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A Song of Ice and Fire #4

A Feast for Crows

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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 a pirate as 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.

1061 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published October 17, 2005

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About the author

George R.R. Martin

1,334 books107k followers
George Raymond Richard "R.R." Martin was born September 20, 1948, in Bayonne, New Jersey. His father was Raymond Collins Martin, a longshoreman, and his mother was Margaret Brady Martin. He has two sisters, Darleen Martin Lapinski and Janet Martin Patten.

Martin attended Mary Jane Donohoe School and Marist High School. He began writing very young, selling monster stories to other neighborhood children for pennies, dramatic readings included. Later he became a comic book fan and collector in high school, and began to write fiction for comic fanzines (amateur fan magazines). Martin's first professional sale was made in 1970 at age 21: The Hero, sold to Galaxy, published in February, 1971 issue. Other sales followed.

In 1970 Martin received a B.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, graduating summa cum laude. He went on to complete a M.S. in Journalism in 1971, also from Northwestern.

As a conscientious objector, Martin did alternative service 1972-1974 with VISTA, attached to Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation. He also directed chess tournaments for the Continental Chess Association from 1973-1976, and was a Journalism instructor at Clarke College, Dubuque, Iowa, from 1976-1978. He wrote part-time throughout the 1970s while working as a VISTA Volunteer, chess director, and teacher.

In 1975 he married Gale Burnick. They divorced in 1979, with no children. Martin became a full-time writer in 1979. He was writer-in-residence at Clarke College from 1978-79.

Moving on to Hollywood, Martin signed on as a story editor for Twilight Zone at CBS Television in 1986. In 1987 Martin became an Executive Story Consultant for Beauty and the Beast at CBS. In 1988 he became a Producer for Beauty and the Beast, then in 1989 moved up to Co-Supervising Producer. He was Executive Producer for Doorways, a pilot which he wrote for Columbia Pictures Television, which was filmed during 1992-93.

Martin's present home is Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (he was South-Central Regional Director 1977-1979, and Vice President 1996-1998), and of Writers' Guild of America, West.


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Profile Image for mark monday.
1,642 reviews5,092 followers
September 25, 2011
Behold: the Ugly Stepchild of A Song of Ice and Fire!
Behold: the Readers of A Feast for Crows: Angry, Sullen, Vengeful!

silly readers. i'm not sure i've ever read such a collection of resentful reviews for one book. one reviewer just decided to repeat the same phrase over and over and over again (sorry Joel, had to say it). another decided to note that "...kids are inherently boring. Kids aren’t clever..." er, wtf?

sigh. i suppose i can understand the backlash. Martin took a long-assed time to put this out into the world and then - WHAT THE HELL - reader favorites Tyrion & Jon Snow & Daenerys have dropped off of this book's radar. but i am also perplexed - despite the loss of these wonderful creations, this is an excellent and challenging novel. come on readers, grow a pair!

personally, i savored this book from beginning to end. the intricate plot, the propulsive narrative, the intelligent world-building, and most importantly the depth of characterization that were all hallmarks of prior volumes are still in place and undiminished in this installment. one of the things that is often overlooked about Martin is that he is a brilliant writer of quality prose. his descriptions are not just lavish, they are often quite beautiful. he has an expert grasp of language; the man knows how to create imagery that is by turns stark, subtly threatening, strangely enchanting, morbid, nostalgic, and ambiguous. the only reason the novel does not earn a top rating from me (but really, who cares anyway) is because of an unfortunately heavy reliance on repetition - mainly of key phrases and dream imagery. still, this novel should stand tall as an excellent continuation of this amazing series.

first and foremost, A Feast for Crows is A Story of the Women of Westeros. because this is set in a medieval land that has very little wish fulfillment in terms of rectifying gender imbalance, it is fated by its own nature to be an unsettling and unfufilling narrative.


The Queen Regent. Cersei Lannister is this series' chief villain and so it was with much anticipation that i approached her POV chapters. they did not disappoint. quite unlike the POV chapters from her formerly villainous twin Jaime, there is not much redemption coming Cersei's way. she's such a fuckin bitch, as the saying goes. she remains cold, grasping, machiavellian, murderous, and extremely petty. she is also incredibly entertaining: a villain in the Grand Old Style, full of swallowed rage and sweetly-uttered put-downs and viciously cruel schemes. she takes to drink and she lets a fellow viper into her bed (which also allows Martin to indulge in an enjoyably laugh out-loud lesbionic interlude). she makes a classic mistake in allowing fanatics to arm themselves. in the end, she literally outsmarts herself, and is the victim of her own foul trap. best of all, she is going crazy! her dreams haunt her, dreams of her death and the deaths of her children. much of her villainous nature is explained by these dreams...what mother wouldn't stop at anything to protect her children? and so Cersei doesn't stop at anything.

but what i mainly took away from her chapters were two important lessons that i learned, oh, years ago, probably in my various college Gender Studies classes. first: a woman in power within a patriarchal structure is a woman in constant battle with her peers. she will not receive the automatic respect granted to men; she will have to "earn it", whatever that even means. she will be constantly reminded that her job is actually to marry and to bear children, and that her position of authority is somehow unnatural, against the natural order of things. i despised Cersei, but i also despised those around her who did not give her the automatic respect a man would have in her position. i appreciate that Martin made this inequity crystal clear: he is against Cersei (of course he is - she's the villain) but he also gives the challenges she faces in her new position a rather timeless quality. gender inequity is timeless.

and the second lesson: a woman who gains power within a patriarchal system by mirroring the gender essentialism that supports that system has, sadly, sublimated that structure as natural and right - and will therefore enact that chauvinism. Women's Studies 101, folks. Cersei does not "challenge gender imbalance" - she supports it. her interior monologues are full of the same bullshit as any sexist dumbass. she despises "weakness" in men. she condemns "slutty" behavior while indulging in it herself. she uses classic chauvinistic tactics to bring down a rival and even-more-classic male brutality to destroy men and women alike. as i mentioned...she's a fuckin bitch! but her character is a fascinating one to contemplate.

The Sand Snakes and The Dorne Princess. i suppose the chapters set in Dorne could contribute to many readers' disengagement with this novel. oh, whatever. i love Dorne! Dorne is the ugly stepchild of Westeros: matrilineal and distantly threatening, with a great big chip on its shoulder. but what a place it is: aggressive and volatile, sure, but also a land where women are automatically given the same respect as men, where a princess is the natural heir to the throne, where bastards are not automatically disrespected. the brief glimpses of the Sand Snakes, despite their inability to start the war they craved, were compelling in how differentiated they were in their various proposals to begin battle. and i also appreciated how fallible Arianne Martell turned out to be: a girl unused to schemes but still scheming away, a seductress who fell in love, a woman loyal to her friends and disinterested in cruelty, an heiress and misguided leader-to-be, one whose time in the limelight approaches.

Sansa/Alayne and Arya/Cat. sometimes a girl has to literally convince herself that she is someone else, simply to survive. sometimes a girl has to forget the parts of her that make her herself, in order to achieve her goals. of course in one case, this is a girl who has lived her life as a pathos-ridden pawn. in the other case, we have a girl who is slowly losing her humanity as she becomes a kind of living weapon. eh, so what? they both have my full support. go Sansa & Arya, go! survive this series, you can do it!

Catelyn/Stoneheart. and sometimes a woman fails. to accomplish her goals, to protect her loved ones, to save her children. i imagine that some women can get past this and can go on to define themselves anew. and other women cannot, or do not. they swallow their bitterness but do not forget: it becomes their fuel, their purpose for being. it can turn a heart to stone. and, um, it probably doesn't help having your throat slashed at your brother's wedding and then being revived as a monstrous quasi-zombie. and so Catelyn becomes a dread avenger, and not a pretty one. she is a killer without regard to reason or even justice, and she turns Dondarrion's Merry Men into a grim and bloodthirsty cabal. i never thought i'd see Thoros be so sad, so lost. i never thought Lemoncloak could be such an uncaring asshole. i never thought Catelyn would hang an innocent woman or a mere lad. well, i suppose that's what can happen. so i know that Brienne survives, that's obvious. but if Podric Payne dies, i'm coming after you, George Martin!

The Maid of Tarth. i saved one of my favorite characters of the series for last. i don't think Brienne is a lot of readers' favorite; i assume they find her constant integrity and her equally constant naivete, repetitiousness, and lack of imagination to be tedious. but that's not how i feel! i loved her from beginning to (probably not her) end. there is such genuine realism to her loyal, awkward, lovelorn character. she is a warrior woman, but this means nothing in male-dominated Westeros except constant and automatic disrespect. she is, i suppose, "physically unattractive" and is constantly reminded of that by nearly every person she meets. she is always Doing The Right Thing; that integrity causes her to be disrespected even more, and it often means nothing to the people around her. well it means a lot to me! her quest may have been aimless, but it was also useful in illustrating the true and awful tragedy of war: the lives lost, the tormented survivors, the bleak landscapes, the sense of a world turned dark and bloody and soulless - a world without meaning. seeing such a brave person travel through this blighted landscape and continuously, stubbornly, mulishly trying to do good was hard to read - but it was also what i really needed in order to truly connect with this novel: a hero, tried and true. her two fight scenes, vanquishing members of the appalling Brave Companions, were awesome. what a brave lady and what a unique addition to the fantasy genre's Hero Archetype. i love her. as i loved this book.

now on to the next one!
Profile Image for Joel.
554 reviews1,621 followers
October 22, 2010
A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. (A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair?) A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair.

A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair? A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair -- A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair.

A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair. A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair.

A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair!
Profile Image for Matt.
917 reviews28.2k followers
April 26, 2016
The context here is everything.

A Song of Ice and Fire began with the publication of A Game of Thrones in 1996. Thrones introduced us to the land of Westeros, a continent the size of South America but suspiciously similar to medieval England. We followed a handful of characters representing various factions of the Seven Kingdoms, squabbling for the right to sit upon the Iron Throne. Its grittiness, tactility, fully-realized characters, and high stakes (a major character loses a head) gave it a cult following.

Two years after Thrones, A Clash of Kings was published. It told the story of “the War of the Five Kings.” Though it started slowly, it built to a fine ending, which included the shocking loss of Winterfell (home to many of our main characters) and the epic Battle of the Blackwater. A phenomenon had started.

Like clockwork, the third novel in the cycle, A Storm of Swords came two years after Kings. It was the biggest book so far, and easily the best. It featured all the hallmarks we’d come to expect from author George R.R. Martin – swordfights, detailed descriptions of food, casual misogyny, laughably crude sex scenes, shocking twists, major character deaths, and a humdinger of a cliffhanger – but those elements were heightened. There are set pieces in Swords that are simply classic (see, e.g., “the Red Wedding”).

At the end of Swords, the fate of several major characters – beloved characters – dangled in the wind. Readers thirsted for the next installment. They began their wait.

And then crickets.

Nothing for five years.

