Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin

This is book number four in George R. R. Martin's "The Song of Fire and Ice" series. I know several people that read this before me, they all warned me that it is a much slower read than the previous volumes in the series, much like books five and six of the "Wheel of Time" series. They attributed this slowness to the absence of their favorite characters. I did not start to feel this until about the last 200 pages of the book, but I did feel the aforementioned slowing in the pace of the story. Maybe I didn't feel it earlier, because I had been forewarned about the characters that were missing and so did not expect them to make an appearance.

Don't get me wrong, the story is still engaging and the action never stops. However, it's difficult for readers to maintain their pace when well-loved characters such as Tyrion and Daenarys are not seen at all, and Jon Snow barely makes a blip on the story's radar. There are a few new characters introduced, and they are interesting in their own right but I have not bonded with them as of yet. If the new characters had appeared in the story before, it was usually through passing mention in a conversation. One of the great, and frustrating, things about Martin is that you can't predict who will be an important character and who will become a side note or disappear all together.

I am aware that this occurred because the story was becoming so massive that Martin had to split the book in two, in order to make it possible to publish and sell for a reasonable amount of money (and to avoid it being so large that it threw out the readers' backs). Thankfully, as I said in my A Storm of Swords post, the other half of this story will be available in July.

Despite the fact that some of my favorite characters are absent, there is a lot of story progression. Jaime Lannister continues to develop as a character and become more likable (at least to me). Cersei continues to be, well, Cersei. Tommen, the King, continues to be a charming boy of 8, sheltered from the realities of ruling a kingdom, and his mother's scheming. Things on the Wall are dire, yet there is hope as well. John sends Sam Tarly away to become a Maegster. So many threads on the web of this story.

So many things to tie up before the end. There is suppose to be just one more book after A Dance with Dragons, but I'm not sure that will be possible.


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