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A Feast For Statisticians,
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This review is from: A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4) (Hardcover)
OK, I did something a little different in this review. Soon there will be literally hundreds of reviews for this book, all giving similar reasons why people like or dislike A Feast For Crows. Instead of adding, and probably losing, my voice in amongst the clamour, I've done a bit of mathematics for you. I actually went through the book and noted which characters had chapters of their own and how many pages each of those chapters had, then I figured the numbers out as percentages (yes, I know, I need to get out more). So now, for your literary edification and illumination, I present to you a list of what actually happens in the book, according to my calculations (all rounded off).
CERSEI: 22.5%. That's right, folks, the Lannister Queen has more than one page in five, and nearly one page in four, devoted entirely to her point of view. If you've always wanted to know what goes on in her scheming little mind, then boy, do we have a show for you! Considering that there are thirteen people altogether who get chapter viewpoints of their own, Cersei's 22.5% share means that, on average, everyone else only gets 6.5% each. You could say that Cersei has the lion's share (terrible pun, I know).
BRIENNE: 17.5%. Next on our little list comes the Maid of Tarth. Most of the time we spend with her is on character development, rather than juicy action. Not that there's anything wrong with that at all, but you've been warned. If you were expecting her to become Lara Croft: Tomb Raider reborn, think again. Also, of some small statistical note, more than 60% of the pages in this book are devoted to the female character's points of view. Just so you know.
JAIME: 15.5%. The ever-more-interesting brother, and erstwhile lover, of Cersei continues in his evolution from out-and-out bad guy to, well, kind of a good guy. We're going to have to read the next book to see which way he jumps for sure, but so far he's certainly more inclined towards honesty and honour than he seemed to be in the first couple of books.
SAMWELL: 9%. The first character with less than ten percent of the ink investment is Sam. One of the more down-to-earth minor characters from the previous book, he gets fleshed out a little more here (excuse the pun).
SANSA: 8%. One of the few remaining Starks, and one of only two who get chapters of their own in this book, Sansa is also evolving as a character. In this book she is very slowly starting to show signs of an independence that she heretofore lacked. Of course, with only three chapters of her own, she doesn't show much. Not that she was ever on the front lines of either political intrigue or physical combat.
ARYA: 6% The only other person from House Stark with chapters from her own viewpoint. Arya has always been an interesting character to me. Her moral ambiguity, like Jaime's, is stretched further in this book. I'm a little nervous as to how she'll shape up in the end. At this point, it's a little difficult for me to tell, though I have optimistic expectations.
WHO? WHAT? HUH?: 21.5%. Seven people, some of whom are hardly mentioned, or not mentioned at all, in previous books, have their own chapter or two each in this book. So more than one page in five is from the viewpoint of someone you probably can't remember reading about before. And half the time the same viewpoint doesn't come up again in this book at all.
TYRION, JON, DAENERYS, STANNIS, DAVOS, ETC.: 0%. These characters don't appear at all. We have to tune in to the next episode for updates on their adventures. I wondered about this when I bought the book and saw that the maps at the front only showed Westeros.
So there you have it. If you're here reading reviews because you've gotten halfway through the book, don't like it, and want to see what everyone else thought, then I'd recommend that you keep reading. Slog through a few more pages; it does pick up at around the halfway mark. Although, in my mind, the endings for the various characters are fairly anticlimactic. Nothing is really resolved, unlike the previous books. And it's going to be the same for the next book, apparently, since Martin says that it will only focus on the characters who were expected to appear in this book but didn't.
I've given A Feast For Crows three stars, where the previous books in the series would have each earned at least four stars from me.
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Showing 1-10 of 102 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 22, 2007 9:22:13 AM PDT
CV Rick says:
Well done, and thank you for your effort. I was actually wondering about how much space he chose to devote to characters.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2007 3:58:26 PM PST
T. McConnell says:
Posted on Dec 19, 2008 5:52:06 PM PST
Miss N. Thrope says:
I have been reading through your well written reviews and have to comment that this one is ranking up there as one my my all time favorite reviews. EVER! Thank you for the entertainment and all of the useful information you provide in your reviews. Keep writing!!
Posted on Dec 26, 2009 5:25:31 PM PST
Nice review and spot on, Mark. In my own review of this book, I had mentioned that I had not really liked the Jaime, Brienne, Cersei, and "WHO? WHAT? HUH?" chapters much at all in A Feasts for Crows -- and now I see that they accounted for, lemme grab my calculator, oh, 77% of the entire book. Enlightenment! :-)
Posted on Jul 4, 2010 7:24:44 PM PDT
This review = awesome.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 24, 2011 10:02:09 PM PST
wiggle worm mama says:
On the contrary T. McConnell! I think Men should at least TRY to have well developed and interesting females in their books! I really hate slogging through novels where only the men do any thing interesting and the women are all predictable crones or beautiful maidens who need protecting even if they don't know they need it. (I really hate the later category; barf!)
And Martin does a way better job of this than other writer's like Jordan.
Yeah, sometimes it's obvious that a guy is writing these books but A for effort!
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 14, 2011 7:05:48 AM PDT
Joseph yuhas says:
Posted on Apr 30, 2011 10:54:50 AM PDT
Santiago Fossatti says:
Thank you for bringing up this numbers.
I´d like to now the same porcentage for the other 3 books. Any idea if someone has already calculated them?
I still haven´t got to to book 4, and is really sad to know I wan´t get any udpates for my 3 favorites characters: Tyron, Danerys and Jon.
Posted on May 17, 2011 1:30:44 PM PDT
Stephanie Johnson says:
Great review, Thanks for sharing it :)
Posted on May 29, 2011 11:40:58 AM PDT
Charles R. Nichols Jr. says:
Nice breakdown. Like you, I'm interested in what happens with Arya, though I was a bit disappointed by the twist at the end of this book.