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A Feast For Crows by George RR Martin

August 20, 2008

The fourth book in the series was a more satisfying read for me the second time through. The first time through, I had overindulged in the preview chapters posted during the interminable wait for the book. As a result, I’d read most of the first 120 pages or so already, and found it uninspiring to read through them again.

This time, I was able to approach the book as a whole, and I enjoyed it a lot more.

A Feast For Crows is still the weakest of the four books in my opinion. In many ways this book is the indrawn breath after the shocks of A Storm of Swords. A large part of this book involves dealing with the consequences of the previous book.

Another let down for me was the splintering of the points of view. Previously each point of view chapter has been named after the character it’s centred on. This character continues with chapters until they are dead, or otherwise removed from the story. The point of view chapters also give us an idea of what is going on in a particular part of the world, whether the east, King’s Landing, the Riverlands, and so on.

In this book the points of view shatter. The Iron Islands, for example, has three separate points of view – Victarion, Asha, and Damphair. What this means is that Victarion, who eventually emerges as the key point of view, doesn’t get a fair hearing, while Damphair and Asha’s chapters read like preview chapters. Unsatisfying. Similarly Dorne is finally brought into the story, but through three separate points of view, when a single strong one (Arianna) would have been so much more powerful. In my opinion. And I’ll be honest here – I haven’t written any genre-defining fantasy series lately.

While A Feast for Crows is not as good as the others in the series, it is still a very good book. I’m hoping this doesn’t mark a tailing off of the series, but as I finished I noted an author note, expressing hope that the next book would be published within the year. It was dated 2005.

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