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81 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not so dull
Yes, many of the other reviewers are right. As I read this the first time, I was frustrated. It didn't really follow some of my fav characters, as they appear in book 5 (A Dance With Dragons). And even the first 2/3 of ADWD follow the same template as this one, there's much more talk and much less action than in the previous titles. Many characters travel long roads and...
Published on 11 April 2012 by AGGESWE

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159 of 174 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ...my kingdom for an editor
well you kinda knew it had to happen sooner or later. it took robert jordan 6 books before it all started to fall apart so i guess george is about on track. i'm coming to the conclusion that you can only write so many pages on one project before it starts to eat itself.
the author sums it up in the first line of his aknowledgements...to start with the good bits: the...
Published on 22 Nov 2005 by lazynine


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159 of 174 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ...my kingdom for an editor, 22 Nov 2005
This review is from: A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4) (Hardcover)
well you kinda knew it had to happen sooner or later. it took robert jordan 6 books before it all started to fall apart so i guess george is about on track. i'm coming to the conclusion that you can only write so many pages on one project before it starts to eat itself.
the author sums it up in the first line of his aknowledgements...to start with the good bits: the characters are still reasonably complex and engaging, the plotting is as devious as ever, the dialogue snappy. there is no doubt the george rr martin can write.
the problem is that nothing much happens. jaime plods around the riverlands, arya plods around braavos, sam plods south and brienne plods all over the shop. lots of plodding not alot of action. the only people moving the plot along with any pace are cersei and the iron born and we catch only glimpses of the latter.
what some might call quiet and subtle plot advancement, i call static and flabby. all the plot lines in this book could be tied up in under a hundred pages leaving plenty left for events of more impact. and there are numerous events that need to happen if this series is to finish this side of 10 books. if we continue at this pace we may never reach the end.....hmmmmmm.
it's a shame as the series has been generally fantastic. the fact this installment took nearly five years to write suggests that the author is having trouble working out where the story is going, and that's exactly how it feels when you read it.
call me old fashioned but i believe stories should have a beginning a middle and an end; this one's middle is swiftly approaching obesity.
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62 of 68 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Be warned, 22 Feb 2012
By 
C. V. Gidlow (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book is not like what has gone before. It looks at the main kingdom of Westeros in the aftermath of the war of the five kings, a fractured more 'Dark Age' milieu where royal power has to be imposed rather than acknowledged. Some of the very negative reviews here dwell on the long lists, descriptions of food and heraldry, convoluted descriptions of family trees, days spent in minutely described daily life with little 'plot' and the inherent problems of multiple viewpoint narratives (you are more interested in some of the characters than others). All these are stylistic features of the series as a whole. Some of us like them - I feel they have the smack of Medieval Romance fiction about them - some don't.

The warning has to be that most of the best characters have gone. Samwell Tarley has long outstayed his welcome. His function was to look at the Nightswatch from the point of view of outsider, the North from the point of view of a pampered southerner and those he did well. Left on his own to see a sea voyage, a dying old man and a poorly imagined fantasy Venice, his chapters drag and should have been left out.

The story arc about the fantasy vikings of the Iron Isles introduces several more characters and viewpoints, but as their viewpoints are little more than dark age fantasy cliches and not the high/late medieval ambience of the series they form a subset which will appeal to some readers but not to me.

It is unfair to say that all of the book is boring and pointless. There is a Dornish plot which is conceived and executed in the course of the book. Jaime Lannister is an excellent character, developing gradually and plausibly. Cersei degenerates into paranoia, but I hardly see this as contrary to her established character. it simply shows how reliant she actually was on the politicians of the small council, now nearly all gone. The main story arc unfolding is the subjugation of the remaining rebel strong holds, and the re-arming of the faith. This seems very significant as the 'Protestant' iconoclastic religion of Stannis receives its backlash as the 'catholic' religion of the Seven gets its inquisition, religious fighting orders and crusades of the counter reformation.

Unlike many reviewers I like the knight errantry of Brienne (romance heroism in a realistic world). I have no time for Arya Stark, but she had a vaulable perspective in Westeros, a less useful one on fantasy Venice. Sansa I really enjoyed as a polite 'standard' medieval noble woman looking on the terrible world of Kingslanding politics from the outside. Looking at the dull tidying up of events in the Vale is not a good use of this character and we could probably all have done well without that being covered.

And no Tyrion, no Jon, no Dany - well, I don't think they'd be making a TV series of this book! Expect heavy cutting by the time HBO reaches it.

