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[[ E-PUB ]] ↬ A Feast for Crows ↠ Crows Will Fight Over A Dead Man S Flesh, And Kill Each Other For His EyesBloodthirsty, Treacherous And Cunning, The Lannisters Are In Power On The Iron Throne In The Name Of The Boy King Tommen The War In The Seven Kingdoms Has Burned Itself Out, But In Its Bitter Aftermath New Conflicts Spark To LifeThe Martells Of Dorne And The Starks Of Winterfell Seek Vengeance For Their Dead Euron Crow S Eye, As Black A Pirate As Ever Raised A Sail, Returns From The Smoking Ruins Of Valyria To Claim The Iron Isles From The Icy North, Where Others Threaten The Wall, Apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly Brings A Mysterious Babe In Arms To The CitadelAgainst A Backdrop Of Incest And Fratricide, Alchemy And Murder, Victory Will Go To The Men And Women Possessed Of The Coldest Steel And The Coldest Hearts The context here is everything A Song of Ice and Fire began with the publication of A Game of Thrones in 1996 Thrones introduced us to the land of Westeros, a continent the size of South America but suspiciously similar to medieval England We followed a handful of characters representing various factions of the Seven Kingdoms, squabbling for the right to sit upon the Iron Throne Its grittiness, tactility, fully realized characters, and high stakes a major character loses a head gave it a cult following Two years after Thrones, A Clash of Kings was published It told the story of the War of the Five Kings Though it started slowly, it built to a fine ending, which included the shocking loss of Winterfell home to many of our main characters and the epic Battle of the Blackwater A phenomenon had started Like clockwork, the third novel in the cycle, A Storm of Swords came two years after Kings It was the biggest book so far, and easily the best It featured all the hallmarks we d come to expect from author George R.R Martin swordfights, detailed descriptions of food, casual misogyny, laughably crude sex scenes, shocking twists, major character deaths, and a humdinger of a cliffhanger but those elements were heightened There are set pieces in Swords that are simply classic see, e.g., the Red Wedding At the end of Swords, the fate of several major characters beloved characters dangled in the wind Readers thirsted for the next installment They began their wait And then crickets Nothing for five years After five years, we were given the present installment A Feast for Crows By this time, it was nearly impossible for any book to live up to the expectations of Swords On this level, at least, Crows did not disappoint It certainly met the expectation that it could not meet expectations As the old saying goes, the only thing worse than a bad meal is a small bad meal Not only did Crows fail to meet the challenge of Swords, it was over too quickly When readers got to the last page, they were left to wonder, this is itMartin, you see, had allowed the manuscript for Crows to get so long, he decided to cut the thing in half As he explained in a now infamous postscript, Martin decided to split the book geographically, rather than chronologically That meant that many of the best characters did not appear none of the cliffhangers from Swords were resolved and we were left to follow the dubious quests of various secondary personages To make matters worse, Martin tentatively promised the next volume, A Dance With Dragons, would be published the next year That postscript was written in 2005 Six years later, A Dance With Dragons was finally released Thus, it is a fortuitous time to review Crows It is a much maligned book, buffeted by two competing elements the long wait before the book was published, and the longer wait after In other words, the book has suffered critically because it took so long to come out and did not satisfy the pent up demand It also suffered because it did nothing to alleviate the long wait for Dragons Almost all agree that Crows is the weakest volume in A Song of Ice and Fire Beyond that, opinions are split Some people hate it with the light of a thousand suns Some people love it like a pug dressed in a tuxedo Others acknowledge its weakness while admitting that a subpar steak is still a steak The length of time it takes Martin to churn out his opuses creates some high passion amongst his fans That passion, combined with the internet and thousands of basements belonging to thousands of moms has created a great deal of hyperbolic ire directed towards Martin While this criticism is a minority report, it is loud, and has colored the merits of Crows I am immune to this misplaced anger I am a latecomer to Martin s work accordingly, when I