Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Feast For Crows, by George R.R. Martin

976 pages
Publisher: Bantam Spectra
Source: My Collection

Description: After centuries of bitter strife, the seven powers dividing the land have beaten one another into an uneasy truce. But it's not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters of the Seven Kingdoms gather. Now, as the human crows assemble over a banquet of ashes, daring new plots and dangerous new alliances are formed, while surprising faces—some familiar, others only just appearing—emerge from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges of the terrible times ahead. Nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages, are coming together to stake their fortunes...and their lives. For at a feast for crows, many are the guests—but only a few are the survivors. (from the back cover)

Review: This books greatest weakness isn't that its half a book, its that its this half. 

When the author decided to split his growing manuscript into two separate books by character, somehow this one seems to have ended up with the majority of the newly introduced ones. Some of them are characters who have been around, but we never got their viewpoint before. Others are, effectively, completely new, even if they've been listed in the appendix since A Game of Thrones.

While I don't mind now following Cersei to find out what's going on in King's Landing, we also now have pov characters in Dorne and The Iron Islands thrown into the mix. Clearly these characters and events play a part in the overall story he's writing, but it would have been better if he'd achieved a better balance of established and new when he made the split.

My biggest disappointments were Sam's chapters though. I like the character, but I found a lot of what we got of him in this volume felt a bit too much like filler leading up to the few important events that happen near the end of the book. Despite him being a new pov character, I didn't feel I ended up knowing Sam any better from then I did from Jon's chapters in the earlier books.

One last issue I had with the book. Due to the way it was originally written, we do get what seems to be a major spoiler for one pov character who doesn't have any new chapters until A Dance With Dragons. (I only say "seems to" because I haven't gotten quite far enough in ADWD to confirm things are going to happen the way they are reported. I certainly looks like it.)

On the bright side, from looking at chapter names in the next book, it looks like a few of the things left hanging near the end of this book, will be partially continued late in ADWD, rather than forcing the readers to wait until The Winds of Winter finally comes out.

I'm still convinced that the author does know where he's ultimately going with this story, but part of that is because I'm about halfway through the next book. This book, while it plays an important part in that overall story, is still a bit of a misstep.

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