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A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4) Paperback – October 30, 2007
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"Of those who work in the grand epic-fantasy tradition, Martin is by far the best.... [He] is a tense, surging, insomnia-inflicting plotter and a deft and inexhaustible sketcher of personalities.... This is as good a time as any to proclaim him the American Tolkien."—Time Magazine
"The only fantast series I'd put on a level with J.R.R. Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings…. It's a fantasy series for hip, smart people, even those who don't read fantasy…. If you're new to the series, you must begin with Book 1, A Game of Thrones. Once you're hooked…. you'll be like the rest of us fans, gnawing your knuckles until book 5”—Marta Salij, Detroit Free Press
“THE MOST impressive modern fantasy, both in terms of conception and execution, is George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire.… A masterpiece that will be mentioned with the great works of fantasy.”—Contra Costa Times
"Long-awaited doesn’t begin to describe this fourth installment in bestseller Martin's staggeringly epic Song of Ice and Fire."—Publishers Weekly
"Grabs hold and won't let go. It's brilliant."—Robert Jordan
"Such a splendid tale and such a fantistorical! I read my eyes out."—Anne McCaffrey
"Fantasy fans will feast!"—Associated Press
From the Inside Flap
Few books have captivated the imagination and won the devotion and praise of readers and critics everywhere as has George R. R. Martin's monumental epic cycle of high fantasy. Now, in A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth book of his landmark series, as a kingdom torn asunder finds itself at last on the brink of peace...only to be launched on an even more terrifying course of destruction.
A Feast for Crows
It seems too good to be true. After centuries of bitter strife and fatal treachery, the seven powers dividing the land have decimated one another into an uneasy truce. Or so it appears....With the death of the monstrous King Joffrey, Cersei is ruling as regent in King's Landing. Robb Stark's demise has broken the back of the Northern rebels, and his siblings are scattered throughout the kingdom like seeds on barren soil. Few legitimate claims to the once desperately sought Iron Throne still exist--or they are held in hands too weak or too distant to wield them effectively. The war, which raged out of control for so long, has burned itself out.
But as in the aftermath of any climactic struggle, it is not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters start to gather, picking over the bones of the dead and fighting for the spoils of the soon-to-be dead. Now in the Seven Kingdoms, 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--are seen emerging from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges ahead.
It is a time when the wise and the ambitious, the deceitful and the strongwill acquire the skills, the power, and the magic to survive the stark and terrible times that lie before them. It is a time for nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages to come together and stake their fortunes...and their lives. For at a feast for crows, many are the guests--but only a few are the survivors.
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That said, the book's large and varied cast is also its weakness. The initial momentum from the initial scrambles in the new world order drops off towards the end, left incomplete for the next book. And unfortunately, Martin's skill at cohesion of disparate points of view is not as present as it was in previous entries. But still, it remains an intriguing entry in the series as a whole.
One minor pet peeve though: for whatever reason, for POV chapters of secondary characters, instead of using the typical style of naming the chapter after the character's first name, like Aeron, he'll use some title like "The Prophet" (this is even more annoying when he'll then use a different title later). A minor, and not overly detracting, annoyance.
We need to know what's in this book. But we don't need to know all of it. Editors should probably have pushed Martin a little harder to focus this story. The book fails to deliver much of the excitement that its predecessors provided, a particular disappointment because of how excellent A Storm of Swords was. If you're in for the series, and if you've made it through book 3 I doubt you'll be stopping now, then this is obligatory reading (probably....)
It's not all bad, just don't expect any talk of Daenerys, John, Bran, Tyrion, or anything happening at the Wall or in Meereen. This book focuses on the events of the geographic middle areas of the series (from the Iron Islands, across the Riverlands, south to Dorne, and as far east as Braavos), and by excluding completely the regions involving weights, white walkers, wargs, dragons, etc. the book becomes more like historical fiction of the War of the Roses. We get Brienne as a POV character here, but while I was hoping these chapters would add layers to her character and enlighten us to some interesting insight, we learn very little through her eyes except repeated chapters describing the bruised Westeros landscape.
Make no mistake, this is still a novel worth reading and I am still captured by the whole Game of Thrones saga. But the author could have done much better and that makes this one frustrating. RJB.