started reading Thrones, four books had already been published, with a confirmed release date for the fifth I ve never suffered the long withdrawals between books that the early adopters have had to overcome Due to this tardiness, I feel like I can judge Crows based on its literary qualities, rather than its late arrival onto the Ice and Fire firmament Unfortunately, the literary qualities of Crows are in short supply Most of Crows problems stem from Martin s decision to divide the story by geography, and focus mainly on the action in Westeros that takes place south of the Wall That means that the dwarf, Tyrion Lannister, Martin s greatest creation, is missing So are Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen Not only are you losing fantastic, multidimensional characters with whom we ve traveled for hundreds and thousands of pages, you lose the heart of the story As far as I can tell and I m sure I ll be wrong , Martin s endgame seems to point towards two events the struggle at the Wall against the onslaught of the walking dead the song of Ice and Daenerys struggle to reclaim the Iron Throne with the help of her dragons the song of Fire Neither of those crucial points get any play in Crows Instead, it s 700 pages of B side.The viewpoint characters in Crows Martin s story is told in the third person limited, with chapters that alternate points of view among various characters are mostly new to the spotlight Jaime Lannister, Samwell Tarly, Arya Stark and Sansa Stark are the only returning viewpoint characters The other viewpoints go to Queen Cersei, Aeron, Asha, and Victarion Greyjoy, Areo Hotah, Brienne of Tarth, Aerys Oakheart, and Arianne Martell Some of these characters are brand new Some have been barely mentioned Most of them are confusingly named it gets a bit tough keeping Arya, Areo, Aeron, Aerys and Arianne apart, at least for me unfortunately, I m not able to devote my entire life to these books With some exceptions, their stories do not rise to the level of interest or intensity as the plotlines of Martin s earlier books The bulk of this book, nearly a quarter of the pages, belongs to Cersei Given space to develop her character, Martin is his usual strong self Earlier in the series, Cersei was a terrifying, enigmatic peripheral character In Thrones, she showed her smarts, and her cruelty, by getting the drop on Eddard Stark admittedly not the sharpest tool in the shed After the death of her son, King Joffrey, in Swords, Cersei s transformation began She became guarded, paranoid, and megalomaniacal Her descent into madness is marked by her growing certainty that all her decisions are correct The most interesting aspect of Crows is Cersei s long fall contrasted with the rise of a fanatical religious movement called the Faith Cersei is also beneficiary of one of Martin s weird peripheral characters, the the fallen maester Lord Qyburn Like Dr Frankenstein, Qyburn toils away in the dungeons, doing odd experiments on living subjects, the result of which, it is obvious to see, will be half human, half monster Unfortuntately, Cersei s chapters are disadvantaged by a subplot concerning Westeros outstanding loans to the Bank of Braavos All the talk of high finance and trade federations harkened uncomfortably to another famous fantasy sci fi epic that lost its way Cersei s brother lover, Jaime, has the second most page time His evolution from villain to hero takes a big leap forward, as we see him go from murderous sister humper to a canny leader pushing back against the excesses of King s Landing With Jaime s chapters, Martin is able to tie up a few loose ends still dangling after the War of the Five Kings for example, the dragging siege at Riverrun is finally concluded The balance of Crows is told in scattershot style through the ten remaining viewpoint characters We barely hear from Sansa, which is fine with me Still, it is nice to see that she is developing at least a semblance of wit I have a major problem with her character, mainly because Martin portrays Sansa as a real child that is, as someone who is uninteresting and dumb The problem with kids as characters is that kids are inherently boring Kids aren t clever, no matter what I see posted on Facebook Only in a book or movie is a kid who can t tie his shoes crafty enough to turn his house into a living version of Mousetrap to foil a pair of robbers So far, Sansa is realistic in the sense that she is dull, frightened, mistake prone, and hollow This also means she is a weak protagonist In Crows, despite a limited appearance, she finally starts to learn some of the finer points of deception Arya Stark is a traditional fictional child Despite her tender years, she