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A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4) Hardcover – November 8, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Library Journal
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 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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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.