Saturday, September 27, 2014

"A Feast For Crows (ASoIaF #4)" by George R.R. Martin

This is the fourth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. For those of you who haven't read A Game of Thrones, (or haven't watched the tv series), there are unmarked major spoilers for the first three books of the series in this review.

You'd think with the amount of murdering George R.R. Martin does, there would be no one left to even want the Iron Throne. I mean, even if you're a peasant, you're liable to be slaughtered if you live near any of the campaigns of false kings. If I lived in Westoros during this time, I'd be hiding under a rock... kind of like Bran is.

Although this book only covers half the characters that it usually does, I didn't feel like it was lacking. Then again, by the time I'd finished it, A Dance with Dragons was a week or so away from being actually published, so I suppose some of the outcry over this book could be amounted to people disappointed with the waiting game.

The Plot:
The King of the Iron Islands, Balon Greyjoy, is dead, leaving his heirs to vie for the throne in a kingsmoot. The Dornish plot to make Myrcella Baratheon the queen of both Dorne and Westoros. Cersei attempts to deal with the aftermath of her father's murder and keep the rest of her family from being killed. Samwell Tarly tries his best to help Lord Commander Jon Snow maintain political neutrality, even when Jon's heart betrays his oath. Arya joins the ranks of the House of Black and White, and the favor of the Many-Faced God.
"For at a feast of crows, many are the guests- but only a few are survivors." (blurb from the back of book)

This book makes you glad you don't live in the medieval times. Although this is technically fantasy, it also is inspired more than a little by our own history, leading to the prevalent women-bashing. This is one book where I honestly begin to relate with some of the more prevalent antagonists, mostly because the ones I loathed the most were eliminated.

I have to say, I was kind of sad that I didn't get to hear about purely evil antagonists in this book. There is something special about being able to not relate with a villain- an absolute tyrant makes even those morally gray characters look purer than septas. It was also nice to imagine the cruel deaths Mr. Martin was planning for them.

Religion plays a huge role in this book, and with these particular religions comes the misogynism and "slut-shaming". Having never experienced the phenomena personally, I was aghast to see it play so prevalently in the plot. It's difficult to read about, even though it happens to characters I didn't particularly love. Technically speaking, it is realistic and was eventually bound to happen with the setup Mr. Martin planned in the previous books, but it made me more than a little bit sad and I came to empathize with characters I hadn't before.

A Feast for Crows did not disappoint me. Then again, I wasn't told A Dance with Dragons would be coming out the next year (2006) by the author and then waited another four years for it to be actually published. Yeah, I'm sure the anticipation would've most likely killed any buzz I'd receive after reading this book. But, having not waited forever, I was thoroughly engaged in the story and plot, even if I felt a few scenes were a bit difficult to bear (that tends to happen with this series). If you've read the other A Song of Ice and Fire books, I encourage you to read this one, if only for your own sanity.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars for an exceptional continuation of the series.

Content: Ages 18+ for the usual Martin medley.

Page Count: 967 pages in my massive mass market edition

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