ways that's what we're back to. The story sets up mostly new threads as the old ones burn. A consequence of having A Storm of Swords as a predecessor is that this entry comes across less focused and unsure of itself. The previous novel is sharp and shocking, with huge events capitalising on a lot of plots. A Feast for Crows, while exciting, is a little scattered. There is an abundance of repetition, and sometimes I started a chapter almost identical to the last.
In saying that, there are so many wonderful things that it's worth it. Suspense and tension are phenomenal bedfellows as you adventure through the story. The land is tenuous and rife with danger, ensuring every corner leaves your heart in your throat.
Pace - 4/5 Stars
Slow and steady, even when we come to some chilling cliffhangers the pace never picks up from its wander. It's rarely a hardship, due in large part to Martin's beguiling writing and lovable cast, but I recommend taking A Feast for Crows sparingly.
Try to fly through it and it'll consume you.
Characters - 4/5 Stars
We meet a plethora of new cast members this time around, and for the majority they're fantastic. The author has a way with backgrounds and personalities that make every character feel like the most important one in the entire series. We also focus on some familiar faces we haven't seen much insight to. They've been prevalent in previous novels, but A Feast for Crows gives us a better look at their mindsets and plans.
There are notable viewpoints missing: Jon Snow, Tyrion and Daenerys. I definitely missed them, but I'm content enough with what we're given. Of those we are, the progression and development are, as always, sensational. A Feast for Crows might not blow your socks off with its epic-ness, but it will satisfy you with its enthralling character studies.
Writing - 4.5/5 Stars
Apart from some sayings you'll find used over and over again, Martin shines as the wordsmith that he undeniably is. His attention to detail, the story's continuity, the characters' development, are all staggering. You can sometimes feel a little overwhelmed by the amount of information you're handed, but it gives you something to mull over in your quieter moments.
Overall - 4/5 Stars
Not my most favourite entry, but a slouch it is not. For medieval fantasy full of magic, politics and palpable paranoia, you could do a hell of a lot worse.
Right, these books are an excellent idea, the characters are brilliant, but the execution sucks! If these books were a rock album, they'd be anything by Meat Loaf: overblown, great swathes of huge talent, mixed in equal measure by utter tedium. If this book was half it's given size, it would be amazing, but I ended up getting irritated by the excessive detail, banners, family histories and micro descriptions. Half the time I shouted at the narrative to get on with it. That said, curiosity will make me read the rest, having got this far, but I don't suppose the formula will change much.
So, the story more or less progresses with Cersei, Jamie, Brienne, Sam, Asha, and maybe a few others, if only it happened with a bit more pace.
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