Being a fan of A Song of Ice and Fire, this one is necessary to complete the collection. Even though there are many debates about this book, it is a transition from A Storm of Swords to A Dance with Dragons, and as such, you cannot miss it because there are events that wouldn’t make sense if you don’t read A Feast for Crows.
The debate over A Feast for Crows – what is going on?
A Feast for Crows was the most expected book in the series of A Song of Ice and Fire so far. The third part of a Song of Ice and Fire, A Storm of Swords, was published in 2000, and A Feast for Crowswas waited and waited for, with constant postponing of the publishing date, for five years.
The bitter disappointment followed for many fans when they discovered that this fourth book will be a bit different than what they had an opportunity to experience so far. George R R Martin, who greatly admires Tolkien, loves his quote, “The tale grew in the telling”. This is what happened with the fourth book – it grew so much that it was too big for one book alone, so Martin decided to divide the book into two – A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons.
What enraged the fans of the saga was that he decided not to split the story chronologically, but rather make two books where the story is happening simultaneously, but one book with one set of characters, and the other with another set. This meant that in A Feast for Crows there would be POVs of Cersei Lannister, Jaime Lannister, Brienne of Tarth for the most part, and a lower number of chapters where we can see POVs from Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Samwell Tarly; Aeron “Damphair” Greyjoy, Asha Greyjoy, and Victarion Greyjoy from the Iron Islands; and Areo Hotah, Arys Oakheart, and Arianne Martell from Dorne.
Given that most fans’ favorite characters include Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, and Daenerys Targaryen, who literally don’t appear in A Feast for Crows, we can see where the “problem” lies.
Most fans who have read the book claimed that it’s the worst part of the series, that nothing happens, that there are too many unimportant parts, but there were also those who were seeing a bigger picture. They claimed that this book is the almost perfect part of the series because it shows the aftermath of a war that left the Seven Kingdoms starved, tired, and sick of the plots of the aristocracy. They also think that apparent fatigue that takes place in A Feast for Crows is actually only a standstill before the storm. Being all that, A Feast for Crows does make a logical part of the series. It only continues to be realistic in spite of its fantasy nature, and that is one of the reasons we love the saga so much.
Now, if you are wondering what actually happens in A Feast for Crows, you can read about it from now on. If you don’t want to know, this is where you stop reading this review.
What most fans held against George R. R. Martin when it comes to A Feast for Crows is that he gave too much space to Cersei Lannister. Almost a quarter of the book is told through the eyes of Cersei. Not much is going on, but those chapters mostly depict to us how Cersei, now being a Queen Regent, becomes more and more paranoid, while sinking into the comfort of wine.
Brienne of Tarth gets a greater share of the story as well. We follow her on her search for Sansa Stark. She gets into an adventure or two, but mostly we witness the struggle between being a Lady of Tarth and being a fighter who would never get the honor of being a knight.
In the previous book, we have seen the beginning of the change of character of Jaime Lannister, and in this book the change continues.
Samwell Tarly travels from the Wall to the Old Town, accompanied by Maester Aemon and the wildling girl Gilly. We get to know him better, but even here not much happens.
Sansa Stark is finally growing up – she starts to use her brains and practice not being a silly little girl who is naïve beyond belief. Occassionaly, she shows her old self, but luckily for us, those occasions are fewer now.
Arya Stark does appear in this book, but only a little bit. We see how her training with the Faceless Men goes on, and get to know a bit more about the Free City Braavos.
The rest of the characters who were given voice in this book have a chapter or two, and from those we see how the King is chosen on Iron Islands, and the attempts of revenge taken in Dorne.
What is so interesting, and at the same time annoying, about this book, is that it’s full of cliffhangers. Right about when A Feast for Crows starts to be interesting, we are left waiting for the following book.
However, if it’s of any comfort, A Dance with Dragons does cover the same time period as A Feast for Crows with the characters that were left out in this book, but it doesn’t stop there – it takes us down the road a bit further, so we get some satisfaction that was denied to us in this part of the story.