After five years, we were given the present installment: A Feast for Crows. By this time, it was nearly impossible for any book to live up to the expectations of Swords. On this level, at least, Crows did not disappoint. It certainly met the expectation that it could not meet expectations.

As the old saying goes, the only thing worse than a bad meal is a small bad meal.

Not only did Crows fail to meet the challenge of Swords, it was over too quickly. When readers got to the last page, they were left to wonder, this is it?. Martin, you see, had allowed the manuscript for Crows to get so long, he decided to cut the thing in half. As he explained in a now-infamous postscript, Martin decided to split the book geographically, rather than chronologically. That meant that many of the best characters did not appear; none of the cliffhangers from Swords were resolved; and we were left to follow the dubious quests of various secondary personages. To make matters worse, Martin tentatively promised the next volume, A Dance With Dragons, would be published the next year.

That postscript was written in 2005.

Six years later, A Dance With Dragons was finally released.

Thus, it is a fortuitous time to review Crows. It is a much-maligned book, buffeted by two competing elements: the long wait before the book was published, and the longer wait after. In other words, the book has suffered critically because it took so long to come out and did not satisfy the pent-up demand. It also suffered because it did nothing to alleviate the long wait for Dragons.

Almost all agree that Crows is the weakest volume in A Song of Ice and Fire. Beyond that, opinions are split. Some people hate it with the light of a thousand suns. Some people love it like a pug dressed in a tuxedo. Others acknowledge its weakness while admitting that a subpar steak is still a steak.

The length of time it takes Martin to churn out his opuses creates some high passion amongst his fans. That passion, combined with the internet and thousands of basements belonging to thousands of moms has created a great deal of hyperbolic ire directed towards Martin. While this criticism is a minority report, it is loud, and has colored the merits of Crows.

I am immune to this misplaced anger. I am a latecomer to Martin’s work; accordingly, when I started reading Thrones, four books had already been published, with a confirmed release date for the fifth. I’ve never suffered the long withdrawals between books that the early adopters have had to overcome.

Due to this tardiness, I feel like I can judge Crows based on its literary qualities, rather than its late arrival onto the Ice and Fire firmament. Unfortunately, the literary qualities of Crows are in short supply.

Most of Crows’ problems stem from Martin’s decision to divide the story by geography, and focus mainly on the action in Westeros that takes place south of the Wall. That means that the dwarf, Tyrion Lannister, Martin’s greatest creation, is missing. So are Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. Not only are you losing fantastic, multidimensional characters with whom we’ve traveled for hundreds and thousands of pages, you lose the heart of the story. As far as I can tell (and I’m sure I’ll be wrong), Martin’s endgame seems to point towards two events: the struggle at the Wall against the onslaught of the walking dead (the song of Ice); and Daenerys’ struggle to reclaim the Iron Throne with the help of her dragons (the song of Fire). Neither of those crucial points get any play in Crows. Instead, it’s 700 pages of B-side.

The viewpoint characters in Crows (Martin’s story is told in the third-person limited, with chapters that alternate points-of-view among various characters) are mostly new to the spotlight. Jaime Lannister, Samwell Tarly, Arya Stark and Sansa Stark are the only returning viewpoint characters. The other viewpoints go to Queen Cersei, Aeron, Asha, and Victarion Greyjoy, Areo Hotah, Brienne of Tarth, Aerys Oakheart, and Arianne Martell.

Some of these characters are brand new. Some have been barely mentioned. Most of them are confusingly named (it gets a bit tough keeping Arya, Areo, Aeron, Aerys and Arianne apart, at least for me; unfortunately, I’m not able to devote my entire life to these books). With some exceptions, their stories do not rise to the level of interest or intensity as the plotlines of Martin’s earlier books.

The bulk of this book, nearly a quarter of the pages, belongs to Cersei. Given space to develop her character, Martin is his usual strong self. Earlier in the series, Cersei was a terrifying, enigmatic peripheral character. In Thrones, she showed her smarts, and her cruelty, by getting the drop on Eddard Stark (admittedly not the sharpest tool in the shed). After the death of her son, King Joffrey, in Swords, Cersei’s transformation began. She became more guarded, paranoid, and megalomaniacal. Her descent into madness is marked by her growing certainty that all her decisions are correct. The most interesting aspect of Crows is Cersei’s long fall contrasted with the rise of a fanatical religious movement called the Faith.

Cersei is also beneficiary of one of Martin's weird peripheral-characters, the the fallen maester Lord Qyburn. Like Dr. Frankenstein, Qyburn toils away in the dungeons, doing odd experiments on living subjects, the result of which, it is obvious to see, will be half-human, half-monster. (Unfortuntately, Cersei's chapters are disadvantaged by a subplot concerning Westeros' outstanding loans to the Bank of Braavos. All the talk of high finance and trade federations harkened uncomfortably to another famous fantasy/sci-fi epic that lost its way).

Cersei’s brother/lover, Jaime, has the second most page-time. His evolution from villain to hero takes a big leap forward, as we see him go from murderous sister-humper to a canny leader pushing back against the excesses of King’s Landing. With Jaime’s chapters, Martin is able to tie up a few loose ends still dangling after the War of the Five Kings (for example, the dragging siege at Riverrun is finally concluded).

The balance of Crows is told in scattershot style through the ten remaining viewpoint characters.

We barely hear from Sansa, which is fine with me. Still, it is nice to see that she is developing at least a semblance of wit. I have a major problem with her character, mainly because Martin portrays Sansa as a real child; that is, as someone who is uninteresting and dumb. The problem with kids as characters is that kids are inherently boring. Kids aren’t clever, no matter what I see posted on Facebook. Only in a book or movie is a kid who can’t tie his shoes crafty enough to turn his house into a living version of Mousetrap to foil a pair of robbers. So far, Sansa is realistic in the sense that she is dull, frightened, mistake-prone, and hollow. This also means she is a weak protagonist. In Crows, despite a limited appearance, she finally starts to learn some of the finer points of deception.

Arya Stark is a more traditional fictional child. Despite her tender years, she performs great heroic feats. Her ever-growing darkness, however, makes her a joy to follow (I wouldn’t be surprised if, at the end of A Song of Ice and Fire, we counted her among the bad guys). In Crows, Arya is exiled to Braavos. She doesn’t do much of anything, and her chapters seem meant only to explore the islands of Braavos. This would’ve been fine if Braavos was interesting. Instead, it’s just Venice, right down to the swaggering, arrogant, hand-talking men-folk.

Three characters, Areo, Arienne and Aerys, serve to give us entrée into Dorne. The set up here – the machinations of Dorne against King’s Landing – is obviously important. However, these chapters are rushed (and the Aerys chapters are so short and abrupt I have a hard time understanding their inclusion). The same goes for the chapters with the three Ironborn characters: Aeron, Asha, and Victarion. In perfunctory style, they are moved like chess pieces, put in place for further development down the road.

The chapters following Brienne are like walking on a treadmill. She’s given a lot of space to do things, but she never gets anywhere. Martin has her crisscrossing the ruins of a war-torn Westeros, searching for Sansa Stark. Of course, we know exactly where Sansa is; therefore, we know that Brienne is never going to find her. Also, for all her abilities, she is portrayed as a slow-thinker, a female Forrest Gump who’s handy with a sword. Even if we didn't know where Sansa was hiding, we’d have a pretty good idea that Brienne’s plan to find her would fail (it literally consists of her wandering around, asking where Sansa has gone).

These are structural problems. And forgivable, as long as the book’s quality had been consistent. It’s not. This is a poorly written book by Martin’s standards. His descriptions seem tired. His writer’s tics are more pronounced. The dialogue, which had been whip-smart and eminently quotable, is execrable. It is flat, repetitive (Jaime’s “I love you too, sweet sister” is repeated on a loop), and filled with odd, obtrusive, never-before-used idioms. For some reason, the characters start referring to their uncles as nuncles, even though uncle had served just fine before. In one chapter, the insult “stoatish” is used two or three times (as far as I can tell, it means weasel-like) and then dropped like a bag of flaming poo.

Despite taking five years to write, Crows feels like a first draft. There are brief glimmers displaying Martin’s mastery of both his world and his writing. For instance, even though Brienne’s dead-end quest is inert as a narrative, Martin’s evocation of a war-weary Westeros is captivating, with its fresh graves, burnt-out homes, and outlaw-infested roads.

Subpar writing can be saved by a propulsive plot or a great set piece. As I noted before, the plot grinds forward. Moreover, nothing exciting happens. Swordplay is kept to a minimum. There isn’t a battle to be found (in a way, Martin’s exhausted effort mirrors the tiredness of war-blasted Westeros). With the exception of Moby Dick, I try not to use the word “boring” in my reviews. Here, though, things get awfully close to the b-word.

To be sure, there are a few saving graces. The first is the sex scenes. They are just awful, and bound to put a smile on your face. The high/lowlight is a lesbian sex scene between Cersei and Lady Taena that involves an unfortunate comparison of a women’s nether regions to a swamp. It had me laughing my ass off.

Martin is also able to add a few twists at the end, including a cliffhanger that leaves one character dangling by the neck. Here, unlike in Kings, a strong ending isn’t enough to save the rest of the book. To the contrary, Martin should take lessons from M. Night Shyamalan: you can’t rely so much on 11th hour shocks or uncertain character fates.

At some point, A Song of Ice and Fire will be finished. Either Martin will complete the saga, or it will linger forever as a partially-completed near-great thing. When that time comes, it is very likely that the esteem for Crows will rise. It’s faults will be less glaring; its virtues will seem more virtuous.

Right now, though, I just want to move on to A Dance With Dragons and pretend Crows wasn’t half as bad as I know it was.
Profile Image for Madeline.
775 reviews47k followers
June 27, 2012
Hey everyone, George RR Martin here. I thought I'd take some time off from planning my intricate and complex storylines (spoiler alert: everyone has sex with everyone and then kills each other) to introduce A Feast for Crows, the long-awaited fourth installment in my epic fantasy series! You guys are in for a treat, this one is awesome.

So the last book was quite a ride, huh? There was that craziness that was the Weddings of Death, Tyrion killed his father, , Jon Snow finally got cool and is now Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, Arya continued to be a tiny BAMF, Bran looked like he was finally moving towards a real plot, and Daenerys decided to temporarily shelve her whole unleash-the-dogs-of-war plan and be a queen for a while. Also I made Christmas come early for Madeline when I killed off Catelyn Stark, only to bring all her hopes and dreams crashing down when it turned out that Catelyn is a zombie now and will never die. Hee hee hee.

Anyway, with all that cool stuff, you probably thought that this book was going to be made of awesome, what with all the fallout from the stuff I described above. And it will be, but unfortunately my attention to detail and complex storylines finally came back to bite me in the ass, and it turns out I couldn't devote an entire book to all the plots I started in the last book. So I divided them into two volumes, and saved all the cool people for Book Five. Want to read about Jon Snow, Daenerys, and Tyrion? Too fucking bad.

