"A Feast for Crows" by George R.R. Martin | Book Review
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire (Book #4)
Page Count: 753
First Published: October 17, 2005
When it comes to A Feast for Crows, most people consider it to be their least favorite book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I can certainly see why, and I can't say I loved it as much as A Game of Thrones or A Storm of Swords. However, I still had a lot of fun reading it, so I don't agree with people who say this book was boring and that nothing happened—I just don't think that's true. The main issue here is that some favorite PoV characters are missing from this book: Tyrion, Daenerys, and Jon. We also don't hear from Bran, Theon, or Davos this time around—instead, we are introduced quite a few new PoVs which can be hit or miss.
In general, the way the story works in A Feast for Crows is comparable to A Clash of Kings: in the aftermath of all the craziness that went on in A Storm of Swords, there is a lot of scheming and setup for future events, with some major things happening later in the book. To me, the long-winded setup George R.R. Martin does has always been worth the payoff, so I don't mind watching the characters make their small moves in anticipation of big ones. I also love Martin's writing (as I've mentioned on several occasions before), so where some people get annoyed with descriptions of food and dreams, I pour myself another glass of Dreamwine, slice more cheese, and enjoy the ride. This may not be for everybody, so if you are easily bored by lengthy descriptions—I understand your frustrations, just push through and remember that things will get intense eventually.
Let's talk about the PoVs and storylines. The only Starks we hear from are Sansa and Arya, though they only have 3 chapters each. I enjoyed both of their characters, with Arya having a very intriguing cliffhanger at the end, and Sansa being a bit more of a slow-burning character in a new setting. We also have Sam's PoV back, which is the only way we briefly see Jon. To me, Sam is not the most exciting character, but he's still someone I'm interested in, particularly because of all the mystical elements and lore that always seem to surround him (I suspect this trend will continue because of where he ended up by the end of A Feast for Crows). The last returning character is Jaime, whom I was kind of disappointed with—I still enjoyed seeing his character growth and how differently he responds to things now, but in the grand scheme of things, not much happened with his character.
As for the new PoVs, Brienne of Tarth and Cersei Lannister are actually the top two characters when in comes to the chapter count in this book. Despite the fact that Cersei is pretty much an self-centered bitch, her PoV ended up being one of my favorites in A Feast for Crows. Not only is her character interesting to observe, but there is a very intriguing power shift happening at King's Landing, and I can't wait to see what it leads to. There is also a lot of backstory that has to do with Targaryens and Cersei herself that gets revealed through her, which is something I loved. As for Brienne—her early chapters were hit or miss for me, but the last few had me at the edge of my seat, and the way things ended... wow, I really can't wait to find out what's next. Lastly, there is a mix of PoVs that have to do with House Greyjoy and House Martell. Greyjoys were the bane of my existence because their chapters were the ones I actually found boring, even though it seems like they may have an important role to play later on. On the other hand, I absolutely loved everything that had to do with Martells, and I can't believe how badly their storyline was butchered in season 5 of Game of Thrones. WTF HBO?!
Overall, I still really liked A Feast for Crows, despite its slower parts. While I can agree that it's not the best out of the A Song of Ice and Fire books, it's nowhere near as bad as some people make it sound. As long as you don't go in expecting it to top A Storm of Swords, you will find plenty of things to enjoy. For me, this was a solid 4 out of 5 kind of book, and I cannot wait to get started on A Dance with Dragons.
P.S. If you're a fan of the show and you want to know what I think about the latest season, check out my Best + Worst of Game of Thrones Season 5 video below, and take a look at my Game of Thrones + ASoIaF playlist.