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Overview With A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth volume of the landmark series that has redefined imaginative fiction and stands as a modern masterpiece in the making.
After centuries of bitter strife, the seven powers dividing the land have beaten one another into an uneasy truce. But it's not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters of the Seven Kingdoms gather. Now, as the human crows assemble over a banquet of ashes, daring new plots and dangerous new alliances are formed while surprising facesâ€”some familiar, others only just appearingâ€”emerge from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges of the terrible times ahead. Nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages, are coming together to stake their fortunes...and their lives. For at a feast for crows, many are the guestsâ€”but only a few are the survivors.
Reviews Simply put, the entire Song of Ice and Fire series is my favorite (topping even my beloved Gaiman). I fell in love with the series and I obsess about it in the way that some people obsess about Tolkein or Harry Potter.
In my mind, it's the best epic fantasy since Tolkein. Like Tolkein, Martin creates a real world with an extensive history filled with its own languages and cultures and songs. Tolkein's world is high fantasy with elves and magic and even the main characters aren't human. Martin's world is a bit closer to our own world. A lot of it could have been an alternate version of Medieval England, and indeed you can see some inspiration from historical events like the War of the Roses.
Humans are front and center and most of those humans would think magic and monsters only appear in stories that you tell young children (although they're wrong).
The series is filled with Lords and knights and court intrigue. Furthermore, Martin is gifted in his ability to peel away at plots, revealing more and more layers that you didn't expect but probably should have. Every time you think you've got something figured out, you find that there's more to it and -- more imporantly -you find that the author's been hinting about these revelations throughout the entire book. This is not a series you should just skim through. He shows you the answers rather than tells you, and it can be very rewarding.
The book is written from the point of view of many assorted different characters. This allows for many plots to be weaved around and intermingled, but unfortunately it also makes it hard to get started. Because there are so many points of view, it takes a while to get into each character's story arc and to understand how it all fits together and this can make it tough for first-time readers to get started. All I can say is that it's well worth the effort and I'd urge you all to give the series a try. I was fully prepared to be disappointed by this book, for several reasons. First of all, the last book, A Storm Of Swords, ended with a very large cliffhanger and I knew that it was a cliffhanger that wasn't going to be fully explained/explored in this volume.
Additionally, I knew that in general the story was not going to feature the characters that I was most interested in (namely Daenerys, Theon, Tyrion, and especially the whole issue of Jon and the Night Watch). That being said, the volume was surprisely enjoyable, and helped to better explore the entirety of the Seven Kingdoms. There was tons of action in the first three volumes - I was actually a little set back by the amount of violence that was featured in the series altogether. This volume takes a somewhat quieter approach - characters die, but most of the death takes place off-page. Perhaps this means that A Dance With Dragons is going to feature much higher levels of action.
Plot-wise, only certain amounts of progress are made of advancing the plot. We learn nothing more about the advancement of the Others, and no word is made of Daenerys' flight towards the west. Instead we get political maneuverings in King's Landing, and Sam's travel from The Wall to Oldtown. What we do get is quality material, though - I was on the bus when I got to the part of the story that featured Cersei's downfall, and I almost started cackling with joy to see her get her final comeuppance. Also of interest was the expanding story of the Seven Kingdoms, as we learn more about the cultures of both the Iron Islands and of Dorne. Interesting material, definitely, but material that feels much like it is buildup for the eventual landfall of Dany from the east, rather than material in its own right.[return:][return:]One of the benefits of the multiple-POV perspective that Martin employs is that it allows the reader to learn about characters not only from how they see themselves, but how they are viewed by those around them. Cersei Lannister, the most prominent character in AFFC, is the most obvious example of this - when she was presented mostly as a scheming mastermind, but in her POV chapters, she's seen as someone almost paralyzed by paranoia. Similarly, we see
Jaime as either a sterling knight (from Brienne's perspective) or a craven weakling (from Cersei's perspective). When we see Jaime's one POV, though, we see that he thinks he is how Cersei sees him, but he hopes to become what Brienne believes him to be. It's a very effective literary technique, and easily builds suspense and complexity to a story of this size. As with the rest of the Song of Ice and Fire series, I can pick this one up, reread often and most of the time find something new to like or some detail that I didn't notice before fall into place. The series in general is very well-written and the world, the characters, everything has been so developed that it's just fascinating to watch it unfold.
