I read George R. R. Martin’s A Feast For Crows, fourth in A Song of Ice and Fire, for half a year, starting it in June and not finishing it till late December. Granted, it is 976 pages, but that is still a relatively slow pace of some 160 pages per month on average, less than 5 pages a day—and I know that there were months where I read less and months where I read more. This is the first of Martin’s books that I have read in absence of fans. The other three I had read with coworkers there to rant to and whom would commiserate with me, and I was in an unspoken competition with one to see who could finish the series first (I lost that race miserably). This is—and I was thankfully warned by these same fans—a bridge book between the stories of most of our more beloved and enjoyed heroes and heroines—which is not to say that all of them were absent, and I made some new friends—or characters with whom I expect to be friends until their likely untimely deaths.
For all that we—that is to say the Internet—prod Martin for killing all of our friends, death within A Song of Ice and Fire is becoming as uncertain an end as it is in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alias, or Doctor Who. That had begun in A Storm of Swords—if we call the White Walkers alive and not reanimated, then even within the first prologue of A Game of Thrones—you tricky man, Martin, with your foreshadowing and early reassurance that we neglected to notice while we thought you were shredding our hearts with your character deaths. I had been almost pleased to read a series, however, with the author killed characters with so little regard for the hearts of his readers, with the realism and senselessness of war, and I find myself almost disappointed with this new development—more so because of all of the gods to have power to resurrect, the god that seems to have power to do so is not the one I would follow, nor the one that I would most entrust with the ruling of Westeros. All this being said, I still feel a prickle of fear for one of the heroines I had most liked in Westeros, even despite the Internet-researched assurances of friends.
This book sailed a ship for me, and with the assurances that A Dance with Dragons would return me to my favorite characters, kept me sloughing through the pages. My ships have slowly been destroyed by canon, and I have but one left standing and that only if those Internet-researched assurances are not red herrings put onto the Internet by fans.
The book started out very well by introducing me to a new hero that I quickly liked. [SPOILER] I should have known better because the prologue ended with his death. [END SPOILER] What slowed me after that, I cannot rightly say, though as I have said, it likely had something to do with the absence of Dany, Jon, and Tyrion, and I know too that I was slowed because there are times that I just want to read something lighter than A Song of Ice and Fire, something that involves less death, less darkness, less explicit sex and violence.
Overall, this will never be my favorite of Martin’s books, though I did enjoy early in the book learning about the culture of the Iron Islands and the Sand Snakes have potential to skyrocket to being my favorite of Martin’s characters.
Martin, George R. R. A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4: A Feast for Crows. New York: Bantam-Random, 2005.
This review is not endorsed by George R. R. Martin, Bantam Books, or Random House, Inc. It is an independent, honest review by a reader.