My conclusion is if you are following the series, of course you'll have to read it. I feel that Martin has now become too big and too famous for his editors to hold any sway over him, but he ought to take note of the characters he writes about and realise that a wise councillor whose judgement you can trust might be exactly what he needs to carry him and the readers to the end of the series.
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81 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not so dull, 11 April 2012
Yes, many of the other reviewers are right. As I read this the first time, I was frustrated. It didn't really follow some of my fav characters, as they appear in book 5 (A Dance With Dragons). And even the first 2/3 of ADWD follow the same template as this one, there's much more talk and much less action than in the previous titles. Many characters travel long roads and it feels like nothing really happens. It's very tempting to rush through, wanting to get to the good parts, the ones you imagine will be filled with action, retribution, vengeance. Several plots are filled with walking and talking, chapter after chapter. Some characters fail in whatever quest they're set on, and even die (or did they now?). Some characters seem to devolve, they grow insecure, weaker, make mistakes and bad choices - or no choices. Others are still to young and I want them to grow older faster.

However, that has never been GRRMs world, not is it what makes the books great. The books have never only followed the success stories, the good guys, or those that survives. Not every character has enough luck that saves them at the last minute over and over. That's what makes the story great, now and in the previous books.

Once I think about it, this has to happen. And come to think of it, it has happened like that in the previous books as well. The action and tension did rise from book to book, but this is the middle piece, the "The Empire Strikes Back" (after Hoth). A lull in Westeros, as several plots have reached a sort of semi-conclusion, and most of the pieces and players are now being set up for the next big push.

Read the book with a calm mind, and relish in the stories and characters instead of wanting the stories to reach where you want them to go. They won't go where you want them to go anyway, and definitely not where you expect them to go. And you know it - they never did in the past! :)

In short, my expectations were more to blame for my frustration with the book than the book itself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Epic disappointment, 27 May 2014
In the 1st three books the story careened along and the characters felt like old friends with lots of interesting new things to tell you about. Now we have the ancillary characters from the those books endlessly wondering and pondering repeating the same tropes over and over again for several hundred pages to seemingly no avail. Worse still most of these characters induce zero or negative sympathy in the reader. That wouldn't be so much of a problem if anything actually happened. Characters travel from place to place, they think a lot about the past, they remember things that shaped their character (ancillary characters remember) and, so far at least, they do very little else other than dig deeper holes for themselves.

There are times it feels as though the author is being deliberately obtuse such as following the strangely anachronistic Ironborn over some long repetitive chapters but having only 1 interesting Ironborn character (Euron) and not actually following him. Instead we're faced with interminable pages of 1 dimensional warrior dullards and priests obsessing over the past and what the interesting one is doing in the present is only hinted at. Euron's past is far more interesting than either Damphair or Victarion being that he's been to Valyria and wants to summon dragons, we don't hear anything about it, yet we know an awful lot about the other two and there really isn't much to know. One is damp and the other wins battles.

Then there's Cercei, yes we get that she's a paranoid sociopath who brings all her woes on herself we don't need to read hundreds of pages exposing that fact, the story about the frog woman could have been revealed much earlier and with much less import as it's not actually that important. A large chunk of this book is given over to Cercei's repetitive scheming, we know she hates everyone, we know she doesn't know how to run a kingdom or take good advice we don't need to be told so over and over again. The only reason we as readers are interested is to see when she's killed and so far (1/3rd of the way through) it doesn't seem it'll happen in this book even though she's getting more ridiculously evil by the chapter. I'd guess we'll need to wait for dragons in westeros before that happens.

Then we get Sam being an annoying craven (Jon's not there and Aemon is the wrong generation) and Arya goes off on a really boring adventure where Martin tries one of his famous cliffhanger endings and only succeeds in dropping his biggest clanger yet. Why does he keep maiming characters if it only takes away from said character? When Jaimie lost his hand it was an act full of meaning, it stripped him of his identity and forced him to find a new one or the real one but what he's done with Arya just seems like a cruel joke on the character and reader, something he's done because he was bored.

It's boring in a way the previous books never were. This could easily have been condensed into a 1/3 or 1/4 of the pages it has. Details that seemed to bring earlier books to life such as landscapes, heraldry, food etc just seem to be part of the formula now - I've mentioned a name so I'd best say what they're eating and wearing, go over their family tree and their own personal history what they're thinking how they smell, maybe an irrelevant dream sequence etc etc. It used to be that when he did that he did it for a reason that we'd find out later but now it just seems he's doing it to fill pages.

A lot of reviewers have cited the lack of action and too much talking as being a problem but I don't think it is, it's what they're tlaking about that is the problem; far too much repetition and too little plot development. Very few surprises and the ones there are just felt like a cheap way of adding a shock or were just plain depressing.

