In his acknowledgements George R.R Martin starts off by saying “This one was a bitch”. I wholeheartedly agree, though our reasons probably differ. If I had started reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series back in 1996 when A Game of Thrones was first released, and had I waited for five years after A Storm of Swords (2000) for A Feast For Crows (2005) to be released, I would have been very, very disappointed. Was this delivery worth a five year wait? Not in my opinion. However, keep in mind that Martin had spent a significant amount of time first writing A Dance With Dragons after A Storm of Swords. He then realised that he needed an interim story, and only then decided to bump A Dance With Dragons to book number five, and create A Feast For Crows as book number four. So technically this book didn’t take him five years to write, but it was still a five year wait for fans.
Truthfully, I battled my way through this instalment. I found it boring! I suspected it might happen – A Storm of Swords was just so epic and mind blowing. I had mentally prepared myself that this one would very possibly not live up to the excitement of its predecessor, but even so I was very disappointed.
In this instalment Cersei is ruling King’s Landing in Tommen’s stead, and in an attempt to ensure she alone runs the show she surrounds herself (and fills her council) with incompetent fools sure to agree with anything she says. Cersei seems to be the only one ignorant of how unwise this approach is. Jaime, growing more humble and noble by the day, grows cold towards his once beloved sister as he starts seeing her for what she is, and becomes more concerned with his honour than Cersei’s whims. Arya finds herself in Braavos, and starts studying the art that made Jaqen H’ghar who he is today. Sansa is still secluded in the Vale of Arryn, hiding her true identity from everyone (except Petyr), while Brienne of Tarth faithfully searches the Riverlands for Lady Catelyn’s daughters. The Lannisters seem to have control of the Seven Kingdoms once more, but the Brotherhood Without Banners (now led by Lady Stoneheart) grows ever more wrathful in their vigilante justice, and a massive threat from the Iron Isles threatens to become more devastating than the war of five kings had been.
|Arya in Braavos|
A Storm of Swords concluded with such a slap in the face that I could not wait to read more – Martin, however, thought it would be a good idea to omit chapters from this surprise character, along with several other viewpoint characters, from A Feast For Crows (or as I like to call it, The Adventures of Cersei Lannister). If you read my previous ASOIAF post mentioning major 8 character deaths, you might want to skip the remainder of this paragraph so as to not determine who is still alive. This book does not include chapters from Lady Stoneheart, Jon, Tyrion, Bran or Daenerys! To “make up for this” Martin overcompensated with way too many Cersei, Brienne and Jaime chapters; at least Jaime’s chapters were bearable. The man I hated so very much in the beginning is turning out to become one of my favourite characters! The only chapters I truly enjoyed were those of Arya, and they were far too few. I battled my way through the rest, finishing this book only by sheer willpower. There was no momentum this time around to keep me reading; I only really got into the book over the last 200 pages or so.
On the bright side, we see more of the Iron Isles this time around, and we are treated to two new fascinating characters; Euron (Crow’s Eye) Greyjoy, and Victarion Greyjoy – two brothers competing for the Seastone chair. I think the history between them and the dynamics of their relationship will make for very interesting events. Add to that the fact that each has his sights set on Daenerys to be his wife and ultimately Queen of Westeros.
|Asha, Victarion, Aeron and Euron Greyjoy|
We also now know that Dorne wishes Daenerys to come into power and destroy the Lannisters, and with Quentyn Martell also on his way to bring the Khaleesi back to Westeros. Add to that the fact that the mighty Citadel does not wish Daenerys to return; they accuse the Targaryens of sorcery, and will do anything in their power to ensure she fails. I am positive the Daenerys chapters of A Dance With Dragons are going to be extremely gripping.
|Nymeria Sand |
(one of the so-called Sand snakes)
Speaking of Dorne, we also get to visit Dorne this time around, where we also meet several new characters, of which the so-called Sand Snakes (the daughters of the Red Viper, Oberyn Martell) are my favourites – despite having very limited action.
I look forward to reading the next instalment, A Dance With Dragons; having said that, I doubt I will read it before next year sometime. Besides, the one after that, The Winds of Winter, does not even have a publication date yet. In February, Martin confirmed to have written 200 pages out of approximately 1500. Also keeping in mind this is the first draft, if Martin stays true to the time-frames of recent history, we are quite possibly looking at a release date of 2017.
Title: A Song of ice and Fire: A Feast For Crows
Author: George R.R Martin
Number of pages: 1104
* Note: The drawings featured in this post are beautiful fan art found on the web. I am not responsible for creating these wonderful works of art. All credit goes to their respective creators.