Sep 4, 2013

A Feast for Crows

by George R.R. Martin

It's a bad sign when you're reading less and less eagerly, and start wondering when is this going to be over? This book was just too long, and it had too few of my favorite characters, and too many new ones to keep track of. Of course many many more people die, and in very unpleasant ways as well. That's something I haven't really mentioned before about these books: they are very brutal. Thankfully Martin doesn't go into a ton of detail, whether he's describing someone getting their arm cut off or raped (there's plenty of that). Women are not treated very well, but this didn't bother me much at first, as I pictured the world he's built being structured like a medieval society, and well, things were pretty awful for lots of people back then. Or so I imagine. What I do like is that there are plenty of powerful women who step outside the normal bounds of that society, here. Denarys is a notable one for me, because not only is she powerful, but also merciful, determined to set slaves free wherever her army goes (although the results of that are not always what she had hoped). Then there is Brienne. She is the opposite of most women: large, strong, wields a sword as good as any knight, puts her life into the service of others. Is constantly mocked for her looks and unfeminine strength. Stubbornly loyal as well. I like her, and I don't like how other people treat her. She's been a constant thread in the books before, but this is the first time that Martin has given entire chapters over to her point of view, which I appreciated. Compared to those two women Catelyn Stark is just plain dull.

I was horrified by what happens later in the book. I started to really detest some of the characters who treat others in a vile manner, repeatedly. Namely Cersei. How I loathe that woman! My eyes started to glaze over with the numerous names, the introduction of yet more minor characters, the constant shifting between viewpoints. And I haven't even told you of what happens! Well, a lot. People continue to struggle for power in the realm (if they are in a position to care about that, or have a shot at it) or they simply struggle for survival. It's a detailed picture of the aftermath of war (well, quite a bit of war still going on) and of how people pick up the pieces and go on when main figures simply fall off the map. Dealing with the aftermath of everything. Turning it into new events. I found it amusing a few times when certain characters would intersect with others and they had no idea who each other were, or why they were significant, but the reader knows.

I was disappointed that most of the characters I'd become most interested in weren't featured in this book at all, but are the focus of the fifth one, which is a companion volume to this (it was so long the author turned it into two volumes). I am in continual admiration at the author's skill in building so complex a world, and also continually feeling annoyed, tired, disgusted and bored (this last with the politics mainly). I do want to read A Dance with Dragons just because I want more of the dragons, but am starting to wonder if I will really finish this series (it's starting to feel like Wheel of Time to me- never got through all of that one...) I need to get back to something simpler, now. Maybe silly or fun. While I wait for the fifth book to become available to me (waiting for my turn to borrow a library copy).

Rating: 2/5 ........ 978 pages, 2005

a few more opinions:
Satia's Reviews
The Book Barn
Val's Random Comments
Book Bunny's Burrow


Jenny @ Reading the End said...

I felt the same way about Feast of Crows. I didn't even read Dance with Dragons, and my understanding (from the New York Magazine recaps of it) is that there were not nearly enough dragons. At some point I'll probably catch up with the series, because I enjoyed most of it a lot the first time through, but I might be on a break from it for a good while.

bermudaonion said...

My son enjoys this series but I know it's not for me.

Jeane said...

Jenny- Noooo. Not enough dragons? Now I feel so discouraged. I was hoping I could look forward to that...

Bermudaonion- I know it's not for everyone. I'm a little surprised at myself for getting this far!

Christina said...

I was disappointed about the lack of the characters I found most interesting as well. Seemed like a odd choice and makes me worried about how the next novel will go because even those characters I liked in this novel did not hold my attention the way they had in the past.