Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Feast for Crows (Fire and Ice #4) by George R.R. Martin (read 12/12 to 12/29)

We continue the tale of seven kingdoms in A Feast for Crows.  
In 2005, Martin announced that the "sheer size" of his still-unfinished manuscript for A Feast for Crows had led him and his publishers to split the story into two books.  Rather than divide the text in half chronologically, he opted to instead split the books by character and location, resulting in "two novels taking place simultaneously" with different casts of characters.  A Feast for Crows was published months later, and the concurrent novel A Dance with Dragons was released in 2011.

In A feast of Crows we find ourselves following the stories of many minor character's whom we haven't had their point of view much before now:  Cersei Lannister; Ser Jaime Lannister; Brienne, Maid of Tarth; Sansa Stark; Arya Stark; Samwell Tarly; Aeron "Damphair" Greyjoy; Princess Asha Greyjoy; Victarion Greyjoy; Areo Hotah, Captain of the Guards of Dorne; Ser Arys Oakheart of the Kingsguard; and Arianne Martell of Dorne.
Tommen is now the King of King's Landing, with Cersei as his regent, and Margaery Tyrell as his wife.  Brienne, the Maid of Tarth, is on a mission to find Sansa Stark, aided by Jaime Lannister. Sansa Stark is hiding in the Vale, protected by Petyr Baelish as his daughter Alayne.  Petyr has murdered his wife Lysa Arryn and named himself Protector of the Vale and guardian of eight-year-old Lord Robert Arryn.  On the Iron Islands, Aeron Damphair calls a Kingsmoot to identify a successor as king of the Iron Islands.  In Dorne, Doran Martell is confronted by three of his brother Oberyn's daughters, who want vengeance for their father's death. Because they are inciting the commonfolk, Doran has them imprisoned in the palace.  Doran's daughter Arianne Martell plots  to crown Doran's ward Myrcella Baratheon as queen of Westeros under Dornish law. Upon arriving in Braavos, Arya Stark finds her way to the House of Black and White, a temple associated with the assassins known as the Faceless Men and becomes a novice.  Jon Snow, now Commander on the Wall,  has ordered Samwell Tarly to sail to the Citadel in Oldtown to research the Others and become a Maester. 

The writing is still great and the movement is fine, but I think splitting the story the way he did and focusing only on these minor characters (beside the Stark girls) was a bad idea.  These were not characters I was engaged with or really cared about, the characters I wanted to hear about, Tyrion, John, and Bran, Rickon, and of course the Girls, and Dany were not there.  It felt like filler chapters and I just couldn't get through them quick enough.  I was bored and I admit a bit pissed that no one I cared about was talked about, I just have to say he better make it up in the next book.

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