Now I'm sure my two readers are thinking "He seems to be rushing to get all these Song of Ice and Fire books out of the way." Truth is, yes I am trying to get them out of the way because the new one, Dance with Dragons, comes out tomorrow, July 21st. Edit: I recently realized the book came out on the 12th and I mixed the day up. So we'll just pretend I'm competent and move on. So I wanted to pretend I was the slightest bit professional and get this done. Then there's the Deadpool comic and Captain America, not to mention that incident with the Tribbles, throne this has been a busy week. Hm? What's my opinion on Feast for Crows? Oh right, the review!
Quite frankly, if you haven't started reading A Song of Ice and Fire, you're not just going to pick up A Feast For Crows. You know how with some series there's always a brief explanation of characters and setting and history so people can jump in pretty much anywhere they please? Yeah, it's not really the case with this novel. On the one hand, it means people who haven't started reading the series have to go back to the very beginning. On the other hand, it means we don't have that chapter where we meet the characters for the fiftieth time. If you've ever read the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew you know what I mean. Always that chapter where we learn about the Hardy Boys and their father the detective and their crazy aunt and their fat friend. Sorry, I'm digressing again. Ultimate point was if you aren't here in the series yet, you're not going to be reading this book.
Originally Feast for Crows and Dance with Dragons were going to be one book. How Martin's books are set up is each chapter follows a specific character, Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow, Davos Seaworth, so on and so forth. As Martin was writing this book he realized it was getting too big and he had to cut it in half. And I have to admit, it kind of shows in this book. The first half of the book has the pseudo-Viking ironmen raiders being major characters but suddenly they drop off the radar and the book shifts focus to the people in Dorne to the south. Occasionally Sansa Stark and Samwell Tarly shown up too, but the meat of the book gets taken by three characters: Jamie and Cersei Lannister and Brienne of Tarth.
To be honest, Brienne's chapters were my least favorite. I don't know what it is, I just have a really hard time caring about her character. I was thinking I was going to hate the Cersei chapters because I hate her so much, but they ended up being some of my favorites. Watching Cersei surround herself with incompetent advisers and thinking she has everything well in hand just made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I just love seeing her tear the realm apart with her own incompetence, something she richly deserves. (Sorry kind of a spoiler) Jamie provides a nice contrast as his character continues to develop and I think it's interesting how these twins are starting to really grow apart. Meanwhile Samwell Tarly, everyone's favorite self-proclaimed craven, is being shipped of to become a maester. Most of his chapters are about his troubles getting to Oldtown, but his character shows promise. Also the Arya plot finally takes off.
Sorry, I guess I should explain myself a little about the Arya thing. Arya's a pretty cool character and I like seeing great things from her. Heck, I expect as much from Ned Stark's daughter. The problem is for the last two books Arya's just been kind of drifting from one location to the other with no real plan. Perhaps more frustratingly for me she kept getting captured. It's really frustrating to see her be basically a piece of luggage shifted from one group of men to another because that's really not fair to her character. But in Feast For Crows the Arya plot finally goes somewhere and she has more of a purpose now. I'm finally looking forward to more about her.
While this book isn't the greatest, the plots are pretty good. True most of my favorite characters like Jon, Tyrion, Davos, and Danerys aren't in the book, but most of the characters still in the book are pretty good to read about. Really it just gives me high hopes for Dance With Dragons which comes out tomorrow. I'd say about four sheep because it's still good, just not my favorite.
Adventurer's Rule #26: Even if it isn't socially acceptable to punch bards, sometimes they deserved getting punched.