2012 Challenges, Books

Book 97: A Feast for Crows – George R.R. Martin

The first of Martin’s novels NOT to win the Locus award and I can see why. To much was just not there. I understand the uniqueness of trying to split the story geographically, but it definitely left a lot to be desired. I can’t imagine reading this and having to wait nearly 6 years to read the ‘other half’ of the novel. Checking in as the second shortest novel of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (only the first novel, A Game of Thrones is shorter) this novel still qualifies for the Tea and Books Reading Challenge and I am counting it for the Mount TBR Challenge as well.

The more of these novels I read, the more I realize Martin is incredibly intelligent and his writing is phenomenal. The series is summed up by one line in this novel (as in the last novel), “Old powers waken. Shadows stir. An age of wonder and terror will soon be upon us, an age for gods and heroes.” This not only supports my earlier discussions about his ability to write about magic but not include it in the world, but highlights that these novels take place at one of those moments in a history which are write history and re-write history.

Overall I enjoyed the novel, but I did have to keep reminding myself that this is only half the story. Occasionally I stopped and was like wait, what about so-and-so, or whos-a-ma-whats-it and then I realized that oh wait this is only half the story. This is probably why the book was only nominated for awards (or the award committees are getting tired of awarding Martin awards).

The story itself was interesting enough and there were a few good ‘shockers’ but nothing as shocking as what occurred throughout the first three novels. The only thing that left me truly speechless was the end with what happens to the Maid of Tarth 😦 I’m not sure how it will work out or if it works out, but it is definitely spurring me on to read A Dance with Dragons that much faster.

Honestly, now that I’m 200 pages into A Dance with Dragons I don’t like the decision to separate the story by geography. I’m hoping it will somehow turn out better, but it just doesn’t work as much as I wanted it to. Not only did I spend a large portion of A Feast for Crows wondering what was going on with the other characters, I’m now spending portions of this book thinking I’ve read about this portion already, just from someone else’s point of view. It is unique to see some scenes from differing perspectives, but it’s more of a ‘oh that’s nice’ than anything else.

As for the title, there were plenty more opportunities for the crows to feast, but Martin introduced an entirely expanded story line which I’m not sure he needed to add, but to flesh out the world I can understand why he did. Focusing on the Iron Isles and the King of the Sea Chair is interesting and adds another perspective to the world, but only serves to complicate things and create even more convoluted story lines.

Recommendation: If you’ve slogged through the first three you should definitely read this one. I still recommend the series, but definitely be wary as you approach the last few novels as they become more and more convoluted and only seem to raise more questions than are answered. But regardless, I felt this quote about the series is incredibly apt:

George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series has taken fantasy out of the two-dimensional, black and white realm where it once happily existed and dragged it kicking and screaming into a land of believable characters, ambiguous situations, and bloody, sometimes uncertain denouements.” —Denver Post

Opening Line: ‘”Dragons,” saild Mollander. He snatched a withered apple off the ground and tossed it hand to hand.’

Closing Line: ‘”My thanks.” There was something about the pale, soft youth that he misliked, but he did not want to seem discourteous, so he added, “My name’s not Slayer, truly. I’m Sam. Samwell Tarly.” “I’m Pate,” the other said, “like the pig boy.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers.)

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16 thoughts on “Book 97: A Feast for Crows – George R.R. Martin”

  1. Good summary. I didn’t dislike this book, but after the first three (and especially the stellar Storm of Swords) it definitely stood out as the weakest so far.

    I lost momentum toward the beginning of A Dance with Dragons due to the start of the academic year. I still need to return to it.

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    1. Thanks for the comment – I agree about it not disliking it, but not necessarily liking it. I think the only thing driving me through A Dance with Dragons is the search for answers from the previous novels!

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  2. Splitting Feast and Dance up that way was kind of a pain to read when you’re waiting for Dance. I didn’t start these books when they first came out (I would have been too young to really grasp and understand it as much as I do…that is to say, there is still stuff I probably don’t understand..), but I did still have to wait a good 3-4 years for Dance to come out. I hope the last two are written the way the first 3 were!

    But image reading that scene with Brienne and having to wait years to find out if what you think happened really happened??? (what word did she cry out? did that really happen? what about Pod??) There was SO much speculation and discussion and debate over every little detail of those books as they came out. It would honestly make your head spin to see how many websites out there are devoted to this series.

    I’m pretty sure I mentioned in a comment on another one of your posts that Dance was my least favorite. It was probably because of the split and because I wasn’t able to re-read Feast before jumping into it. (I wanted to read Dance so badly I bought it for my Kindle and I’m waiting for the paperback to come out so I can add it to my collection – I hate mixing hardcover and paperbacks in a series! OCD much?)

    (sorry for the long comment!)

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    1. No worries for the long comment (I tend to ramble more than most)!

      I can’t imagine having to wait – I responded to another comment to someone who said they hadn’t started this series yet not to over tax themselves because the wait could be indefinite for the next novel! I couldn’t imagine with that type of cliff hanger having to wait 6 years! (Or even just 3!) The closest I’ve got is the Harry Potter series or the Inheritance Cycle, but none of those had cliffhangers like A Feast for Crows!

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      1. It was a pain, especially because there were always rumors being leaked out and even some comments from Martin himself about the expected finish date/publish date..I remember hearing a few years thrown out. So I think part of my disappointment was probably also because it was really built up. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a phenomenal series. But I think it would have been better if they weren’t split.

        Aside from this series, Harry Potter was the only other one where I had to wait.

        Is Inheritance the Eragon series? I know I definitely read the first one, but I never read any of the others.

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        1. Yeah – and that’s why I take the ’2013′ publication date of the next novel with a huge grain of salt. We’ll see when we get there. I think it’s innovative, the split, but it’s just so much that it might as well have turned into two separate series that happen to intertwine and then end with a combination bang. Inheritance is the Eragon series, it’s a take-it or leave-it type series – I personally enjoyed them but can understand some of the detractors, but so many ignored the fact that he was only 16 when he started that series.

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          1. I felt that Dance was definitely more “political”, if you will, and had less action.

            As far as Eragon goes (and usually most series), if I start it, I like to finish it. So I always intended to read the others, but never got around to it.

            Unless of course it’s something that keeps adding new books over time, then I probably give up. For example, I just recently came across Animorphs books I used to read a long time ago – my niece found them at my parents’ house – and I read about 9 of them, and they kept making more, but I was just getting too old for them. (I think there are almost 50 of them or something now.)

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  3. I didn’t like the idea of splitting the books either. I’m hoping the next release will be a return to form for Martin. I’m actually waiting until later in the year to jump on Dance, as I figure it’ll give me time to get my excitement up and shorten the wait between the next books a bit.

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    1. According to the introduction of this novel they should stream back together by the end of this novel. Hopefully that means the remaining novels are more like the first few and less like these last two. I definitely don’t want to wait, but I wanted to know what happened, to bad I have to wait until the end when it streams back together.

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  4. Have you ever considered reading the two books combined? Or suggesting newcomers to read the two books combined/interspersed?

    While trying to reread the series so far, I decided to try to find a way to combine the two books into one in a way that still kept the suspense and reveals intact and also made for a pleasent reading experience.

    That’s when I ran into this site: http://ballofbeasts.weebly.com

    They have a chapter lists that has been very compelling so far (and also offer a download of the combined ebook if you already own the two books).

    I’d definitely recommend a read.

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    1. I hadn’t thought about it – but it sounds like it could work. Thanks for the recommendation when I go back to re-read them I will definitely check it out.

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