Review: A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin

Reading A Feast for Crows was certainly a unique experience. Suffice it to say that getting through this book was an ordeal. And not necessarily in a good way. I really hope A Dance with Dragons picks up with the excitement and addictive storyline of the previous three installments.

TITLE: A Feast for Crows
AUTHOR: George R. R. Martin
GENRE: Fantasy
PUBLICATION: October 2005 at Bantam Books
PAGES: 1,085


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.

RATING: ⭑ ⭑ ⭑

In A Feast for Crows, we follow the fate of our characters from the Seven Kingdoms and get introduced to new ones from all around the world that George R. R. Martin has crafted. We get new POV characters and occasional detours to Braavos, Dorne, and the ironborn.

I have a lot of opinions. But let’s start by going over our POVs.

  • Samwell Tarly: Everyone’s favorite so-called craven. He spends the majority of this book on one ship or another.
  • Brienne, Maid of Tarth: Spends the entirety of this book looking for a highborn maid of three-and-ten with a fair face and auburn hair.
  • Cersei Lannister: Queen Regent of the Seven Kingdoms, professional schemer.
  • Jaime Lannister: Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. As far as I could tell, his character arc in this book is learning how to stand up to his sister.
  • Sansa Stark: In hiding at the Eyrie. Her chapters are basically Littlefinger being creepy and Robert Arryn being insufferable.
  • Arya Stark: In hiding. Spends her chapters trying to forget her name.
  • Aeron Greyjoy: Theon Greyjoy’s zealot uncle.
  • Victarion Greyjoy: Theon Greyjoy’s other uncle.
  • Asha Greyjoy: Theon Greyjoy’s older sister.
  • Areo Hotah: The prince of Dorne’s captain of the guard.
  • Arys Oakheart: The Kingsguard sworn to protect Princess Myrcella in Dorne.
  • Arianne Martell: The prince of Dorne’s eldest daughter and heir.

As you can see, our narrators are mostly made up of former secondary characters from the previous installments. It was interesting to explore more of the world through new perspectives, and getting to know these characters and their stories. I also enjoyed getting more time to observe how the war has affected people other than the nobility, especially through Brienne’s journey.

Unfortunately, that’s virtually the only thing I enjoyed about this book. The storyline was much too heavy for these new characters to carry on their own, resulting in unbearably slow pacing and a continuous stream of what could be considered world-building if this wasn’t the fourth book in this series.

We spend a lot of time in King’s Landing — thanks to Cersei and Jaime — but the political (and literal) backstabbing and plot twists that make this series so addicting are noticeably absent. The last quarter picked up a bit of speed, what with Cersei finally doing something instead of just scheming about it, Jaime back on the battlefield, and the rather dramatic end to Brienne’s quest. Those last couple hundred of pages raised my rating to 3 stars.

I get what Martin was trying to do here. In the author’s note, he explains that he judged it better to write all of the story for half the characters instead of half the story for all of the characters. I respect his decision, but I can’t help but think this book would have been much better if he went with the other option. The next book better be good because it’s the only reason I forced myself through this one.

Abby the Christian Bookworm

The Message Bible defines faithfulness as being involved in loyal commitments (Galatians 5:22-23 MSG). This verse’s relevance to the characters of A Song of Ice and Fire seems pretty self-explanatory. (Looking at you, Cersei Lannister.) Brienne’s loyalty, for one, was a breath of fresh air after the relentless betrayals and counter-betrayals of the previous books.

How about you? Have you read A Feast for Crows? What did you think of it?

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