Title: A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire Book #4
Author: George R. R. Martin
Genre: Fantasy, Swords and Sorcery
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 faces—some familiar, others only just appearing—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 guests—but only a few are the survivors.
A Feast for Crows gets a lot of flack from readers for being the “worst” in the series. Maybe it’s because I had no spoilers going in, or maybe I’m just strange, but I’ve found Crows to be the best book so far in the series.
The book focuses on the stories of Cersei, Jaime, Samwell, Arya, Sansa, Brienne, and a crowd of characters from Dorne. Personally, all of these people are some of my favorites. I adore Samwell, Sansa, and Brienne, I find the sand snakes of Dorne and Arya fascinating, and Jaime and Cersei are terribly twisted and compelling. Of course I know I’m in the minority here; a lot of people hate my favorite characters. But I guess that explains why I adored this book so much.
As always, the plots were all woven beautifully together, and I felt myself tensing whenever I ran over a bit of foreshadowing. My favorite subplot of all, however, was that of Lady Stoneheart, and I can’t tell you how furious I am that the writers of the Game of Thrones HBO series said that the idea is stupid and they wouldn’t put it in the show (then again, they’ve also diminished every character into a simplistic archetype, but that’s a rant for another post).
The largest parallels in the book seem to lie in women’s identities and struggles for power. It was fantastic to read about, as the concept is often underrated or oversimplified, but Martin did a wonderful job of showing the differences between the Westerosi women and how they fight, manipulate, and achieve.
If there’s anything to complain about, it’s the same issues I have with the other books: there’s too much world. I often stumble across names while I’m reading that I know I know, but I can’t place them. I’m definitely not going to Google them, though; I don’t feel like seeing more spoilers. So, all those interlocking subplots can get muddled when you forget who’s who. For the most part, however, I didn’t have too much of an issue.
I found A Feast for Crows to be the best book in the series. While there were fewer “big” events (i.e. Red Wedding, Ned’s beheading), I adored the buildup and the attention to characters, especially those I love. Without a doubt, Crows will be going on my favorite books list.