Don't worry though, this means we get to meet lots of fun new characters, like Theon's crazy uncles and a lot of random people from Dorne. They each get just one chapter, of course, because they only exist so I can have a perspective to show all these events from (my changing single-character viewpoint structure has also begun to bite me in the ass, unfortunately) and you'll probably never see them again, but that's what makes it fun!

It's not all bad, at least - Arya's still here, even though she's not doing much murdering or really much of anything. This is where Arya learns how to be more awesome, so she can wreck everyone's shit later - or maybe not, because in the last chapter we see her in, she's just gone blind. Is it temporary, or permanent? You'll just have to buy the next book and find out (maybe)!

And hey, I gave you guys some Cersei chapters, finally. And yes, she's just as much of a psycho bitch as you always suspected. You're welcome. Also Jaime chapters - bet you didn't think he would turn out to be one of the only decent characters in the series, huh? (of course, if he's becoming one of the good guys, that means I'll probably murder him soon) And there are more Samwell Tarly chapters! Everyone loves reading about Sam, right? Guys? Guys? Where are you going?

Don't worry, the next book will be all about Tyrion and Daenerys and Bran (look, it's going to pay off soon, I swear. Really guys, he's going to be interesting eventually.) and all the other cool characters that I totally ignored in this book and that you really wanted to read about. As for all the character-based cliffhangers I established in this book, will they be resolved in the next volume? Probably not! I am George RR Martin, and I demand your money and your tears!

PS: Quit bitching at me to write faster. You'll get your books when I say you get them, and not a day sooner. Don't push me, or the next volume published will be titled A Siege of Tears and it'll be nothing but Jon Snow, Bran Stark, and Samwell Tarly sitting around and thinking about how inadequate they are. Do not test me on this, nerds.
Profile Image for Justin.
453 reviews41 followers
August 20, 2008
I'm not quite sure what happened, here.

As others have mentioned, Martin slows the pace of the story down considerably in this fourth installment of A Song of Ice and Fire, ostensibly writing this as the first half of a two-book volume, with a 3-5 year production time on each. As such, the book is by necessity filled with unresolved storylines, AWOL main characters, and lengthy travelogues where nothing of importance happens. Of course, this draws the inevitable comparisons to another famous fantasy series that started strong and became a sluggish, irritating morass (something to do with wheels and time, as I recall).

The pace isn't really the problem, here, though, as the story still stands on its own two legs. The problem is the writing.

Though the first three books were extraordinarily well-written as a whole, one could never classify Martin's prose as elegant. In this book, he takes three steps backward for some reason, and sounds almost amateurish in some chapters. The book is filled with phrases and sentences that are awkward, clichéd, and sometimes downright hackneyed. Martin's prose may typically be spare and to the point, but I never audibly groaned while reading the first three books.

One of the biggest problems with this is Martin's sudden inclusion of colloquialisms that, so far as I can tell, never existed in the books before this one. Coz's, nuncles, and valonqars abound, even though we've never read any character use these turns of phrase before, and be prepared to hear "groats" referenced multiple times in a single chapter. This doesn't only present a continuity problem, for those of us wondering why these dialect oddities are so suddenly commonplace... Martin seems to have run out of patience for phrasing things differently, so the exact same idiom often gets used ad nauseum. I was weary of these invented clichés before I even truly understood what they meant.

By now, fans of the series thus far are used to the disturbing ubiquity of rape in Martin's world, but even that loses what little subtlety it had in this book, with at least two characters being described as "needing a hard raping" (another example of redundancy in Martin's writing... did that expression really need to be used twice in one book?). The consensual sexuality devolves in this book, as well; Martin uses strange fixations and blunt-force descriptions (the comparison of female private parts to a "swamp" was the high point for me, as it were) which make them seem almost bizarre, and therefore a lot more gratuitous than they were in the first three books.

I gave it two stars instead of one because the standout elements of this series are still evident in A Feast For Crows, despite Martin's apparent attempt to sabotage them with clumsy writing. The characters are multidimensional, unpredictable, and well-developed, and the overarching story is fascinating enough to keep me turning pages. However, I am genuinely concerned about the direction of this series, which has heretofore been my favorite fantasy series and often recommended to friends. I don't know what's going on with Martin's writing, but I truly hope the next book returns to the caliber of the first three. I would hate to have to do with this series what I do with Jordan's: recommend that people stop at Book 3 and pretend it's an open-ended trilogy. I'd much rather dismiss this one as "the mediocre volume" and go back to enjoying the series. Here's hoping.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,460 reviews9,613 followers
December 5, 2017
The book was better than the first time around. I didn't like the narrator on this one so it ruined it the first time around. I still didn't love it but I was glad to have Arya & Brienne 😊

"Death is not the worst thing," the kindly man replied. "It is His gift to us, an end to want and pain. On the day that we are born the Many-Faced God sends each of us a dark angel to walk through life beside us. When our sins and our sufferings grow too great to be borne, the angel takes us by the hand to lead us to the nightlands, where the stars burn ever bright. Those who come to drink from the black cup are looking for their angels. If they are afraid, the candles soothe them. When you smell our candles burning, what does it make you think of, my child?"

Winterfell, she might have said. I smell snow and smoke and pine needles. I smell stables. I smell Hodor laughing, and Jon and Robb battling in the yard, Sansa singing about some stupid lady fair. I smell the crypts, where the stone kings sit, I smell hot bread baking, I smell the godswood. I smell my wolf, my smell her fur, almost as if she were still beside me. "I don't smell anything," she said, to see what he would say.

. . . and she leapt to meet his rush, both hands on her sword hilt. His headlong charge brought him right onto her point, and Oathkeeper punched through cloth and mail and leather and more cloth, deep into his bowels and out his back, rasping as it scraped along his spine. His axe fell from limp fingers, and the two of them slammed together, Brienne's face mashed up against the dog's head helm. She felt the cold wet metal against her cheek. Rain ran down the steel in rivers, and when the lightening flashed again she saw pain and fear and rank disbelief through the eye slits. "Sapphires," she whispered at him, as she gave her blade a hard twist that made him shudder. His weight sagged heavily against her, and all at once it was a corpse that she embraced, there in the black rain. She stepped back and let him fall . . .

*Old Review*

I don't have any idea when I started this so I just set it to today. I do that a lot when I don't add books to my currently reading. I get anal having too many books on my currently reading.

Anyway, I hate giving this a 3 star review but at some point I'm going to re-read it. I'm trying to listen to a lot of my chunkers on audio and mark my place in the book. Unfortunately, the narrator ruined it for me. I think he would be a great narrator for other books but not this one and that's just my opinion. When he was doing the voices they all sounded like whiny little boys or something. Do you think the evil Cersei sounds like that or the awesome Brienne or even Jaime? And he kept calling Brienne, Brain.

Anyway, it pretty much ruined it for me.

I did miss my fav characters but I'm fine reading about others. I love Brienne and Jaime. And Arya had some parts although she sounded like a whiny little boy. Ugh, it was bad

I will just have to physically read this one day because the audio is just no :-(
Profile Image for Kelly.
878 reviews4,019 followers
May 9, 2008
Dear George,

How do you do this lovely May morning? I'm terribly sorry to bother you, but I really did think that I must in good conscience warn you of this problem I have. You see, I know many people who read these books and absolutely adore them. Legions of fans. I'm sure you know that. Really, the books are quite high quality and quite enjoyable and whatever you need to do to get them to stay at that quality, please do it.

... within reason. It has come to our (the masses') attention that perhaps waiting three to four years between books is a bit excessive. Don't you think so?

Now, more importantly than the principle of the thing... I've noticed some very unhealthy side effects from these gaps in between the books. Namely, some severe mental complexes that are resulting in a personal hostility towards you. I thought I had an obligation to warn you that I have heard of several imaginative plots that many of my fellow readers have dreamed up to get you to finish these books. All of them involve house arrest, most of them involve chaining you to your computer, a few involve terribly cruel things with assorted war instruments like those you brutally describe in your novels. I've heard a few terribly distressing things along the lines of, "shoving a broadsword up his ass." I'm sure you can imagine the rest.

Now while I don't think that people would employ such plans now, I do notice that these mental complexes seem to get worse over time. So... who knows in the future?

Just thought you should know!

So, toodle pip, hope that put you in the mood for writing. (These people apparently think that such things will.)

A sincere fan.
Profile Image for • Lindsey Dahling •.
291 reviews611 followers
January 26, 2019
I’m aware I’m in the minority when I say this was my favorite book of the series, BUT JUST HEAR ME OUT.

Things I liked:

1. You get to hang out at King’s Landing A LOT.
Cersei Lannister is despicable and I love her with all my heart. I send the Lannisters my love (and they send it back because they don’t want it).

2. Daenerys isn’t in it.
I’m aware I’m also in the minority in enjoying her absence, BUT COME ON. Lady has three dragons and STILL no idea how to cross the ocean and take back “her” throne. The Baratheons called—your dad was a real dick and therefore your family’s throne privileges got taken away. Once you torture people for fun, you kind of don’t get to sit with us anymore.

Also, you freed a bunch of slaves and just CANNOT BELIEVE they’re now starving because NO ONE WILL HIRE THEM. WOW. Plot. Twist. Didn’t see that one coming.

Also, you can tell me all the live-long day that you’re a queen and a great leader and deserve everyone’s adoration. Well, actions speak louder than words, Dany. You can’t figure out how to cross an ocean with three FLYING dragons. Homegirl Cersei might be cruel, but at least when she says she’s going to blow something up, SHE FUCKING FOLLOWS THROUGH. As you’ll see in this book.

3. Jaime’s Gryffindor side really shows.
He’s still in love with his Slytherin sister, but you see he’s really not a total villain.

4. Brienne is a badass Gryffindor who I could follow around all day.
Not in a creepy way.

5. Jon Snow isn’t in it.
HEAR ME OUT. JON SNOW IS GREAT. HE IS A LOVELY HUMAN AND SHOULD ACTUALLY BE SITTING ON THE IRON THRONE. I just don’t find him very interesting to read because he’s vanilla AF.

6. Asha Greyjoy.
Girl power.

7. Sam has more of a purpose than just being Jon’s Hufflepuff sidekick.
He’s such a cinnamon roll.

8. Arya is a queen.
I’d put her on the throne just to watch her get revenge on anyone who even looks at her wrong.

9. No Bran.
Call me when you’re ready to progress the plot.

You get to watch her blossom into something other than a prim and proper lady. I still haven’t forgiven her for the direwolf thing in the first book, but this did help our relationship.

Things I didn’t care for:

1. No Ravenclaw Tyrion.
The Lannisters are such a well-rounded bunch.

2. Daenerys wasn’t killed off by a pride of lions.
Spoiler alert.
Profile Image for Petrik.
673 reviews42.7k followers
July 21, 2020
A Feast for Crows was quite good but it’s far below the incredible standard set by the previous three books.

