47. ‘A Feast for Crows’ by George RR Martin

feast_for_crowsRead my review of A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold.

[GOES WITHOUT SAYING, SPOILERS GALORE]

I took a six month break from this series so I was quite daunted about getting back into it, in case I couldn’t remember any of the millions of characters. The reason I had such a long hiatus was because several people, who have read them all, waxed lyrical about fantastic the third book was, and said that the fourth – this one – is a long, boring slog.

OK, it wasn’t that bad, but after the incredible fireworks of book three it certainly couldn’t compare. Furthermore, this book only follows about half the characters we’ve come to know and love, so no Daenerys or Tyrion or Davos – some of my favourites! Still, it’s worth reading and there are still plenty of “What? No! What the hell?” moments.

I’m going to have to split this up into groups of characters, because there were loads of points of view in this weighty tome.

Iron Islands: I never usually find these chapters particularly exciting, but this time I became quite enamoured with several of the Iron Island characters. I love their straightforwardness: fighting, fucking and seafaring are their priorities, but they are also beginning to dabble in expansionism and I’m pretty sure it’ll prove disastrous for them. Asha Greyjoy deserves special mention here – she has rapidly become one of my favourites. In the absence of Dany as a strong female lead, Asha steps up to fill the vacuum, laying claim to her throne after her father’s death and not being afraid to hold her own with the men. Speaking of Dany, the hopefuls to the Iron Throne have grand plans for her – I just don’t think she’s cut out to be a fishwife.

King’s Landing: At the opposite end of the scale, Cersei proves herself to be quite the opposite of a capable female lead. She’s certainly strong-willed, to the point of being boorish, and she sets up all these mad schemes that can’t help but fall down around her ears. And, oh boy, do they fall down. Catastrophically. In the last book I found that reading from Jaime’s point of view made me more sympathetic towards him, but the same does not apply to his sister. We certainly get more of her background and I can see how injustice and prejudice has turned her into this twisted, vengeful bitch, but a bitch she remains and I couldn’t help but delight in her downfall.

Dorne: All new characters and I didn’t really care about them that much. Here the plot revolves around the Lannister princess, Myrcella, and the various schemes to force into – or keep her from – power. I have to say I couldn’t really keep up with it, but I do like the gouty Prince Doran, who has to imprison various members of his family because he knows they’ll run off and do all sorts of reckless things that’ll get them all killed.

The Eyrie: Creepier and ever creepier. Sansa is still pretending to be Littlefinger’s daughter – so much so that her chapters are named after her false identity, Arianne, and ever her internal monologue refers to him as ‘father’. What makes it worse is when he kisses her in a totally non-fatherly way. Ugh. To make matters worse, she has to hang out with little Robert Arryn, who’s a snivelling little wretch. I’m probably meant to feel sorry for him, but I’m heartless so fuck it.

Braavos: This book does pop over the Narrow Sea now and again. I became a little more fond of Arya’s chapters as she roamed around a distinctly Venice-like watery city and learned how to lie, steal and suppress her past. When she bumps into Samwell Tarly – on his way from the Wall to train to be a maester for the Night’s Watch – there’s a lovely ‘will they work out their connection’ moment? They don’t. As for Samwell, he totally gets laid, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Good for him, I say.

Travelling characters: Firstly, Jaime runs various errands for the realm, including going to reclaim Riverrun from the Stark-friendly Tullys. We get to find out his connection to Tyrion’s escape and more moaning about the fact that he lost his hand. I still really like him, though, and I especially like his fleeting moments of thought about Brienne. To quote insufferable teens on the web, I ship them. Brienne continues to be awesome – she kills her first man, quickly followed by a second and a third… But right at the end she encounters a rather crusty resurrected Catelyn Stark, who isn’t happy to see the warrior lady.

This book is packed with power struggles, particularly amongst the women. There are also a few deaths, but it’s not quite the thrilling bloodbath that the last one was.

“There is no shame in loving. If your septons say there is, your seven gods must be demons.” – Kojja Mo

Read my review of the next book, A Dance with Dragons: Dreams and Dust.

If you enjoyed my review, why not buy the book and let me know what you think?

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