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A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin

A Feast for Crows (2005)

by George R. R. Martin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: A Song of Ice and Fire (4)

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19,379435131 (3.98)459
Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth book of his landmark series, as a kingdom torn asunder finds itself at last on the brink of peace ... only to be launched on an even more terrifying course of destruction. 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 strong will 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.… (more)
  1. 30
    Terrier by Tamora Pierce (swampygirl)
    swampygirl: Reading this book made me feel like I was rereading all of Pierce's books over again, and this one probably matches up the most closely.
  2. 12
    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (Sandwich76)
    Sandwich76: Something ludicrous to cleanse the palate

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Showing 1-5 of 414 (next | show all)
A Feast for Crows was good and interesting enough to be entertaining and keep reading. There was one section where I can honestly say that I got a little bored. Other than that, my attention was "subscribed" to the book so to speak.

The epilogue explains why certain characters were written about in A Feast for Crows and others reserved for A Dance with Dragons. I'm glad that was explained, because I'd hesitate to read another 700 pages of the same characters as A Feast for Crows. ( )
  014 | May 4, 2020 |
(no explicit spoilers herein, but certainly broad ones, and discussion of the plot of previous books.)

I read the first four books in Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" cycle over a three month period, and - as someone who had barely sampled fantasy before this - it was certainly an overwhelming experience! The first and third books were unrelenting in their ingenuity and entertainment, and the second book - although at times slightly slower than the others, due to its initial conception as the middle half of one book - was a worthy intermediary. I went into this, Book 4, aware that once I finished it I'd be waiting impatiently alongside the millions of other readers for the forthcoming Book 5 (thankfully, my wait turned out to be only nine months).

"A Feast for Crows" suffers somewhat from its nature. Books 4 and 5 were originally one book, and that one book came out of an intended five-year-gap in the narrative, which Martin decided to tell. And it feels like it. Many of the storylines here - Brienne, Arya, Sansa, Samwell - feel like they could have been told in flashback without losing any of the important plot points (indeed, I'm not sure there are any important plot points in Brienne's tale this time around. And of the others, the tales of the Iron Islands and that of Jaime, seem again like marginal additions to the story. Only the events of Dorne and King's Landing (as told through the eyes of Cersei Lannister) propel the plot forward.

Of course, that is talking at a basic level. On the other hand, Brienne's tale is in some ways the most expertly told: it is thoughtful and autumnal, one of many examinations of haunting post-war society that we see in these books. This feels like a meditation in the middle of the series, which is fine. The problem is - of course - that it had been five years since the previous book, and another six (hopefully!) until the next one, which itself will probably prove similar, since it is a companion piece. When you know that it will be a hundred or more pages until you see the next, say, Samwell chapter (and thus until you see everyone in his part of the world again), you hope that what you will get will be a worthwhile trip. And while very little happens in this book, it must be said that they continue to deepen the already rich texture of the world of Westeros. It's a pity that Martin found himself struggling to write the stories, as I expect these books would have been more well-received if they had come out on schedule.

Anyway, there are many positives: the rises of some characters, and downfall of others, are appropriate and heart-stopping. As usual, Martin deftly describes the new locales - Dorne, Oldtown, Braavos - and further proves his mastery of rendering a whole world beyond belief. And the complexity of his plotting, particularly in the politics at King's Landing and the Eyrie, is brilliant. His characters and characterisations continue to defy the predictable, and he can still get the better of you with his mischievous surprises. I don't really want to comment on the 'surprise sex' nature of some of the chapters, but if Martin wanted to prove he was more than just a stereotype, maybe he should expand the same-sex intercourse beyond women. Apparently every woman in Westeros will give it up for another at some point in her life, but men are either exclusively straight or gay, and the gay ones (Loras Tyrell, for instance) don't get a point-of-view, or any lovin'.

There are perhaps two major flaws in this book, and both - surprisingly - lie in Martin's literary style. His overwhelming descriptive passages, so appealing in previous books, sometimes come across as self-parody here. Entire pages abounding with descriptions of the banners of every single knight in the room is testing patience enough, I think. But now, characters themselves will do it. One character, for instance, has just been arrested and thrown into jail but - on seeing the first friendly face since her ordeal - takes the time to explain the colour and stylings of the dress she had ripped from her body!

The other issue is that Martin seems to have discovered "medieval-speak" all of a sudden. When the words 'jape' and 'nuncle' started appearing, I thought perhaps it was a linguistic feature of the Iron Islands, which we had never explored in detail before. But suddenly, everyone was using it all the time. (I may be forgetful, but I swear Jaime Lannister has never called anyone 'nuncle' before in his life!) By the end of the book, everyone is 'japing' 'thrice' no matter where they live. At one point, Asha Greyjoy uses the phrase "half a groat". Fair enough. Then, in the next chapter, Cersei uses that phrase at least three times! My feeling is that this book may have been less proof-read than the previous, and it's not as if I'll stop reading the books on account of this, but these words felt like a textural detail that had been suddenly added to the world, and not for the better.