I’ve mentioned in my previous review that A Storm of Swords could truly be the height of Martin’s writing career and I still stand by that statement confidently. Unfortunately, there’s a huge chance that this book will be the other way around by being the lowest point of the series. There’s a lot of circumstances to consider here. If I’ve waited 5 years before I read this book, I definitely would’ve hated it and give this at max 2 stars rating. If I haven’t received any warning on the odd structure of the story and character’s POV choices, I most likely would’ve disliked it more. If I haven’t watched the TV series, I probably would’ve enjoyed or disliked it more. And if I haven’t read A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms or in the midst of reading The World of Ice and Fire, again, I most likely will dislike this book even more. Putting all circumstances into consideration, my experience of reading A Feast for Crows wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but it was truly a disappointment after the brilliance of the previous book.

Picture: A Feast for Crows by Marc Simonetti

I don’t think there are any new pros or cons about this book I can convey in my review. Everyone who’ve read this installment will know what my problems with it are. Let’s start with the odd structural choices that Martin chose. In most series, when you write a direct sequel, it’s simply insanity to not have the main characters (unless they’re dead) in it, especially when the main characters are pretty much majority of the reader’s favorites. Well, Martin did exactly that. He left out the main characters for the next book instead. Now, other writers have done this, but the things that made it worse in this book was that the characters that he focused on here were mostly uninteresting side characters of the series. In my opinion, the chapters that don’t feature any character’s name as the title in this book were just maddeningly boring; specifically the Ironborn and Dorne storyline.

“Words are like arrows, Arianne. Once loosed, you cannot call them back.”

Reading the Ironborn’s story was easily one of the most boring and cringe-worthy experience I’ve ever had in reading fantasy. Who cares about the Ironborn anyway? “What is dead may never die,” is a stupid catchphrase. Try telling that to Reek’s dead cock and see if that would mean anything. I’ve also heard from a lot of book purist that the TV series butchered the Dorne’s storyline. What is there to butcher when the story is super uninteresting already? I haven’t read A Dance with Dragons but from what I’ve read so far, the Ironborn and Dorne storyline was utterly boring and uninteresting.

Finally, there was also a major problem with pacing. Despite this book being the smallest in word counts, there was a myriad of content that simply didn’t add any value to the story or characterizations; the book could’ve been shortened and it most likely would’ve made for a better reading experience.

“He was beastly tired, but it was hard to stop. One more book, he had told himself, then I'll stop. One more folio, just one more. One more page, then I'll go up and rest and get a bite to eat. But there was always another page after that one, and another after that, and another book waiting underneath the pile. I'll just take a quick peek to see what this one is about, he'd think, and before he knew he would be halfway through it.”

That said, I was still able to finish the book in four days. I have always love Martin’s prose and his talent in characterizations—even though most of the central characters here were uninteresting—was still great. The two Lannister featured as the main POV in this book—whether you love or hate them—was superbly written. The world-building remained intricate and although it wasn’t as expansive as the previous three books, combine with the knowledge attained from reading A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms and The World of Ice and Fire made me realize just how damn difficult it is to write this series. I also really wish that the TV series adaptation kept Lady Stoneheart; she appeared briefly near the end but her appearance completely spiked the intensity of this book. Finally, the last chapter of each character here was incredible and shows Martin’s terrific capability as a storyteller. However, I’m telling you now that all of them ended in quite a huge cliffhanger.

“History is a wheel, for the nature of man is fundamentally unchanging. What has happened before will perforce happen again.”

Overall, as I mentioned above, despite my enjoyment of reading Martin’s prose, A Feast for Crows ended up being a downgrade for A Song of Ice and Fire. If I’ve waited five years for this book and went into it without any knowledge on the awkward structural choices, I'm sure I would’ve been severely disappointed and rated it worse. One book left, A Dance with Dragons awaits me. Once I’m done with that, I’ll be joining every reader’s wait for The Winds of Winter.

You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.5k followers
February 10, 2022
A Feast for Crows: (A Song of Ice and Fire #4, Part 1 of 2), George R.R. Martin

A Feast for Crows is the fourth of seven planned novels in the epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by American author George R. R. Martin. The novel was first published on October 17, 2005, in the United Kingdom.

The War of the Five Kings is slowly coming to its end. Stannis Baratheon has gone to the aid of the Wall, where Jon Snow has become the 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.

King Tommen Baratheon, Joffrey's eight-year-old brother, now rules in King's Landing under his mother, Cersei Lannister. Brienne, the Maid of Tarth, is on a mission to find Sansa Stark, aided by Jaime Lannister.

Sansa is hiding in the Vale, protected by Petyr Baelish, who has murdered his wife Lysa Arryn and named himself Protector of the Vale and guardian of eight-year-old Lord Robert Arryn.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز ششم ماه ژوئن سال2015میلادی

عنوان: جشنی برای کلاغها قسمت نخست از جلد چهار (نغمه آتش و یخ، #4)؛ نویسنده: جورج آر.آر مارتین؛ مترجم رویا خادم الرضا؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، ویدا، سال1393، شابک9786002910790؛ در496ص؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده21م

عنوان: جشنی برای کلاغها قسمت دوم از جلد چهار (نغمه آتش و یخ، #4)؛ نویسنده: جورج آر.آر مارتین؛ مترجم: رویا خادم الرضا؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، ویدا، سال1393، شابک9786002910806؛ در474ص

این سری از کتابها پر برگ را، تا کنون سه بار خوانده ام؛ دست مریزاد بر جناب «مارتین»؛ و خانم «رویا خادم الرضا»؛ «ضیافتی برای کلاغ‌ها» چهارمین کتاب از سری هفت جلدی رمان فانتزی حماسی «ترانه یخ و آتش»، اثر نویسنده ی «ایالات متحده آمریکا»، «جورج آر.آر مارتین» است؛ این کتاب نخستین بار در تاریخ روز هفدهم ماه اکتبر سال2005میلادی، در کشور «انگلستان»، و سپس در روز هشتم ماه نوامبر همان سال، در «ایالات متحده آمریکا» منتشر شد؛

داستان کتاب از دیدگاه دوازده شخصیت، و یک مقدمه روایت می‌شود؛ برخلاف جلدهای پیشین، «ضیافتی برای کلاغ‌ها»، سرشار از شخصیت‌های کوچک، در کنار شخصیت‌های اصلی داستان است؛ «مقدمه»؛ «پیت، تازه‌ کاری در قلعه‌ ای در اولدتاون»؛ «سرسی لنیستر»؛ «سر جیمی لنیستر»؛ «برین اهل تارث»؛ «سانسا استارک»؛ «آریا استارک»؛ «سمول تارلی»؛ در «جزیره آهن نیز از سه دیدگاه»؛ و در «دورن نیز از سه دیدگاه»؛

نقل از متن: (صبح سرد و بی­روحی بود، و دریا از آسمان سربی، پررنگ­تر بود؛ سه مردِ اول، شجاعانه زندگی خود را، تقدیم خدای غرق­ شده، کرده بودند، اما مرد چهارم، ایمان ضعیفی داشت، و مدام دست و پا میزد تا ریه هایش را از هوا پر کند؛ «آرون» تا کمر در آب ایستاده بود، و در حالی­که پسرک برهنه، برای نفس­ کشیدن تقلا می­کرد، شانه های او را گرفته، و سرش را زیر آب نگه داشته بود؛ گفت: شجاع باش؛ ما از دریا اومدیم، و به دریا هم برمیگردیم؛ دهنت رو باز کن، و رحمت خداوند رو سر بکش؛ ریه هات رو از آب پر کن، باشد که بمیری، و از نو متولد شوی؛ جنگیدن فایده ای نداره؛ یا اینکه پسرک چون سرش در آب بود، نمیتوانست حرفهای او را بشنود، یا ایمان، به ­طور کامل، وجود نحیفش را ترک کرده بود؛ او آن­قدر تقلا کرد، و لگد زد تا «آرون» کمک طلبید؛ چهار مرد به کمکش شتافتند، و پسرک را، زیر آب نگه داشتند؛ کشیش با صدایی ژرفتر از اعماق دریا، دعا کرد: ای خدایی که به ­خاطر ما غرق شدی، به «اموند» خدمتگزارت، اجازه بده مانند خودت، دوباره از دریا متولد شود؛ با نمک به او برکت عطا کن، با سنگ و با استیل؛ سرانجام کار تمام شد؛ دیگر هوایی از دهان او بیرون نیامد، و نیروی پاهایش از میان رفت؛ «اموند»، رنگ­پریده، سرد و آرام، در دریای خالی و تاریک شناور شد)؛ پایان نقل

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 02/02/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ 20/11/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Candace.
1,176 reviews4,206 followers
May 28, 2016
Although this epic fantasy has me captivated, I have to say that 'A Feast for Crows' didn't hold as much appeal for me as the earlier books. That being said, it is still an extremely well-written story. I have no doubt that the new characters, places and events will serve to further the plot.

While hearing Cersei's viewpoint was somewhat enlightening, it got tiresome. Cersei is as cold and cruel as Joffrey was. Being "stuck" in her mind was torture. She was constantly scheming and manipulating. Honestly, does this woman never stop? Just hearing it was exhausting.

Arya and Sansa continue to do what they have to in order to survive. It is interesting to see how they evolve as their circumstances change. I would've liked to hear more about the Stark girls, but maybe next time.

This book also introduced some new characters...and brought back some old ones. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the back from the dead Catelyn Stark. She's definitely changed in more ways than one. Sometimes, things are better left alone. I'm struggling to accept this particular twist.

Mostly, I was disappointed to find many of my favorite characters noticeably absent in this book. Daenerys is my favorite. I longed to hear about what was going on with her and her dragons. How is their journey going? Unfortunately, I didn't get that information.

Similarly, Tyrion Lannister was nowhere to be found. As a character, he really grew on me. His disappearing act left me feeling a bit bereft. Like Daenerys, information on Tyrion was noticeably absent. I'm dying here!

Like the last one, this one ends with a bit of an upheaval. Cersei finds herself in a bind and calls upon her knight in shining armor to save her. I'm hoping that she finally gets what she has coming, but I'll have to wait and see.

Overall, I'm still very much addicted to this series. The writing is spectacular, as is the narration. I'm on to the next book. Based upon the title, I'm expecting to hear more from Daenerys and the dragons. This may have been my least favorite of the books so far, but it still blows most other books away.
Profile Image for Shannon.
891 reviews224 followers
April 23, 2014
Whew, this is a tough book to review simply because it doesn't follow on the expectations of the readers after A STORM OF SWORDS.

Now some people are already saying that the book is horrible and a great letdown and others go to the other extreme and hold faithfully that it's just as good as the previous books.

I don't feel either take is fair or accurate.