performs great heroic feats Her ever growing darkness, however, makes her a joy to follow I wouldn t be surprised if, at the end of A Song of Ice and Fire, we counted her among the bad guys In Crows, Arya is exiled to Braavos She doesn t do much of anything, and her chapters seem meant only to explore the islands of Braavos This would ve been fine if Braavos was interesting Instead, it s just Venice, right down to the swaggering, arrogant, hand talking men folk Three characters, Areo, Arienne and Aerys, serve to give us entr e into Dorne The set up here the machinations of Dorne against King s Landing is obviously important However, these chapters are rushed and the Aerys chapters are so short and abrupt I have a hard time understanding their inclusion The same goes for the chapters with the three Ironborn characters Aeron, Asha, and Victarion In perfunctory style, they are moved like chess pieces, put in place for further development down the road The chapters following Brienne are like walking on a treadmill She s given a lot of space to do things, but she never gets anywhere Martin has her crisscrossing the ruins of a war torn Westeros, searching for Sansa Stark Of course, we know exactly where Sansa is therefore, we know that Brienne is never going to find her Also, for all her abilities, she is portrayed as a slow thinker, a female Forrest Gump who s handy with a sword Even if we didn t know where Sansa was hiding, we d have a pretty good idea that Brienne s plan to find her would fail it literally consists of her wandering around, asking where Sansa has gone These are structural problems And forgivable, as long as the book s quality had been consistent It s not This is a poorly written book by Martin s standards His descriptions seem tired His writer s tics are pronounced The dialogue, which had been whip smart and eminently quotable, is execrable It is flat, repetitive Jaime s I love you too, sweet sister is repeated on a loop , and filled with odd, obtrusive, never before used idioms For some reason, the characters start referring to their uncles as nuncles, even though uncle had served just fine before In one chapter, the insult stoatish is used two or three times as far as I can tell, it means weasel like and then dropped like a bag of flaming poo.Despite taking five years to write, Crows feels like a first draft There are brief glimmers displaying Martin s mastery of both his world and his writing For instance, even though Brienne s dead end quest is inert as a narrative, Martin s evocation of a war weary Westeros is captivating, with its fresh graves, burnt out homes, and outlaw infested roads Subpar writing can be saved by a propulsive plot or a great set piece As I noted before, the plot grinds forward Moreover, nothing exciting happens Swordplay is kept to a minimum There isn t a battle to be found in a way, Martin s exhausted effort mirrors the tiredness of war blasted Westeros With the exception of Moby Dick, I try not to use the word boring in my reviews Here, though, things get awfully close to the b word To be sure, there are a few saving graces The first is the sex scenes They are just awful, and bound to put a smile on your face The high lowlight is a lesbian sex scene between Cersei and Lady Taena that involves an unfortunate comparison of a women s nether regions to a swamp It had me laughing my ass off Martin is also able to add a few twists at the end, including a cliffhanger that leaves one character dangling by the neck Here, unlike in Kings, a strong ending isn t enough to save the rest of the book To the contrary, Martin should take lessons from M Night Shyamalan you can t rely so much on 11th hour shocks or uncertain character fates At some point, A Song of Ice and Fire will be finished Either Martin will complete the saga, or it will linger forever as a partially completed near great thing When that time comes, it is very likely that the esteem for Crows will rise It s faults will be less glaring its virtues will seem virtuous Right now, though, I just want to move on to A Dance With Dragons and pretend Crows wasn t half as bad as I know it was. Hey everyone, George RR Martin here I thought I d take some time off from planning my intricate and complex storylines spoiler alert everyone has sex with everyone and then kills each other to introduce A Feast for Crows, the long awaited fourth installment in my epic fantasy series You guys are in for a treat, this one is awesome.So the last book was quite a ride, huh There was that craziness that was the Weddings of Death, Tyrion killed his father Jon Snow finally got cool and is now Lord Commander of the Night s Watch, Arya continued to be a tiny