A Feast for Crows, by George R. R. Martin

Review published on August 15, 2014.Reviewed by jj redfearn

Nudge Reviewer Rating:

Intermission. After everything that happened in part two of volume three, A Storm of Swords, the kingdoms of Westeros and the regions around them need a period of quiet consolidation to recover and prepare for the future. In A Feast, they get it.

I’ll not give too much of the plot away; beware none the less, there isn’t that much of it so there’s probably a spoiler or two here.

Bandits and outlaws roam the lands, preying on travellers, villages and hamlets to rape, pillage and destroy whatever they can, wherever they can. Remnants of armies still besiege isolated castles holding out for an unlikely reprieve, a relief force or perhaps disease or starvation in the attacking camp. Plots and counterplots run rife in King’s Landing, where Cersei now rules as regent for Tommen after the death of her father. Seafaring Iron men assemble with their wooden ships and soggy seaweed-bedecked preacher to choose a leader to start a new war for them. Brienne meanders up and down the countryside losing the fights she gets into as is her usual fate. Plodding Pod can’t decide whether to call her My Lady or ser. He settles on both. Jamie gets used to having no right hand. Arya the cat puts in a brief appearance having sailed unexpectedly to Bravos and becoming involved with another weird death-obsessed religious order. Samwell meets her there (what’s he doing in Bravos?). Sansa the soppy goes to the Eyrie. Sparrows and crows feature prominently.

Continuity is delivered with lists. Menus are listed at length, though the food is named rather than described, sigils and banners process regally through the pages, clothes come in many styles and shades, family trees and relationships are lovingly explained along with thumbnail stories about long-dead villains and heroes.

Big spoiler coming up. Did you notice I’ve missed out most of the main characters? John Snow, Tyrion, Daenerys, the Direwolves, Bran, Bron, the dragons, wildlings? The driving characters that move the plot along. The people the world bends for. The focus of the whole series. Thats because George Martin left them out. They barely feature. They’re less visible than Rozencrantz and Guildenstern. The elephant in the room has gone missing, there’s no moose on the table, the parrot isn’t dead.

Good thing there’s another book. The scriptwriter for series 5 would have a hard time otherwise.

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The Book of Life, by Deborah Harkness

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Reamde, by Neal Stephenson

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