To be fair, yes, the book doesn't move like the previous books, especially a STORM OF SWORDS. There are simply not the same level of WHAM BAM big moments nor shocking realizations (i.e. who killed Jon Arryn?). Additionally, some of the favorite characters of readers, like Jon, Dany and Tyrion, are not in this novel. Lastly, there are two new main POVs so we need to adjust to those. BTW, since other readers are spoiling the mystery POVs, did most of you notice that Brienne is apparently a descendant of Dunk from THE HEDGE KNIGHT. Pretty kewl. :)

Getting back to the debate, remember that:

(1) This is only half of a mega-sized book. GRRM is putting out only half of it and the other half is going to be in the next book. So, in essence, for those complaining he's taking too long, this is like four books as the average novel is 400 pages. Additionally, remember the guy has been writing for something like 30 + years and he's finally getting national acclaim. He has been asked to write scripts to some of his old novels, there's a game based on his series that he looked over, he's also gone over the HEDGE KNIGHT comic strip, he's written two novelettes on the hedge knight, hes been asked to attend dozens upon dozens of readings at various book/convention events (and, most recently, the prestigious one in D.C. where he was asked to give a long speech), he tends to answer the emails he gets from everyone which is in the thousands, he taught at the Odyssey program for about six weeks back east, etc. Most of these in the last two years.

So, bully for him as he's getting more acknowledgements but keep in mind the guy has said he can't write except back in New Mexico. Things are going to go slower; and

(2) While several of the POVs don't have resolutions, also keep in mind that they may show up in the next book with all those WHAM BAM moments everyone is seeking. Additionally, it probably isn't fair to view this as a stand alone simply because book four and five are like one book. The reason he broke it up, per his webpage at [...], is that his publishers demanded he get it out. For all we know, book four may be the midpoint of the story and book five is going to have a lot of climaxes.

AFFC is really a come down from several climaxes. As the dust settles, lots of information is shared. There's a great deal of focus on characters. Lots and lots of characters, even if fleeting. As a result, not as much seems to happen. To some, this might be seen as meanderings, and, well, yes, some of it probably is. lol For those who want to know more about the world, here's your chance. Just don't expect it to be like ASOS.

I remember several complaints by earlier reviewers of previous books that there wasn't enough about context and almost nothing about the religion of the times. People complained that one would think the religion would have a greater impact and political power base than shown in the last three books. Well, you get it in this book. Big time.

Another thing to keep in mind: there are probably about 35-50% more character POVs simply because there are several small focuses on various characters all over the globe. We get a lot of focus on Dorne and the Iron Isles as well as King's Landing. There are sprinklings in other areas, too, like Oldtown and where Brienne travels (i.e. don't want to spoil it so I won't say where).

As result, these characters slows the story down from having big moments because there's more to tell.

While I get this is probably the least popular book of the four, assuming we were to take a tally, I still feel GRRM is the best living fantasy author out there if you want tales that don't overuse archetypes and have complex characters and plots.
I challenge anyone to email me to suggest a better author.

On that note, for people who haven't read the previous books, here's why GRRM is a superb writer from my previous review on ASOS:

First off, I'm a heavy duty fan of GRRM. I've read over a 100 different fantasy authors in my time. Took about 5 years off from the genre b/c I felt it was all getting too formulaic and cliched. Typical archetype character who turns out to be the missing heir or boy wonder who saves the world against the Dark Lord.
So, when I came back to fantasy at the end of 1999, I read the usual: Goodkind, Jordan, etc. and then someone told me about GRRM and man, that was the kicker!

Here are the reasons to choose GRRM. I've also listed the reasons not to choose him to make it fair b/c I know their are certain personalities who won't like this series:


(1) YOU ARE TIRED OF FORMULAIC FANTASY: good lad beats the dark lord against impossible odds; boy is the epitome of good; he and all his friends never die even though they go through great dangers . . . the good and noble king; the beautiful princess who falls in love with the commoner boy even though their stations are drastically different . . . the dark lord is very evil and almost one sided at times . . . you get the idea. After reading this over and over, it gets old.

(2) YOU ARE TIRED OF ALL THE HEROES STAYING ALIVE EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE UNDER CONSTANT DANGER: this gets even worse where the author kills a main hero off but that person comes back later in the story. Or, a hero does die but magic brings him back.

This sometimes carries to minor characters where even they may not die, but most fantasy authors like to kill them off to show that some risked the adventure and perished.


(4) YOU LOVE SERIOUS INTRIGUE WITHOUT STUPID OPPONENTS: lots of layering; lots of intrigue; lots of clever players in the game of thrones. Unlike other fantasy novels, one side, usually the villain, is stupid or not too bright.

(5) YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BIASED OPINIONS AND DIFFERENT TRUTHS: GRRM has set this up where each chapter has the title of one character and the whole chapter is through their viewpoint. Interesting tidbit is that you get their perception of events or truths. But, if you pay attention, someone else will mention a different angle of truth in the story that we rarely see in other novels. Lastly and most importantly, GRRM doesn't try to tell us which person is right in their perception. He purposefully leaves it vague so that we are kept guessing.

(6) LEGENDS: some of the most interesting characters are those who are long gone or dead. We never get the entire story but only bits and pieces; something that other fantasy authors could learn from to heighten suspense. Additionally, b/c the points of views are not congruent, we sometimes get different opinions.

(7) WORDPLAY: if you're big on metaphors and description, GRRM is your guy. Almost flawless flow.

(8) LOTS OF CONFLICT: all types, too; not just fighting but between characters through threats and intrigue.

(9) MULTILAYERED PLOTTING; SUB PLOTS GALORE: each character has their own separate storyline; especially as the story continues and everyone gets scattered. This is one of the reasons why each novel is between 700-900 pages.

(10) SUPERLATIVE VARIED CHARACTERS: not the typical archetypes that we are used to in most fantasy; some are gritty; few are totally evil or good; GRRM does a great job of changing our opinions of characters as the series progress. This is especially true of Jaime in book three.

(11) REALISTIC MEDIEVAL DIALOGUE: not to the point that we can't understand it but well done.

(12) HEAPS OF SYMBOLISM AND PROPHECY: if you're big on that.

(13) EXCELLENT MYSTERIES: very hard to figure out the culprits; GRRM must have read a lot of mystery novels.

(14) RICHLY TEXTURED FEMALE CHARACTERS: best male fantasy author on female characters I have read; realistic on how women think, too.

(15) LOW MAGIC WORLD: magic is low key; not over the top so heroes can't get out of jams with it.


(1) YOU LIKE YOUR MAIN CHARACTERS: GRRM does a good job of creating more likeable characters after a few die. But, if that isn't your style, you shouldn't be reading it. He kills off several, not just one, so be warned.

(2) DO NOT CARE FOR GRITTY GRAY CHARACTERS: if you like more white and gray characters, this may unsettle you. I suggest Feist or Goodkind or Dragonlance if you want a more straight forward story with strong archetypes.

(3) MULTIPLE POINTS OF VIEWS TURN YOU OFF: if you prefer that the POVS only go to a few characters, this might be confusing for you.

(4) SWEARING, SEX: there's a lot of it in this book just as there is in real life. If you have delicate ears, this book may upset you.

(5) YOU DEMAND CLOSURE AT THE END OF EVERY BOOK: this isn't the case for all stories in the series. Some are still going on; some have been resolved; others have been created and are moving on.

(6) IF YOU WANT A TARGET OR SOMEONE TO BLAME: this can be done to some extent but not as much. This is b/c he doesn't try to make anyone necessarily good or evil.

(7) ARCHETYPES: some readers like archetypal characters because it's comfortable; we like the good young hero (sort of like Pug in Feist's THE RIFTWAR SAGA); it's familiar and we sometimes like to pretend we're this upcoming, great hero. You wont' get much of this in GRRM with the exception of one or two characters. There really aren't any super heroes compared to all the other characters as it's more grittier and no one is shooting fireballs every millisecond or carrying around some super powerful sword.

(8) LENGTH: you don't want to get into a long fantasy epic series. In that case, look for shorter works as this is biiiiiig.

(9) PATRIARCHY: men are most of the main characters with lots of power (one female exception). While this is realistic of the medieval era, some readers may not prefer this if they want more girl power, so to speak.

By the way, if you don't want to commit to a big book until you know the author better, check out his short story, THE HEDGE KNIGHT, in LEGENDS.
Profile Image for Kim.
286 reviews775 followers
August 31, 2008

George R. R. Martin is a blowhard.

I mean that with respect, I suppose. I guess any author that got me to read over 2400 pages of his writing garners some respect, right? A smattering, maybe? I don’t know, maybe it’s because I was raised Catholic, or maybe it’s my sense of follow through or maybe just the fact that I’ve invested so much time in this damn series… whatever. I’m here, I’ve finished book #4. Yay.

Okay, so the reason I’m grumpy is that it took me 480 pages to get into this. Which left me 200 pages to actually enjoy. That’s not fair. And this isn’t the first time, this is a pattern with this guy. I spend all this time trying to remember who is who and why I care that I’m either confused or bored silly. Okay, for example: We have Elys who is married to Alys and we have Belwas and Boros and Balon . And Pate, Pod and Peck (don’t ask me to explain who is who, please) and then we have Sansa who is now Alayne ---not Arianne, she’s someone else--- and we have Arya who was Weasel and then was Arry and then became ‘no one’ and then became Cat of the Canals, who shouldn’t be confused with Cat who was Caitlyn who became ‘The Hooded Woman’ and then later ‘Lady Stoneheart’. Do you see what I mean?

This is worse than Days of Our Lives because then you really only need to watch maybe a day or so to catch up. Oh, and if Jaime and Brienne don’t hook up, there will be hell to pay, Mr. R.R. Martin. HELL. And, thank you for having Sam lose his virginity; that gave me hope. (oh, come on, are you going to get on me for spoilers?? If you’re even reading this review, it’s because you’ve invested as much time in this series as I have.)

Then… THEN I come across this little gem:

‘”Hey, wait a minute!” some of you may be saying about now. “Wait a minute, wait a minute! Where’s Dany and the dragons? Where’s Tyrion? We hardly saw Jon Snow. That can’t be all of it…”

Well, no. There’s more to come. Another book as big as this one.


Okay, so I’m whining. I know. Of course, I’ll read ‘A Dance with Dragons’ (oh, and another thing, George? Can we get you to work on better titles? Because when I’m sitting there reading these tomes and someone comes up to me and says ‘Whatcha readin’?’ I’m a bit hesitant to say ‘A Feast for Crows’ or ‘A Game of Thrones’ without rolling my eyes and explaining that I’m NOT into D&D, just a suggestion. Thanks) but I will do so reluctantly.
Profile Image for Steven Medina.
189 reviews843 followers
January 11, 2022
Misma esencia, poca acción. Imposible mantener el nivel de Tormenta de espadas.

