This being the fourth book in a series, there may be unintentional spoilers. I’ve done my best to keep it neutral, but you’ve been warned.
I’ve loved everything about the Song of Fire and Ice series I’ve read so far. I repeat, everything. Until I got to book four, A Feast for Crows, and my love sort of cooled. I didn’t dislike anything about this book; in fact, you’ll notice I rated it a 4 out of 5 so obviously I didn’t have any negative feelings toward it either. What I found was that I missed many of the characters which weren’t in this book and I started to feel like I wanted to push Cersei out a moon door of her own.
The Lannisters are still ruling King’s Landing but with Tyrion’s escape and Tywin’s death, their once golden grasp is now hanging by threadbare ropes. Cersei’s son Tommen is now king and married to Margarey Tyrell, and Cersei is having a hard time dealing with the fact that’s she being run out of her own palace. Jaime, now a one-handed man, is falling into a strange despair wondering how he will retain anyone’s respect and hating his once-loved sister for her cruel words. The Iron Islands are preparing a war run, the Riverlands are war-torn, devastated, and full of outlaws, and the Eyrie is now under the rule of a sick boy. Sansa Stark, now Alayne, is still in fear for her life, but Brienne — the maid of Barth — is hoping to fulfill a promise to Lady Catleyn Stark to find her daughters. Arya Stark is learning to be no one to her own detriment, and Samwell Tarley, a rather soft and scared man of the Night’s Watch, is the only man of the Black to still act like one, terrified as he is of the prospects.
As readers of this series know, each chapter is told from the perspective of a particular character. Many of the characters I adored perished in A Storm of Swords and I felt slightly disconnected to the ones that were left, namely Cersei. She’s spiraling at full speed fueled by alcohol, desperation, and denial. It’s interesting but she’s never been a character I related to so I find her drama filled days just that boring. Jaime on the other hand (no pun intended) is on his own road to an epiphany and seems to be realizing just what a crazy witch his sister is. It’s interesting to see him show feelings for and refer to Tommen as his son, even if it is only to himself and a man with no tongue and no writing abilities. Jon Snowe is now Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and I wanted very much to know what was going on there, especially with Stannis sequestered at the Wall with him, but we hear none of it. The most interesting story line, in my opinion, is Daenerys and we don’t see her at all.
Being the type of reader that is more attached to characters than plot, it normally doesn’t bother me when something rambles, as long as I feel it’s rambling toward some close. What A Feast for Crows rambles toward is A Dance with Dragons. This series is a sweeping epic so there will need to be filler like this — and by filler I mean stories other than the ones I want to hear will need to be told for the whole thing to come together.
While there is nothing wrong with this installment — Martin still frustrates, overwhelms, and makes you wonder — it was a slow book for me. There is plotting and scheming to be had in abundance and no quiet moments. I know my favorites return in A Dance with Dragons which I’m looking forward to very much. I will be giving it time before I take on the fifth book though. It’s the last one for a long while.
A Feast for Crows
By George RR Martin