BAMF, Bran looked like he was finally moving towards a real plot, and Daenerys decided to temporarily shelve her whole unleash the dogs of war plan and be a queen for a while Also I made Christmas come early for Madeline when I killed off Catelyn Stark, only to bring all her hopes and dreams crashing down when it turned out that Catelyn is a zombie now and will never die Hee hee hee Anyway, with all that cool stuff, you probably thought that this book was going to be made of awesome, what with all the fallout from the stuff I described above And it will be, but unfortunately my attention to detail and complex storylines finally came back to bite me in the ass, and it turns out I couldn t devote an entire book to all the plots I started in the last book So I divided them into two volumes, and saved all the cool people for Book Five Want to read about Jon Snow, Daenerys, and Tyrion Too fucking bad.Don t worry though, this means we get to meet lots of fun new characters, like Theon s crazy uncles and a lot of random people from Dorne They each get just one chapter, of course, because they only exist so I can have a perspective to show all these events from my changing single character viewpoint structure has also begun to bite me in the ass, unfortunately and you ll probably never see them again, but that s what makes it fun It s not all bad, at least Arya s still here, even though she s not doing much murdering or really much of anything This is where Arya learns how to be awesome, so she can wreck everyone s shit later or maybe not, because in the last chapter we see her in, she s just gone blind Is it temporary, or permanent You ll just have to buy the next book and find out maybe And hey, I gave you guys some Cersei chapters, finally And yes, she s just as much of a psycho bitch as you always suspected You re welcome Also Jaime chapters bet you didn t think he would turn out to be one of the only decent characters in the series, huh of course, if he s becoming one of the good guys, that means I ll probably murder him soon And there are Samwell Tarly chapters Everyone loves reading about Sam, right Guys Guys Where are you going Don t worry, the next book will be all about Tyrion and Daenerys and Bran look, it s going to pay off soon, I swear Really guys, he s going to be interesting eventually and all the other cool characters that I totally ignored in this book and that you really wanted to read about As for all the character based cliffhangers I established in this book, will they be resolved in the next volume Probably not I am George RR Martin, and I demand your money and your tears PS Quit bitching at me to write faster You ll get your books when I say you get them, and not a day sooner Don t push me, or the next volume published will be titled A Siege of Tears and it ll be nothing but Jon Snow, Bran Stark, and Samwell Tarly sitting around and thinking about how inadequate they are Do not test me on this, nerds. I m not quite sure what happened, here.As others have mentioned, Martin slows the pace of the story down considerably in this fourth installment of A Song of Ice and Fire, ostensibly writing this as the first half of a two book volume, with a 3 5 year production time on each As such, the book is by necessity filled with unresolved storylines, AWOL main characters, and lengthy travelogues where nothing of importance happens Of course, this draws the inevitable comparisons to another famous fantasy series that started strong and became a sluggish, irritating morass something to do with wheels and time, as I recall The pace isn t really the problem, here, though, as the story still stands on its own two legs The problem is the writing.Though the first three books were extraordinarily well written as a whole, one could never classify Martin s prose as elegant In this book, he takes three steps backward for some reason, and sounds almost amateurish in some chapters The book is filled with phrases and sentences that are awkward, clich d, and sometimes downright hackneyed Martin s prose may typically be spare and to the point, but I never audibly groaned while reading the first three books.One of the biggest problems with this is Martin s sudden inclusion of colloquialisms that, so far as I can tell, never existed in the books before this one Coz s, nuncles, and valonqars abound, even though we ve never read any character use these turns of phrase before, and be prepared to hear groats referenced multiple times in a single chapter This doesn t only present a continuity problem, for those of us wondering why these dialect oddities are so suddenly commonplace Martin seems to have run out of patience for phrasing things