En realidad 3,2

Cuando en una saga encontramos un libro tan impresionante, como lo es Tormenta de espadas, lo más lógico es que el libro posterior sea de menor calidad porque es muy difícil mantener el alto nivel. Es una situación que no solo ocurre en el mundo de la literatura sino también en el cine, por lo que no es una sorpresa decir que Festín de cuervos está muy por debajo de la categoría de los primeros tres libros de la saga: Ni siquiera el gran George R.R. Martin ha logrado romper con este paradigma. A pesar de ello, no deseo menospreciar el trabajo del autor. Festín de cuervos ha sido un libro lento, largo, y aburrido en muchas ocasiones, pero es un libro en el cual se expone con claridad lo que es un mundo después de la guerra, la llamada postguerra. Después de leer en volúmenes anteriores, escenas con sangre por todas partes, batallas, traiciones, giros inesperados, frenesí y locura, es completamente normal sentir aburrimiento por una postguerra que se asemeja mucho a la vida actual que viven los gobiernos, en la cual se buscan permanentes alianzas (en el caso de este libro con matrimonios), vencer batallas sin combatirlas, reorganización del poder, etc. De hecho, podría catalogar este volumen como el libro «políticamente correcto» de la saga.

¿Por qué me ha parecido un libro lento, largo, y aburrido? Eso es sencillo de responder. Como lectores, siempre solemos sentir afinidad por ciertos personajes, pero si ellos, nuestros favoritos, no vuelven a aparecer, naturalmente sentiremos desagrado por no tener nuevas noticias de quienes realmente nos interesa. Leer tantas páginas y no encontrar un capítulo de nuestros personajes favoritos no es fácil de procesar, a pesar de que te lo adviertan, a pesar de que ya estés enterado de que en el próximo volumen sí tendrán participación. Inconscientemente queremos conocer así sea un mínimo detalle, lo que sea, todo para calmar la ansiedad que sentimos por culpa de la intriga. Además, si no logramos conectar con los nuevos personajes presentados, pues ese desagrado, pereza, y cansancio, irán aumentando poco a poco a través de nuestra lectura. Esa sensación la he sentido en gran parte de este volumen, y aunque naturalmente el libro tiene muy buenos capítulos, y escenas interesantes —épicas incluso—, no fue una característica constante ni en el ritmo, ni en el argumento que presenta el autor. Por momentos, y sin exagerar, sentí que estaba leyendo una empalagosa telenovela repetitiva. Lento, debido a las nuevas presentaciones de personajes; largo, porque cada capítulo tenía una duración más extensa que en volúmenes anteriores; aburrido, por la falta de acción y giros inesperados. Repito y aclaro: Por supuesto que hubieron capítulos muy interesantes, escenas que aplaudí por su gran elaboración, y conversaciones ladinas que me entretuvieron, pero fueron muy escasas teniendo en cuenta que estamos leyendo el cuarto volumen de la saga.

Comprendo la decisión del autor de dividir su historia en dos volúmenes (Festín de cuervos y Danza de dragones) porque iba a resultar muy extensa; sin embargo, no es una decisión que comparto. No la comparto porque soy de los lectores que prefieren un libro largo, pero completo, que uno publicado, pero inconcluso. La situación de este libro me hace recordar a Aldous Huxley, quien en su libro Un mundo feliz, afirma que pudo alterar su historia en ediciones posteriores simplemente porque él encontraba bastantes defectos en la trama. Sin embargo, prefirió dejarlo así, porque una modificación de la estructura o de cualquier detalle de su historia, podría afectarlo todo, causando que los lectores ya no sintieran los mismos sentimientos o pensamientos que él quería transmitir. Pienso que eso es exactamente lo que le sucede a este volumen. Quizás, esa alteración en el orden de la historia, y esa omisión de capítulos que colocaría en un volumen más adelante, afectó seriamente el ritmo de la historia. A veces necesitamos conocer la información en un orden concreto para comprender correctamente una idea, pero si alteramos ese orden, tal vez esa idea ya no será importante para nosotros. Es como cuando hablamos con los niños sobre sexo; obviamente no podemos decirles toda la información referente en un solo día, pero tampoco debemos omitir temas importantes porque de lo contrario no tendrán una buena educación sexual: No es lo mismo aprender sobre sexo con tus amigos, a que te expliquen tus parientes.

Después de dejar claro que el gran problema de este libro no es la postguerra que se vive en la historia, sino la falta de constancia en la intensidad de la obra, puedo pasar a valorar lo destacable. Primero que todo, independientemente del argumento, la prosa es muy buena como siempre. Este señor podría tener 40, 70, 100, o 400 años —obvio sé qué no podrá llegar a la última cifra— pero siempre escribirá bien. Es su don, y lo sabe hacer, eso no se puede reprochar. Asimismo, como GRRM ambientó todo para que los personajes vivieran una postguerra, entonces requería personajes con roles de sabiduría y meditación. Y, afortunadamente, los que ha creado lo han hecho bien, expresando en el momento indicado algunas frases para que los personajes importantes de la historia sufrieran un cambio en sus pensamientos y comportamientos. A veces este tipo de roles secundarios no se tiene mucho en cuenta pero son necesarios, y aquí el autor los ha usado súper bien.

Otro cambio importante que sufren algunos personajes es que al no estar centrando su energía y atención a combatir en una guerra, entonces ese tiempo libre empiezan a usarlo para pensar en el pasado, en sus relaciones, en sus sueños, y en su vida personal en general. Sí, es una situación que perjudica la acción, pero nos ofrece la oportunidad de conocer la verdadera esencia del ser que se esconde tras una coraza. Estos personajes son como cebollas, con distintas capas ocultas en lo más profundo de su interior. Conocer sus pasados es un viaje inesperado, y de hecho podríamos llegar a pensar que esa información ni siquiera es necesaria, pero es una manera de seguir dándoles profundidad a los personajes. No todo es guerra, sangre y muerte, el pasado también es importante para entender el presente.

A pesar de la experiencia, los últimos capítulos son los que te generan esa curiosidad suficiente para seguir leyendo el siguiente volumen y para desear más libros de este autor. Si el final no te dejara con esa chispa de curiosidad, posiblemente no te sentirías atraído de comprar el siguiente volumen y seguir leyendo. Con este libro podemos quedar muy inconformes por no encontrar un contenido con calidad cercana a su volumen predecesor, pero es una historia infinita que puede tener mil caminos diferentes, por lo que tantas posibilidades convierten el futuro en algo impredecible, aumentando muchísimo tu curiosidad de conocer el camino que el autor les destinará a sus personajes. Puede que el camino no te deje satisfecho, puede que prefieras conocer otro tipo de información, pero el mundo creado por GRRM ya tiene vida propia desde hace mucho, por lo que sientes la necesidad de seguir leyendo a pesar de todas las objeciones. Eso me pasa mucho con esta historia. Por eso sigo leyendo, y por eso leeré el quinto volumen, y por ello también estaré esperando ansioso la sexta entrega (si algún día la pública).

Aparte de varios de mis personajes favoritos, también he extrañado mucho la presencia de magia en esta historia. La magia es lo más intrigante del libro, junto con los sueños, por lo que su ausencia me ha dejado un poco entristecido. Como lo decía dos párrafos más arriba, no todo es guerra, sangre y muerte. Esta saga entra en el género de la fantasía; fantasía que prácticamente no apareció en todo el libro. Menciono esto, para aclararle al futuro lector, lo que hay, y lo que no hay, y para que las expectativas no le jueguen a nadie una mala pasada: Se deben tener mucho más bajas de lo normal, quizás así se disfrute más el libro.

En resumen, un libro que sufre directamente las consecuencias de un volumen anterior completamente épico, pero que también sufre por culpa de las fallas de su creador que, al intentar evitar hacer una obra muy extensa, malogra su estructura de forma inconsciente. Para que la mayoría de sus lectores recomienden y prefieran leer ambos volúmenes al tiempo (cuarto y quinto), es porque precisamente ese era el orden en que la historia debía publicarse desde un inicio. Intensidad media, partes aburridas, partes entretenidas, pero en general un libro que mantiene la esencia de Juego de tronos. La esencia de traicionar, asesinar, tomar el poder, y crear alianzas para intentar hacerte más fuerte. Un tres de calificación me parece una justa valoración. Una mayor, sería insensata; una menor, sería sanguinaria.

Próximo destino, Danza de dragones.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
July 13, 2016
There’s only one problem with this book, and that’s the point of view characters. As a reader I’ve grown somewhat used to things like this:




So, when I'm just given things like this instead it’s bound to disappoint:




There are massive pacing issues with the most recent (ha! that’s a joke) two books of the series, and I mean massive. There’s a whole lot of nothing in this one. Cersei’s chapters are excruciating to read. That’s not surprising considering she is probably the least likable of characters within this series. This doesn’t make the book bad because of this. I think she needed some point of view chapters, but what she didn’t need was a never-ending amount of them; it was just too many. By doing this it meant that there were very few chapters that were enjoyable to read; there was no Tyrion, Dany, Jon Snow or Bran in the book.

I think George. R. R Martin made a massive mistake when he decided to have this and A Dance with Dragons occur at the same time. The story clearly got away from him and became a little convoluted. The pacing is terrible; there is no real payoff in either book (unlike its predecessors). The book comes to an end at a random point of the story, which just didn’t feel quite right. Personally, I think he should have continued the trend he set with his the previous books in the series. It just needed one straightforward time arc. We don’t need events happening at the same time across books; it didn’t need to become that complex; it’s already perfectly complex. He’s clearly wrote himself into a corner with it. Hence the time it’s taken him to get the next book out.

Well, that being said, there is still a lot to take from this book. The story does, of course, develop and become even more engaging. If anything this book made me count down the days to the release of A Dance with Dragons. But, that’s not really a good thing. I think most people tend to forgive Martin for his slip into convolutedness because the previous books were so damn good. I just hope he has tamed the amount of new point of view characters in the much anticipated six book. I think it’s far too late to add so many point of views into the series. One or two is understandable in a book of this type, but when it’s like six or seven it becomes a little bit of a joke. It takes away from the central stories. I’m moaning again here. I began to lay down the positives which just developed into another rant!

Redeeming features


This books not all bad, far from it. Arya’s story takes a most interesting turn, and Jaime begins to search for his lost honour. These are amongst interesting characters of the entire series, so there points of view saved the book. And then Sam gets his moment in the light. Things do develop and go forward; we see the politics from a different angle. But, I still think it should have been all along one time arc; it would have been a lot easier. See what I mean? I just can’t focus on the positives, so I’m going to leave it here.

I may complain about this book, but in reality it’s only because I love this series so much. There are obvious problems with it, though it doesn’t stop me from reading on or re-reading previous books. I may grit my teeth and cringe when I read certain chapters, but I’ll read them again and complain about them again. This series is what got me into reading in the first place, so I do owe a lot to it even if this book fell below the benchmark Martin set himself.