So, I realise I've written a review worthy of Martin's verbosity itself. In closing, I can't really analyse this book until we see its companion piece, "A Dance with Dragons" sometime in (pretty please?) late 2011. It's mostly well-written, and continues to fascinate me. This is a world like no other imagined, and I can understand why it takes the author a long time to render it in glorious detail. But I do hope that once Martin starts on Book 6, getting back to the race-to-the-finish plotting, that he'll feel compelled to publish the books a little quicker. I very much desire to know what is to happen to the Starks, the Lannisters and the Targaryens, but I don't want to be in my dotage before it happens. ( )
  therebelprince | Apr 27, 2020 |
A Feast for Crows continues the battle for the Iron Crown. This was a decent entry into the series but I was kinda of upset that Martin introduced a whole new cast of characters and didn't really tell me anything about what's going on with the millions of characters he'd already given me in the first three books. ( )
  melrailey | Apr 7, 2020 |
The last three (published) novels from A Song of Fire and Ice series take us through seasons four and five and some of season six of the television series Game of Thrones. Whereas the first two novels are essentially word-for-word screenplays for the show, these last three novels contain marked and welcome differences. These differences include expanded roles for some of the characters, new characters who add another layer of complexity, more intrigue, more politics, and many more shades of gray to the tumult.

In the novels, you get a better feel for just how large Westeros is as well as just how far Westeros is from the Free Cities and other locations we visit. Plus, as winter draws near, you see its impact on all of the areas and characters. Snow in King’s Landing, dying grasses in the Dothraki Sea, you get a real sense of the danger winter brings, one that has a more direct impact on a majority of the players versus just those in the north.

One of the other areas for which the novels provide better clarity is the timing of major events. The novels do an excellent job connecting events in King’s Landing to those on the Wall to those in Meereen. They also remind readers that all of the events started with the Baratheon uprising, which occurred less than 20 years before the current events. From a historical perspective, it is a mere blip of time during which there are major changes in alliances, religions, and politics. No wonder everyone is fighting everyone else!

One rather disturbing difference between the novels and the show is the portrayal of females. While the show was not perfect, and could definitely have benefitted from female directors and writers, I still felt like the main female characters were strong, capable, and in need of no man to achieve their goals. Such is not the case with the novels. The women in the novels are weak, driven solely by their emotions. Mr. Martin refers to all of them as silly on more than one occasion, and they all rely on the men in their lives to help them. Even Daenerys and Cersei bow to the wishes of their male advisors, and Brienne of Tarth comes across as just plain pathetic. You get the impression that there is not a single intelligent female in all of Westeros or Essos. What’s worse is the fact that every time Mr. Martin mentions a female, he adds some physical descriptor which usually is something derogatory about her breasts. It is as if in Mr. Martin’s mind, women are only good for sex and nothing else.

From an audiobook perspective, Roy Dotrice remains an average narrator. He differentiates between the large cast of characters by providing each character with a different British Isles accent. The Lannisters tend to sound Scottish while other families have Liverpool accents and yet others sound like they are from Birmingham. (Surprisingly, no one has the nasal affect one associates with the peerage.) It is as good a method as any when faced with such a numerous cast.

Mr. Dotrice’s female voices just plain suck, but I find them fitting given the misogynistic undertones of the series. A Dance with Dragons is the only novel published after the premiere of the television show, and it is the first time where Mr. Dotrice’s pronunciations of names and places match with the show. This leads me to conclude that Mr. Dotrice and Mr. Martin did not collaborate on the audiobook versions since we do know that Mr. Martin was involved in the making of the show, something that surprises me given Mr. Martin’s control over his stories. In the end, it is a small thing, but it does strike me as a bit unusual.

I will say that for all its faults, I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Westeros and Essos. It is a rich fantasy world, something I always appreciate, and I adore the complexity of the story. Like everyone else, I now wait for Mr. Martin to get his act together and finish book six. I am particularly eager to see just how much book six differs from the final season of the show, especially when it comes to the winner of the game of thrones.
  jmchshannon | Apr 2, 2020 |
Not the best book in the series so far but it sets up enough changes that I think I want to read the next one. ( )
  Shack70 | Feb 23, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 414 (next | show all)
In the wrong hands, a big ensemble like this can be deadly, but Martin is a tense, surging, insomnia-inflicting plotter and a deft and inexhaustible sketcher of personalities... this is as good a time as any to proclaim him the American Tolkien.
added by Shortride | editTime, Lev Grossman (Nov 13, 2005)

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
George R. R. Martinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Canty, ThomasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rostant, LarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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for Stephen Boucher wizard of Windows, dragon of DOS without whom this book would have been written in crayon
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"Dragons," said Mollander. He snatched a withered apple off the ground and tossed it hand to hand.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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