differently, so the exact same idiom often gets used ad nauseum I was weary of these invented clich s before I even truly understood what they meant.By now, fans of the series thus far are used to the disturbing ubiquity of rape in Martin s world, but even that loses what little subtlety it had in this book, with at least two characters being described as needing a hard raping another example of redundancy in Martin s writing did that expression really need to be used twice in one book The consensual sexuality devolves in this book, as well Martin uses strange fixations and blunt force descriptions the comparison of female private parts to a swamp was the high point for me, as it were which make them seem almost bizarre, and therefore a lot gratuitous than they were in the first three books.I gave it two stars instead of one because the standout elements of this series are still evident in A Feast For Crows, despite Martin s apparent attempt to sabotage them with clumsy writing The characters are multidimensional, unpredictable, and well developed, and the overarching story is fascinating enough to keep me turning pages However, I am genuinely concerned about the direction of this series, which has heretofore been my favorite fantasy series and often recommended to friends I don t know what s going on with Martin s writing, but I truly hope the next book returns to the caliber of the first three I would hate to have to do with this series what I do with Jordan s recommend that people stop at Book 3 and pretend it s an open ended trilogy I d much rather dismiss this one as the mediocre volume and go back to enjoying the series Here s hoping. B 77% Good NotesIt s about people on journeys, spread too thin over too many inconsequential perspectives, with too little of a pay off. The book was better than the first time around I didn t like the narrator on this one so it ruined it the first time around I still didn t love it but I was glad to have Arya Brienne Death is not the worst thing, the kindly man replied It is His gift to us, an end to want and pain On the day that we are born the Many Faced God sends each of us a dark angel to walk through life beside us When our sins and our sufferings grow too great to be borne, the angel takes us by the hand to lead us to the nightlands, where the stars burn ever bright Those who come to drink from the black cup are looking for their angels If they are afraid, the candles soothe them When you smell our candles burning, what does it make you think of, my child Winterfell, she might have said I smell snow and smoke and pine needles I smell stables I smell Hodor laughing, and Jon and Robb battling in the yard, Sansa singing about some stupid lady fair I smell the crypts, where the stone kings sit, I smell hot bread baking, I smell the godswood I smell my wolf, my smell her fur, almost as if she were still beside me. I don t smell anything, she said, to see what he would say and she leapt to meet his rush, both hands on her sword hilt His headlong charge brought him right onto her point, and Oathkeeper punched through cloth and mail and leather and cloth, deep into his bowels and out his back, rasping as it scraped along his spine His axe fell from limp fingers, and the two of them slammed together, Brienne s face mashed up against the dog s head helm She felt the cold wet metal against her cheek Rain ran down the steel in rivers, and when the lightening flashed again she saw pain and fear and rank disbelief through the eye slits Sapphires, she whispered at him, as she gave her blade a hard twist that made him shudder His weight sagged heavily against her, and all at once it was a corpse that she embraced, there in the black rain She stepped back and let him fall Old Review I don t have any idea when I started this so I just set it to today I do that a lot when I don t add books to my currently reading I get anal having too many books on my currently reading Anyway, I hate giving this a 3 star review but at some point I m going to re read it I m trying to listen to a lot of my chunkers on audio and mark my place in the book Unfortunately, the narrator ruined it for me I think he would be a great narrator for other books but not this one and that s just my opinion When he was doing the voices they all sounded like whiny little boys or something Do you think the evil Cersei sounds like that or the awesome Brienne or even Jaime And he kept calling Brienne, Brain Anyway, it pretty much ruined it for me I did miss my fav characters but I m fine reading about others I love Brienne and Jaime And Arya had some parts although she sounded like a whiny little boy Ugh, it was bad I will just have to