A Song of Ice and Fire
1. A Game of Thrones- A life chnaging five stars
2.A Clash of Kings- An Impish five stars
3. A Storm of Swords - A Lannister loving five stars
4. A Feast for Crows - A flat 3.5 stars
Profile Image for Baba.
3,559 reviews850 followers
October 6, 2022
Game of Thrones book No. 5 / A Song of Ice and Fire, book No. 4 focuses on goings on in Kings Landing, Dorne, Hightower, Bravos, the Iron Islands and the roads between them. Catching up with the missing Starks and the on-the-road Samwell, the tentative(?) Lannister alliance, Jamie's search for meaning and the heart rending quest of Brienne, too name just a few of the many character journeys being undertaken! The Five King War has ended, but from the ashes of war arrives chaos, anarchy, and the rise of religious fanaticism. The weakest book so far, but still very good considering. Just scrapes in as a Four Star, 8 out of 12

2015 read; 2012 read
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,867 reviews16.5k followers
February 24, 2019
How do you follow up after an epic throw down, a no holds barred monster truck rally demolition derby Hulkamania caged grudge match?

By doing something different.

George R. R. Martin’s third Song of Ice and Fire book, A Storm of Swords was this epic Andre the Giant kegfest. Many fans have lamented and complained about the fourth book, A Feast for Crows, first published in 2005. It’s not exciting enough, not enough INYERFACE!! action and we don’t even get to hang out with some of the cool recurring characters.

But there was NO WAY IN WESTEROS that Martin was going to top ASOS immediately after writing. It would be like following a great act on stage, he’s got to mix it up, follow a fastball with a change of pace, and he did. A Feast of Crows is a darker, more brooding work and serves to further expand his world building, to more fully develop some of the other characters and to introduce some upcoming sub-plots.

Fans first figured out that Martin was going off the beaten path when Eddard Stark went from 5’ 10 to 5’2. This was going to have brutally realistic elements and people were going to die (a lot of people) so calling in new cast members is an important part of his success. Learning more about the Iron Isles, Dorne and The Vale was stimulating and expanded his already amazing vision.

And am I not the only one who wants to learn more about Braavos? Hell, I want to GO there. Arya’s story, as expected and hoped for, takes some attractive twists.

So Tyrion and Daenerys are just fine and we’ll get back to them, this was a cool book on its own and a fun jaunt away from the main events thus far.

Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.6k followers
September 3, 2017
“Words are like arrows. Once loosed, you cannot call them back.”

This took me - compared to it's prequels - "only" a month to read. As always, there were chapters that I enjoyed more than others. Sometimes so intruiging I did not want to stop reading, other times I wondered why in seven hells someone would bother wasting their time writing such pointless words.

Here's the list of POV's from most to least liked:

Arianne Martell
Aeron Greyjoy
Asha Greyjoy
Areo Hotah
Arys Oakheart
Victarion Greyjoy
Brienne of Tarth

I've never been a big fan of Arya's chapters. They bored me in the same way Brienne's do now: lots of aimless wandering around Westeros, from one disaster to the other. I'm glad she arrived in Bravos and can't wait to find out more about her life under the eyes the Many-Faced God.
Why. Why bother. We all know she won't find Sansa in the Riverlands. We all know exactly where Sansa is. To me there was nothing more pointless in the whole series than her chapters. Luckily her plotline got more exciting towards the end of the book.
The Greyjoys:
It was interesting to read about the Iron Islands, especially about the Kingsmoat. But I could live happily ever after without those Ironborn, who only stir up more trouble. It's not like there's not enough misery already.
The Martells:
While I always wanted to know more about Dorne, the chapters did not really add much to the big plot. Again, it seemed a little pointless to me, but yes, I loved finding out about Dorne's secret plans and affairs.

Find more of my books on Instagram
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,199 followers
February 4, 2019
I didn't like this as much as the others. Still a great book.
Profile Image for John Mauro.
Author 5 books392 followers
May 15, 2023
My complete review is published at Grimdark Magazine.

A Feast for Crows is the fourth and most polarizing volume in George R.R. Martin’s epic grimdark series, A Song of Ice and Fire, which began with A Game of Thrones and continued with the excellent A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords. Although A Feast for Crows falls short of these three previous volumes, there is still a lot to love here, particularly in the detailed psychological portraits painted of Cersei and Jaime Lannister.

On the negative side, several of the main characters from the first three books are simply not present in A Feast for Crows. Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow, and Tyrion Lannister are all sorely missing from this fourth volume. As the most compellingly drawn character in the series, Tyrion’s absence is particularly regrettable.

Instead, A Feast for Crows grants point-of-view status to a cadre of side characters who aren’t even provided names in their chapter headings. These chapters are given titles such as “The Prophet,” “The Captain of the Guard,” and “The Soiled Knight.” With such a large cast of characters already in A Song of Ice and Fire, it is difficult to justify the page space devoted to these new additions. It’s also frustrating for readers who just want to find out what happens to the main dramatis personae of the series. Unfortunately, the chapters devoted to these side characters mostly serve to slow down the main plot and interrupt the flow of the story. Despite its slow start, A Feast for Crows picks up the pace later in the book and has an especially strong finish.

Cersei Lannister steals the show as a first-time point-of-view character in A Feast for Crows. George R.R. Martin thoroughly immerses us in Cersei’s twisted mind as she descends deeper into jealousy, paranoia, and hysteria. Martin’s analysis of Cersei’s psychology is superb and, frankly, worth the entire book.

The relationship between Cersei and her brother Jaime is damaged beyond repair in A Feast for Crows. Jaime is obsessed with Cersei’s many infidelities, unable to force the list of her illicit lovers out of his mind. Ever the loyal knight, Jaime is also trying to find a new purpose for himself after losing his sword-wielding hand in the previous book. The phantom sensations that Jaime feels from his missing hand brought me chills.

Brienne of Tarth is another favorite character in A Feast for Crows. After spending A Storm of Swords guiding Jaime back to the Lannisters, Brienne now sets off in search of the missing Sansa Stark. The highlight of Brienne’s story occurs when she meets Lady Stoneheart, the zombified Catelyn Stark who is hellbent on revenge against those who betrayed her at the Red Wedding massacre in the previous book. I’m surprised that Lady Stoneheart was left out of the HBO series, as she is such a haunting and menacing presence in A Feast for Crows.

The Stark sisters, Sansa and Arya, are given three chapters each. Littlefinger has rescued Sansa from the Lannisters and rechristened her as Alayne Stone, pretending to be his illegitimate daughter. Littlefinger is captivated by how much Sansa looks like her mother, Catelyn, for whom he has a longstanding infatuation. Littlefinger’s interactions with Sansa alternate between creepiness and education in the fine art of political manipulation.

Meanwhile, Arya continues her aimless wandering, this time sailing to the foreign city of Braavos, where she adopts yet another pseudonym. Arya’s storyline ends on a cliffhanger, so I’m excited to see what happens next.

Despite its flaws, A Feast for Crows is still a great book. Although it falls short of its predecessors, the chapters devoted to Cersei, Jaime, and Brienne are all outstanding, and it also carries the story forward for Sansa and Arya. If readers can forgive the unnecessary diversions from the side characters, there is still much to love here.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
695 reviews1,072 followers
December 15, 2017
“In the game of thrones, even the humblest pieces can have wills of their own.”

4.5 stars rounded up!

Another fantastic instalment in the A Song of Ice and Fire series.
Sparrows have flocked to Kings Landing and created uproar! No one is safe - even the royals.

“How much can a crown be worth, when a crow can dine on a king?”

Jaime and Cersei become estranged from one another, he is sent to reclaim lands for the crown while Cersei attempts to rule through her son, and remove his new Queen.

“Queen you shall be...until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all you hold dear.”

Brienne is on the road hunting for Sansa - facing many godawful villains along the way.
Arya takes on a new identity in Braavos, currently residing in the temple of the many-faced god.
Sansa too has a new name, hiding in plain sight in the Eyrie.
Samwell Tarly has left the wall, under instructions to study to become a Maester.

There are also many other new POVs we experience including some of the Ironborn and the Dornish, which certainly brought different perspectives.

My only gripe is the POVs that are left out - no Dany, Jon Snow, Davos or Tyrion! This meant I found this one harder to plow through as frankly I can’t stand Cersei and Jaime’s chapters were just average. I lived for Sam and Brienne’s chapters mainly.
Still fantastic storylines as this world constantly moves and changes. Time for A Dance with Dragons!

“It is being common born that is dangerous, when the great lords play their game of thrones.”
Profile Image for Ryan.
Author 1 book39 followers
March 31, 2008
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 build-up 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.
Profile Image for Collin.
61 reviews10 followers
February 29, 2008
I feel like giving this book 3 stars is being harsh to my man, George Martin, but I'm trying to separate the truly great books in this series from the merely good ones.

Bottom line: fans of the series waited too long for this and therefore were in a position of being impossible to please once this finally came out. This coupled with the facts that numerous spoiler chapters had been available online for years and that George cut his original manuscript in 2 to produce this and the subsequent (as of now, published) volume serves to diminish the stature of "A Feast For Crows" in the context of the whole series.

Still, as its been said elsewhere, Bad George is still better than Excellent Crap. Since I am a completist I was going to love this book no matter what, and I do, but to the more casual fan this will definitely seem like a weak effort, and I think there's justice to this point of view.

The writing here feels uneven to me -- so much time in the real world has passed that I feel like George's writing style has actually changed here. His characters begin using terms that they never used before in the preceeding books ("nuncle" and "coz", in particular). There's also an egregious amount of "not giving a groat" here. I'd hate to be a groat merchant in Westeros at this point. What the hell IS a groat?

The interesting point of view structure of the previous books has been salted with an overabundance of "prologue" chapters that break with the structural traditions that George has already established. Enough with the Prologues! We're under siege here! Just give us one and hold on to some of that story telling goodness -- we already know you rule.

For fans, I think the Brienne chapters feel like wasted time, though Martin tells us that there were stories that needed to be told in "Feast" lest the whole tale would suffer (and I can only presume he includes the 'Brienne' bits in that proclamation). I will reserve judgment here and wait to see.

Also, the fact that only half the POVs (points of view) are represented in "Feast" leaves many fans cold. For myself, I needed me some more Tyrion and I didn't get it here.

I believe once the remaining books are published, the profile of this book may improve. But this is clearly well-seasoned asparagus next to "A Storm of Swords'" filet mignon.
Profile Image for Lazaros.
271 reviews524 followers
March 31, 2015
“History is a wheel, for the nature of man is fundamentally unchanging. What has happened before will perforce happen again.”

I think this may be my favorite novel in the series. Not because it was the best but because I felt so connected to the story, more than I have ever felt before while reading this series. And while I can admit that the plot was poorer in comparison with its predecessors and there weren't all of the characters we've grown accustomed to reading about, I still feel like Mr. Martin is one of a kind and his writing is one of the best I've ever had the luck of reading and I could never ever give this book anything less than 5 stars for the simple reason that with this book, the series has finally found a place in my heart.