This wasn't my favorite of the books so far and part of the reason I fel this way was that I wanted desperately to find out what was going on from the perspective of some of the viewpoint characters that we won't see until the next book. That being said, I particularly enjoyed the Cersei chapters and finally getting to see things from her point of view. One of the serie's main strengths, in my opinion, is that many of the comparatively "villainous" characters have their own understandable motivations and are eventually fleshed out.
I am rather disappointed with how long it'll likely be before the next installment is published, but when it does I'll definitely be reading it. A Feast of Crows was not as exciting as the last part of series, but I still liked it.
Jaime Lannister is now one of my favorite characters and it was nice to follow him through his chapters. Sansa Stark is finally growing up and her chapters were pretty interesting (although she is still just a toy for bigger players in the Game). That silly, annoying girl from book one is gone. She suffered a lot and had to walk strange paths, but finally we can se her as a true Stark. Arya Stark ended up in a weird place, but I love to read about her, so I was happy to see her as a part of this book. Brienne is another brigh spot of A Feast for Crows. You go girl!
I still hate Cersei, but her chapters were pretty interesting.It was nice to see her loosing power over Jaime and making some bad choices. The only part that was not so interesting were chapters about Iron Islands, for some reason I don't like them at all. Another thing I didn't like was the part with Catelyn - I never liked her in the first place (I have no idea why), but now I like her even less. It is obvious that we will see her again and I'm not too excited about that.
I though about giving this book 4 stars, but I can't - it is still really good, even without some of my favorite characters, and I enjoyed most chapters, so it deserves every one of 5 bright stars. One of the best fantasy fictions I've read, the Song of Ice and Fire series of books is inspired loosely on the War of the Roses (of the 15th century York/Lancaster rivalries) and dosed with touches of fantasy (but not clubbed over the head with it).
Not quite high fantasy, the books follow the time lines of various characters told in connective chapters as they find themselves caught up in the political maneuvering and dealings of the various royal houses and the wars and skirmishes that are caused by them.
The true genius of these books are three fold:
1) The character development is incredible.
2) The story telling is genius. Managing that many characters, backgrounds and connective details that emerge over the life span of the whole series is on a level all its own. George Martin does not get enough credit for his story telling prowess.
3) The unfolding saga is truly on an epic scale while at the same time managing the individual masterfully. You truly get the best of both worlds in this series.
I can't say enough good things about this series. If you're put off by the thought of many characters and long books, don't be. You'll burn through these and beg for more. "A feast for Crows" is the fourth book in the "A Song of Fire and Ice Series."
That he chose to split his story into two books and to arrange his chapters with new characters for the Feast for Crows, is both daring and original, though I expected nothing less from this author whose plot development throughout the book series never stops to surprise me. Personally, I love what he's done, because the story has more suspense, while we get a better understanding of characters like Cersei, Brienne, Jaime and also Littlefinger (who was a bit obscure in the previous books, you never knew what he was up to) and of new places like Dorne and the Iron islands.
George RR Martin is trully a master in creating fictional worlds! Historicallyinspired fictional settings and situations, convincing social structures; his characters are very well developed and, in a sense, real. Through all of his books, including this one, he manages to bring his story to life for every reader.
Lastly, Martin has created a fantasy novel series that has relevance to the modern world, important messages to send in between the lines about power and corruption, religious fanaticism, honor and family, a world in crisis... This is the fourth book in the “Song of Ice and Fire” massively complex, zillioncharactered, sweeping saga/fantasy/intrigue opus. I thought I’d NEVER get through #3, which hit at about 1200 pages; this is a mere 978 pages, if you don’t count the 80 pages of Appendix detailing the members of the various Houses strewn all over Westeros, as well as various bands of brigands and the like.
