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A feast for crows - George R.R. Martin
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- Publication Information:Bantam Books
Random House Inc, Attn Order Entry, 400 Hahn rd, Westminster, MD, 21157
- Publication Date:11/08/2005
- Physical Description:Maps
Booklist Reviews 2005 November #2
The crow is the traditional scavenger bird of the medieval battlefield, and this fourth volume of Martin's monumental Song of Ice and Fire is appropriately named. King Robert is dead. His widow, Ceris, occupies the Iron Throne, surrounded but not supported by her relatives. Outlaw leader Robb Stark is also dead, and what he has left behind aren't kindred noblemen and -women but warlords and bandit chiefs, all squabbling over the pieces of the Seven Kingdoms that they anticipate grasping. Martin confesses that he could not find room to continue all the characters of the preceding series entries--A Game of Thrones (1996), A Clash of Kings (1999), and A Storm of Swords (2000)--and that those neglected here will be seen next year in A Dance with Dragons. Martin's command of English and of characterization and setting remains equal to the task of the fantasy megasaga, which is good because Martin's Song is starting to rival the page count of Robert Jordan's 12-volume Wheel of Time. Good news for readers of robust appetite. ((Reviewed November 15, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2005 July #1
First previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/03, the fourth book in Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series finally arrives. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
LJ Reviews 2005 November #2
As the dead king's widow, Cersei Lannister rules as Queen Regent in King's Landing, but her regency is far from secure. Though a few legitimate claimants to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms still exist, many have died and new threats arise. With the death of Balon, King of the Isles, his remaining brother, the leader of a fanatical religious cult of the Drowned God, seeks Balon's throne and, after that, the Iron Throne. Rebellions, bandit raids, and unexpected enemies beset the land as only destruction looms in the future. The fourth novel in Martin's popular mega-fantasy (A Game of Thrones; A Clash of Kings; A Storm of Swords ) introduces new plot twists and characters that continue to flesh out one of the genre's most detailed and intriguing worlds. A must-purchase for libraries owning the series, this panoramic fantasy adventure is highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/05.][Page 64]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
LJ Reviews 2002 December #1
In the fourth volume of Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" saga, the evil king is finally dead-and trouble is starting to brew. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
LJ Reviews 2003 May #2
A Game of Thrones. A Storm of Swords. And now A Feast of Crows, the continuation of Martin's epic fantasy series. With the bad old king dead, who will occupy the Iron Throne? Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
PW Reviews 2005 October #1
Long-awaited doesn't begin to describe this fourth installment in bestseller Martin's staggeringly epic Song of Ice and Fire. Speculation has run rampant since the previous entry, A Storm of Swords , appeared in 2000, and Feast teases at the important questions but offers few solid answers. As the book begins, Brienne of Tarth is looking for Lady Catelyn's daughters, Queen Cersei is losing her mind and Arya Stark is training with the Faceless Men of Braavos; all three wind up in cliffhangers that would do justice to any soap opera. Meanwhile, other familiar faces--notably Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen--are glaringly absent though promised to return in book five. Martin's Web site explains that Feast and the forthcoming A Dance of Dragons were written as one book and split after they grew too big for one volume, and it shows. This is not Act I Scene 4 but Act II Scene 1, laying groundwork more than advancing the plot, and it sorely misses its other half. The slim pickings here are tasty, but in no way satisfying. (Nov.)[Page 51]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
A Feast of Crows
I've enjoyed this series, honestly I have, but the latest entry--A Feast for Crows--has forced me to seriously reconsider whether it has been worth it. In the first place, frankly, this is no longer the series I'd signed on for. The first novel introduced a group of characters, the Starks, and led us to believe that they would be central to the narrative. Now with most of them dead or scattered, they're almost incidental to it. Since this volume only deals with half of the current "main cast," some of my personal favorites completely disappear (like Tyrion and Daenerys). In short, when I decided to continue on after A Game of Thrones, I didn't know I'd be reading 1000 pages of Brienne and the Iron Born. Aside from this literary 'bait and switch,' there's also the fact that... well... nothing really happens in this book. Okay, maybe "nothing" is harsh, but it certainly feels like it. *Lots of things* should happen in a 1000 page book, but Martin strives to put all of the relevant happenings at the very end. Before that, characters spend an endless amount of time wandering from place to place. We readers get to meet all sorts of new and extraneous characters, instead of spending time with the countless we've met before. (Though in fairness, given the time between publishings, it's unlikely we'd remember all of those older characters. I can't keep straight who's died anymore... I forget, is Theon dead?) Incredibly, most of the exciting action (battles and the like) take place between chapters, and we only learn about it through conversation after the fact. Many of the new characters introduced here get their own POV chapter, sometimes one to a character. The series is becoming increasingly disjointed, and there's certainly no kind of resolution for anything in sight. The one real thru-line is Cersei's story. She probably gets the most chapters, and something like an actual plot. Of course, I can sum up all of those chapters to you here with: Cersei hates and is suspicious of/jealous of everyone and everything. Cersei sits around and snapes at everything, over and over again, and lord but it doesn't get much more exciting than that until page 900. The series is, at least, consistent in that the worst things always happen to the best characters and things can always be counted on to go wrong (unless you're a villain). While it was once possible to say that Martin was being "realistic" in showing that, sometimes, bad things happen to the heroes... well, it's almost ridiculous now, in how nothing good ever seems to happen to anyone who could be described as "virtuous." Though, of course, very few of the remaining characters could so be described. Most have been decapitated well before this novel. There is a line between "realism" and "sadism," and it isn't all that "fine." Martin has crossed it some time ago. Man, I was looking forward to this book. But really what I was looking forward to was a sequel to the novels that had come before it. Instead, this book (and, increasingly, the series) abandons the characters who have come before and, rather than offer any resolution, creates new conflicts spiraling off into the aether. It doesn't deal with any of those conflicts, either. Instead, it contents itself with having all of its main characters walk from locale to locale, talking, thinking and dreaming but never doing. George R.R. Martin has taken up close to 4000 pages now, more than three times what Tolkien used in The Lord of the Rings and more than twice War and Peace. He has accomplished very little for all that, and given us little hope that there's any relief in sight. His preferred method of resolving conflicts seems to be having his characters abruptly die, and so that's how I figure he'll tie the loose ends here. It's all rather depressing, if like me you feel you have to finish what you start. Martin is capable of good, snappy storytelling--his graphic novel which takes place in the same world, The Hedge Knight, was really quite good. But it has one large advantage over A Song of Ice and Fire in that it has a beginning, middle and end. A Song of Ice and Fire, on the other hand, seems to be nothing but an endless middle. (The fact that it's a series doesn't mean it can't have both rising and falling action and resolutions to conflicts sprinkled along the way. Examine almost any other series, ever, for examples.) Not all of these flaws are new to the series--in fact, they've been there since almost the start--but over time they're becoming more and more inescapable and damaging to the overall experience. Two stars for this novel. If things don't rapidly improve, and there's no reason to expect them to, we'll quickly find ourselves at a solitary star. A shame.
Adult Summer Reading
Book four of "Games of Thrones" books. I'm told it was necessary information to move forward into the next adventures and tasks. Still good but not as thrilling as some of the others.