This book, as many of you may already know, is mainly focused upon King's Landing and some might say the South but I'm not so sure about that. In this book we read for the first time from Cersei's perspective and I have to admit that getting inside her head and seeing firsthand how her brain works, well, it was truly amazing. We see every single bit of malice the lovely Queen Regent has and how far she's willing to go to ensure that Tommen remains safe and sound from whoever tries to do him harm.

The story, despite the absence of some of the characters, such as Tyrion, Daenerys & Jon, was still just as riveting and I think that was principally because of the fact that the plot twists and revelations were scattered throughout the book so it actually kept me on the edge and had me intrigued the entire time.

In addition to Cersei, there's also quite lots of Jaime and I clearly saw him changing throughout the entire novel, from the tiny bits of details regarding how his brain works to the fact that he finally distances himself from Cersei and sees her for what she really is. He's sent to do Cersei's bidding and his last chapter in the novel, left my brain whirring.

Apart from Cersei & Jaime's perspectives, there are bits and pieces of the Iron Islands, told from the point of view of Asha, Victarion & such. Balon Greyjoy is dead and someone has to succeed him.

In the South, Oberyn's daughters, the Sand Snakes, want to avenge their father, so Doran is forced to prison them before they do something that will jeopardize everything. There's also a little bit of plotting from Arianne's side, who's Doran's daughter and his rightful heir. I never thought I'd like Arianne that much. She's quite bold and she has the guts to do what her father refuses to.

This book was big enough and I understand why Mr. Martin divided the story into two parts. It would just be too huge if he had tried to write about all of the characters in one book and I understand he has a lot to write and a lot to give to us through his stories so honestly I'm not disappointed, if anything, I'm happy that he did that. The more the books, the merrier I'll be.

The fact, that a person can build such an amazing world, with the tiniest of details, it's truly amazing and inspirational. I don't get how he does it and honestly I get why his books take so long to come out, I mean they're huge, they're full of made-up history. I mean I wouldn't even be able to remember the names if I were him. I admire his talent and I hope there are more amazing books to come. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book, I'm anxious and ready for Jon, Dany & Tyrion's stories in the next book.
Profile Image for April.
146 reviews258 followers
November 26, 2016
"I have a hole where my heart should be, she thought, and nowhere else to go."

// God, this book. George R.R Martin writes so beautifully. Beginning this I did miss Tyrion's, Daenery's, and Jon's POVs, but this book was exceptional even without them. Cersi despite not liking her in the show I actually grew to love her parts. Especially her writing to Jaime for help and reading his response in turn had to be my favorite.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,165 reviews98.2k followers
September 25, 2016
1.) A Game of Thrones ★★★★★
2.) A Clash of Kings ★★★★★
3.) A Storm of Swords ★★★★★

#readASOIAF Read-Along - Hosted by Riley from Riley Marie, Elizabeth from Liz Loves Literature, and Kayla from BOOKadoodles. ♥

“In the game of thrones, even the humblest pieces can have wills of their own. Sometimes they refuse to make the moves you've planned for them.”

A Feast for Crows is my least favorite in this series, but this prologue and ending chapter give me life, I swear. GRRM is such a genius and if you have twenty minutes, I can't recommend this video, by Alt Shift X, enough. Seriously, these two plot points, that don't even seem to make sense, are going to play such a HUGE part in this world, and I'm still in awe over the genius.

I kept debating if I wanted to give this book four or five stars, but this plot point brings me so much joy that I couldn't resist and ended up just giving this five stars, too.

“I don't want to have a dozen sons," she had told him, appalled. "I want to have adventures”

I, also, absolutely loved all the feministic themes in this book. I know GRRM gets hate for all the violence against women in his books, but he writes some really empowering women, who I love to root for and read about:

-Asha's whole story line, with her right to rule, but a bunch of men are telling her she can't solely because she is a girl.
-Cersei finally ruling and acknowledging that everyone in her life has treated her like a piece of meat, only worthy of being married off to reproduce royal children, because she was born a woman, while seeing the male version of her (Jaime) thrive and live his dreams.
-Brienne smashing the patriarchy and gender roles left and right, all while making me her biggest fan.

Like, all of these themes make ASOIAF an even more enjoyable story to read. These are important themes that are very predominant in A Feast for Crows, and GRRM gives them the light they deserve. ASOIAF is truly an epic fantasy series above the rest.

I love this book, I love being a part of this reread, and I really love being back in this world. ASOIAF is such an immersive and all-encompassing experience, I can't really put it into words. I will always recommend this series to anyone who will listen.

The rest of this review will have spoilers from all the previous books and also spoilers for this book! If you have not read the first four books in this series, and do not want to get spoiled, please do not read this portion of my review!

At this point in the story, so much is happening, I think I'm just going to break down the major plot lines and how I, personally, feel about them:

Arya and the Many-Faced God - Again, I can't emphasize enough how amazing Alt Shift X's video is, and how informative it was for me during this reread. Arya has been through so much so far in this series. My heart always breaks for Arya. In A Feast for Crows, she finally finds a path with the God of Death's religion, where they literally take the faces of other people to kill others for their clients.

Sansa/Alayne, Robert, and Littlefinger - This whole story line is just so creepy; Littlefinger is the epitome of gross. Robert was weak before his mother's death, and now even weaker. I'm just waiting for his death to come, at this point. Sansa pretending to be Littlefinger's daughter, Alayne, is pretty heartbreaking to read. Sansa has, also, lost so much and watching her get stronger and stronger is really rewarding.

Asha, Euron, and Victarion - As much as I love Asha and watching her not back down over her right to the Iron Throne, Euron is probably the character I hate the most in this world. The juxtaposition is actually insane. The scene in Oakenshield Castle, with Euron, was very hard for me to read.

Even though Euron wins the kingsmoot against Asha and Victarion, Victarion still agrees to bring Dany Euron's marriage proposal, yet, he has an ulterior motive that we will see in A Dance with Dragons.

Cersei, Margaery, and Maggy the Frog - Let me preface this portion by saying: I think Cersei is one of the best villains I've ever read. All of her actions make sense, and you can't help but somewhat root for her. She is constantly being plagued by a vision a witch gave her at a young age, in which she predicted Cersei to become Queen, have three children that will all die, be overthrown by a younger and more beautiful girl, and to eventually die at the hands of her younger brother (who she thinks is 100% Tyrion, but I 100% think it will be Jaime - especially if books take the show's route).

“Men have scars, women mysteries.”

Cersei thinks, by getting Margaery (who is now Queen, married to Tommen) out of the picture, she will ensure that Maggy the Frog's prophecy doesn't come true. You know, because she has no idea what Daenerys Targaryen is up to. Which brings us to...

The High Sparrow - ...who is heavily foreshadowed to be an evil bastard from the start. Not only does he agree to doing to Gods' work with Margaery, but he then takes it upon himself to do it with Cersei, as well! I know most of us know how the show's version of this story-arc went down, but I cannot wait to actually read GRRM's book version, that will have major differences (like Loras Tyrell's storyline.)

Jaime - The last thing Jaime does in this book, is receives the letter from Cersei letting him know all the shit that is going down in King's Landing. You know, because she sent him away for reasons. Oh, Jaime, you try so very hard to do what is right, but it always falls apart anyways. He is also harboring the secret of being the one that actually released Tyrion in A Storm of Swords, while being haunted with Tyrion's information of who is warming Cersei's bed. If I could ask for one happy ending for any of the characters in ASOIAF, I would ask for it to be Jaime's. His story-line is seriously one of the most compelling things I've ever read, and I have so much empathy for him.

Brienne - Oh, and of course I ship Jaime with Brienne! Is it just me, or is their sexual tension out of this freakin' world? Like, I need this; I need this to happen very badly. Brienne is one of my favorite characters, and such an honorable soul, how could you not love her? She is still in search of Sansa, with Podrick Payne, Tyrion's old squire, in tow. On this journey she is constantly belittled for being a woman that is a knight, but never loses focus on her promise to Cat.

Lady Stoneheart - AKA: Resurrected Cat, is on a killing spree for vengeance. Even though she can't really speak, because she died getting her throat slit, she and her group are seeking retribution for the Red Wedding in A Storm of Swords. In this book, she gives Brienne an ultimatum to either kill Jaime or die herself, and Brienne, being all that is right in this world, chooses death, but on a cliffhanger, of course!

Sam, Gilly, the babe, and Maester Aemon - I'm not going to lie, Sam's chapters were a little unbearable for me. He, Gilly, the babe and Maester Aemon are on their way to the Citadel, where Sam is going to try to find something that will help them win the impending war that is looming with the White Walkers.

My heart breaks for Gilly, because (unlike the show) it is stated that her and King-Beyond-the-Wall, Mance Rayder, switched children, because Melisandre wants to sacrifice a child of royal blood. I mean, this might be the saddest thing in this book. I can't even imagine Gilly's pain, and my empathy is off the charts for her.

“There is no shame in loving. If your septons say there is, your seven gods must be demons. In the isles we know better. Our gods gave us legs to run with, noses to smell with, hands to touch and feel. What mad cruel god would give a man eyes and tell him he must forever keep them shut, and never look at all the beauty in the world? Only a monster god, a demon of the darkness.”

Aemon accompanies them on this journey to the Citadel, because Jon, too, thinks that Melisandre would want to sacrifice him for his royal Targaryen blood, so he sends him away, as well. Sadly, he is dying as their boat makes it to Braavos, but not before realizing that Dany and her dragons are going to change the world.

This series is so very close to my heart and I can't express enough how much I truly love it. I could triple my word count by gushing and fangirling about theories, but I'll save that for my A Dance with Dragons review!

“One more book, he had told himself, then I'll stop. One more folio, just one more. One more page, then I'll go up and rest and get a bite to eat. But there was always another page after that one, and another after that, and another book waiting underneath the pile. I'll just take a quick peek to see what this one is about, he'd think, and before he knew he would be halfway through it.”

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Profile Image for Sara.
369 reviews321 followers
May 23, 2021
Its taken me a while to get round to it but i'm back on my ASOIAF re-read!
At over 1000 pages, A Feast for Crows is a mammoth of a book and took me most of July to read whilst in a slump but i enjoyed most of it and i'm pleased i picked it back up. These books have a way of completely captivating me and keeping me well and truly hooked on the story.

A Feast for Crows is often thought of as the "worst" book in the series and i have to say i do understand why. The pacing of this story really slows down after all of the drama of the third book and some of the POV's feel particularly slow and aimless.

Brienne's chapters, whilst long winded and fairly dull, did at least give us a glimpse of the effect the war has had on the rest of Westeros which was a nice touch and left us on an incredible cliffhanger!

My favourite thing about this book though is Dorne, the show really did it such an injustice as the story line and the characters are brilliant. Arianne is my favourite character in the whole series and is a total badass i can't help but route for. I wish we had had more chapters set in Dorne instead of 10 Cersei chapters!

Overall i liked this book, just not as much as the others. It lays the groundwork for what could be some really interesting plot points but takes a long time to do so.
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