This one is a sort of double-departure from the first three, in that a number of new characters are introduced, notably from the Iron Islands, notably Asha Greyjoy, warrior, ship captain, who is desirous of the crown (Oh, no! A WOMAN seeking the crown, against here BROTHERS?!?!?! Hey, we’re gonna have some tongues wagging and blood shed over THIS little family tiff!). We also have some hijinks in Dorne, the southernmost province of Westeros, largely from the point of view of Arianne Martel, daughter of Prince Dorian, ruler of Dorne; she tries to mutiny
against the regnum there, but gets caught, with some not-so-nice consequences, but with some somewhat surprising potential developments put forth by her father.
At first I was somewhat irritated by these scenarios, mostly because I had just gotten used to, well mostly, knowing the familiar characters and their relationships (well, OK, I bookmarked both the maps, to which I returned frequently, and several parts of that 80 page Appendix, to which I referred almost on a page-bypage basis. However, that irritation settled down after several hundred pages. There notable absences from this book (Jon, Tyrion, Arya save for a brief appearance, Danerys (who is nonetheless referred to in a very important manner), Jon, Bran and Rickon, but in the afterword by George R.R. Martin, he explains that he needed to split the narrative after the events of “A Storm of Swords” in order to accommodate everything he had to say, so they will come back in “A Dance with Dragons.”
In this book, we follow the adventures of plucky Brienne, getting-pluckier-by-theminute Sansa, still-the-Queen-you-love-to-hate Cercei, and “Where’s my hand” Jaime, as well as Samwell Tarly, who certainly grows as a person and a man, from multiple vantage points. And, well, I won’t give it away, but you might want to go and re-read the Epilogue from “Storm of Swords” before starting this one! And we have sieges, battles, and near-misses of characters in their geographic relocations, which adds to the fun.
It takes me a long time to plow through these books, but I still thoroughly enjoy them. Nonetheless, I’m gonna take a break before tackling “Dance with Dragons” (which I hear comes out in paperback next month), just to clear my mind. Certainly highly recommended, but read the first three first. Oh, and I believe the second season of “Game of Thrones” comes out on DVD in the near future too, can’t wait, as I don’t have HBO! Insomnia-inflicting, nail-bitingly intense and breathtakingly epic this truly is a work of pure genius!
George RR Martin has to be one of the greatest fantasy writers of all-time and whose work, in my opinion, is as close to a modern-day version of JRR Tolkien. The depth that the author delves into is quite extraordinary with the extensive
world-building and cleverly crafted, intricately detailed plot as something to admire. The tale that began in ‘Game of thrones’ continues in book 4: A song of ice and fire, with the war still raging in the seven kingdoms and a deep-rooted conflict reaching its pinnacle. This absorbing, exciting read will have you hooked within the first few pages, loosing yourself within a mammoth tale of bittersweet revenge, heated rage and ambition. A master of epic fantasy George RR Martin has produced something so remarkably stunning, of such breathtaking scope, that you will be hard pressed to find something to equal ‘A song of ice and fire’.
Crows will fight over a dead man’s flesh, And kill each other for his eyes.
Bloodthirsty, treacherous and cunning, the Lannisters are in power on the Iron throne in the name of the boy-King Tommen. The war in the seven kingdoms has burned itself out, but in its bitter aftermath new conflicts spark to life. The Martells of Dorne and the Starks of Winterfell seek vengeance for their dead. Euron Crow’s eye, as black as a pirate ever raised a sail, returns from the smoking ruins of Valyria to claim the Iron Isles. From the icy north, where others threaten the Wall, apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly brings a mysterious babe in arms to the Citadel.
Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory will go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel and the coldest hearts…
This slab of a book (854 pages long + appendices) is certainly something to ‘stick your teeth into’ and which will have you glued to the page for hours on end, days and months. As an avid reader of the fantasy genre this is a series that by far outshines many others with its atmospheric, starkly realistic picture that the author captures; purely graphic, bloodthirsty and gritty. Dramatic battle scenes that shake you to the core, heated divergence amidst rulers and great leaders and intense passion – this is an astonishing tale! Never have I been rendered speechless by an author whose accomplished writing ability, and astonishing creative visionary is truly noteworthy for this is a book that gives you Goosebumps.
This is a book that had me lost within a trance for several months, with the hairs on the back of my arms standing on end and with chills running down my spineâ€Śjust an epic masterpiece of sheer brilliance!!
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