physically read this one day because the audio is just no Dear George,How do you do this lovely May morning I m terribly sorry to bother you, but I really did think that I must in good conscience warn you of this problem I have You see, I know many people who read these books and absolutely adore them Legions of fans I m sure you know that Really, the books are quite high quality and quite enjoyable and whatever you need to do to get them to stay at that quality, please do it within reason It has come to our the masses attention that perhaps waiting three to four years between books is a bit excessive Don t you think so Now, importantly than the principle of the thing I ve noticed some very unhealthy side effects from these gaps in between the books Namely, some severe mental complexes that are resulting in a personal hostility towards you I thought I had an obligation to warn you that I have heard of several imaginative plots that many of my fellow readers have dreamed up to get you to finish these books All of them involve house arrest, most of them involve chaining you to your computer, a few involve terribly cruel things with assorted war instruments like those you brutally describe in your novels I ve heard a few terribly distressing things along the lines of, shoving a broadsword up his ass I m sure you can imagine the rest.Now while I don t think that people would employ such plans now, I do notice that these mental complexes seem to get worse over time So who knows in the future Just thought you should know So, toodle pip, hope that put you in the mood for writing These people apparently think that such things will A sincere fan. This book definitely wasn t quite as eventful as the previous books in the traditional sense There weren t any huge battle sequences or weddings filled with bloodshed, but rather a lot of plotting.This book contained two of my favorite characters, Arya and Sansa, but there weren t enough chapters about them to satisfy me This one mainly followed Cersei and Jaime, along with quite a few side characters who we didn t see much of in the first three books I m really interested to see what happens in the next book, but I m already anxious for book six because I need to know what s happening with Arya and Cersei THINGS ENDED OFF SKETCHY FOR THEM editSo I hear that Arya is actually in ADWD, along with a bit of Cersei and Jaime All is well well probably not but I m happy with this lol I m aware I m in the minority when I say this was my favorite book of the series, BUT JUST HEAR ME OUT.Things I liked 1 You get to hang out at King s Landing A LOT.Cersei Lannister is despicable and I love her with all my heart I send the Lannisters my love and they send it back because they don t want it.2 Daenerys isn t in it.I m aware I m also in the minority in enjoying her absence, BUT COME ON Lady has three dragons and STILL no idea how to cross the ocean and take back her throne The Baratheons called your dad was a real dick and therefore your family s throne privileges got taken away Once you torture people for fun, you kind of don t get to sit with us any Also, you freed a bunch of slaves and just CANNOT BELIEVE they re now starving because NO ONE WILL HIRE THEM WOW Plot Twist Didn t see that one coming.Also, you can tell me all the live long day that you re a queen and a great leader and deserve everyone s adoration Well, actions speak louder than words, Dany You can t figure out how to cross an ocean with three FLYING dragons Homegirl Cersei might be cruel, but at least when she says she s going to blow something up, SHE FUCKING FOLLOWS THROUGH As you ll see in this book.3 Jaime s Gryffindor side really shows.He s still in love with his Slytherin sister, but you see he s really not a total villain.4 Brienne is a badass Gryffindor who I could follow around all day.Not in a creepy way.5 Jon Snow isn t in it.HEAR ME OUT JON SNOW IS GREAT HE IS A LOVELY HUMAN AND SHOULD ACTUALLY BE SITTING ON THE IRON THRONE I just don t find him very interesting to read because he s vanilla AF.6 Asha Greyjoy.Girl power.7 Sam has of a purpose than just being Jon s Hufflepuff sidekick.He s such a cinnamon roll.8 Arya is a queen.I d put her on the throne just to watch her get revenge on anyone who even looks at her wrong.9 No Bran.Call me when you re ready to progress the plot.10 SANSAAAAAAAAAAAAA You get to watch her blossom into something other than a prim and proper lady I still haven t forgiven her for the direwolf thing in the first book, but this did help our relationship.Things I didn t care for 1 No Ravenclaw Tyrion.The Lannisters are such a well rounded bunch.2 Daenerys wasn t killed off by a pride of lions.Spoiler alert.