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A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) Mass Market Paperback – September 26, 2006
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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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Feast of Crows is not the longest book in the series, but it can feel that way. In fact it’s literally half the story, with the events of Dance with Dragons occurring simultaneously. The book includes 10 new perspectives, and only 4 old ones; saving Tyrion, Daenerys, and Jon Snow for the next volume.
Cersei receives the lion’s share as she sets the stage for her regency, but audiences may find it hard to empathize with someone so arrogant and selfish.
Brienne of Tarth continues her quest for the Stark girls, but the audience already knows where they are, leaving us to only wonder how Brienne herself will fair at the end of her journey.
The book is full of new perspectives, giving audiences a greater understanding of the Iron Born Greyjoys, and the family Martell from the lands of Dorne, who demonstrate the merit of “staying out of it”.
The story is rich with background information about the various places in Westeros and Esos, but the various chapters read more like short stories in an anthology. The book functions as a transition, resolving the aftermath of the previous books and setting the stage for the climactic conclusion in Winds of Winter and Dream of Spring.
The story opens not long after A Storm of Swords ends. Cersei is now ruling the kingdom with a nine year old boy who enjoys playing with the king's stamp and signs everything she puts in front of him. Tyrion has escaped from the black cells with the help of Jamie and killed their father, Tywin. It fills her with terror that he is loose and anticipates Tyrion killing her. Jamie is more wary of Cersei and doesn't want to resume their relationship. At the Eyrie, Sansa has become Alayne, Petyr's bastard daughter and is a companion to Lord Robert, a boy who acts younger than his years. Brienne has gone into the heart of Westeros to search for Sansa Stark as she pledged to do for Catelyn Stark. Arya has also changed her name to Cat. She is attempting to join a mysterious order which insists she give up her former self. Living among these strange people who feed her and cloth her provides solace because she believes her other family members are dead and Westeros has not provided safety for her. Sam Tarley on the Wall is motivated to chase the comet with Aemon Targaryen who believes it is a prophecy of dragons and travels to some of the free cities. There is even a small subplot involving a princess of Dorne and a Knight's Watchman who is guarding Princess Marcella, daughter of Queen Cersei and Jamie Lannister, her twin brother. Jamie is dealing with his help of Tyrion, who murdered his father and apparently his son, Joffrey.
Like The Sopranos, many characters come near each other but don't meet. The exception is KIng's Landing where the characters visit the castle. I believe many action fans may be disappointed by the lack of progression of the story but I found pleasure in getting to know the characters, some of whom were small footnotes in other books or existed not at all. Martin has an extensive knowledge with Medieval history and language. With my Kindle Fire, I was able to look up the meanings of words, some repeatedly because it was not cumbersome to do so. It helped with my understanding of the book immensely. The background of Westeros which resembles the backwoods of medieval times highlights how dangerous the woods were in general and even more so in wartime. The characters who try to move around the country are not safe and criminals, robbers and knights were to blame. The cultural understanding, language use and geography knowledge Martin has is a boon to the novel and places his characters in a world that is almost real. Magic and organized religion would have been mixed together and been very real to these people. Most of all the heart of the characters such as Brienne, Arya, Sansa, Sam and Jamie are clear. Cersei is believable too. I am curious how the TV show will organize this book's story if it gets that far but it can certainly alter the arrangement to fit in the most beloved characters as well as the new. There has been talk of filming more than one season at a time and this might work. Overall, I loved this book without hesitation and look forward to reading the next book. Then I will be waiting for years like the early fans.