Everything that happens in this book would have been better done in exposition form. None of the details seem important to the story as a whole, it's just more information none of it very useful to our understanding of what has gone before or what may be coming in the future. I just hope that what's coming isn't more of the same. I read 1 review that said he went from book 3 to 5 then came back to 4 a couple of years later and said there was nothing in book 5 didn't know or was confused about that he'd missed from book 4, in other words this book can be skipped without losing the plot. Lets just hope it's not Martin who's losing the plot.

As a reader I feel cheated having invested a lot of time getting to know the characters in the 1st 3 books who don't get a mention in this one, feel the same way regarding the story which takes alot of time and effort to figure out. So much so that I've asked for a refund. Epic dissappointment.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I waited 5 years for this?, 23 April 2006
By 
M. Mason (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4) (Hardcover)
I have read almost everything Martin has written. He is an amazingly good writer. I read and loved the first three books in the series, and then I waited five long years for the next. Then, just as I had about given up hope, it finally appears.

But what a disappointment. This book ambles along, going nowhere. Nothing much happens. It's nothing but politics, and it features all the least interesting characters from the first books. If Martin wasn't such a good writer I never would have finished. I did so only in the hope that the next book will be along soon and must surely be better. A note at the end of the book virtually apologizes, and says all the other (and more interesting characters) will be along in the next installment.

George, please don't keep us waiting for the next book. This one hasn't exactly whetted my appetite. You could lose a lot of fans if it doesn't appear soon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Feast for Crows, 25 Sep 2014
By 
Iset (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
A Feast For Crows is a difficult book to review. The series is so enormously popular, and has been reviewed tens of thousands of times, that it feels like everything that could be said has already been said. In addition, George R R Martin’s quality of writing remains so consistent that everything I said about why his style of writing is so sublime in my A Game of Thrones review applies to every subsequent review of his books. So instead of reiterating what's been said before, I’m going to be talking about what A Feast For Crows brings that’s new to the table; and that means discussing plot and characters. I won't be giving spoilers.

A Feast For Crows does seem to be the least popular in what is admittedly a very popular series. I for one noticed that I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as previous books. But why was that? Martin’s quality of writing was just as high as ever, and whilst I briefly considered giving this book a lower rating than the one I have, I have not because in fairness the quality is just as good as ever. The book doesn’t deserve a vastly reduced rating because it is still far better than books I’ve awarded 3 or 4 stars to. I believe I enjoyed the book slightly less due to the characters and the unique nature of the division of A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons. The story is well known by now: Martin found himself with too big a story and rather than split it up halfway through the plot he split it up giving us the full plot for only half of the characters in A Feast For Crows, the rest getting their time in A Dance With Dragons. As a result, A Feast For Crows does have a nagging feeling of being incomplete, because it is. And, as it happens, I think it’s fair to say that the most popular characters' stories are continued in A Dance With Dragons, and not here in A Feast For Crows. Therefore as well as feeling vaguely incomplete we’ve also got a book here where the most popular favourite characters are absent – so I did feel their absence.

In addition, I have a strong suspicion that most of the Big Revelations and Shocking Twists that Martin is infamous for are contained within A Dance With Dragons, and not this one. There are some twists and revelations here – I would say two fairly large revelations, a couple of smaller ones, and one Big Event, as far as significant things happening to characters goes – but it still feels like most of them have been saved for the other half of the cast, in A Dance With Dragons. I did not see the two big reveals in this book coming, however I wasn’t surprised, because they were very in keeping with the characters who arranged them; so they weren’t as impactful on me as the twists of previous books.

So as a result, whilst Martin’s quality of writing came across as just as good as ever, A Feast For Crows does feel like the weakest in the series because it is literally half a story, and our favourite characters, and probably most of the big plot developments, are in A Dance With Dragons. Nevertheless, the standard of writing and quality remains as high as ever, so for me this was still an excellent read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful , smart and deep, this is the beginning of the end ., 14 Sep 2014
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Firstly, a word of warning. This novel is paced very differently particularly to the second half of "swords". This is an altogether more thoughtful and in my opinion deeper novel filled with clues and insights into the motivations of some of the characters onscreen and off and the many plots afoot.
It is the genius of Martin that by using the unreliable narrator approach it is often what isn't said that is more important than the things that are, which lead this book to be the central premise of so many theories and suggestions which may (or may not) form the way this epic story will conclude in books 6 and 7. This depth also means that AFFC lends itself to rereads more readily than other books in the series.
True many of the characters from the previous 3 novels are not in it , particularly Tyrion , Danaerys and Jon as a POV as most of the action is set in southern Westeros but some of what you do get are a view of the aftermath of the war of the five kings from the point of view of the common folk as seen by Brienne aand what it means to be a common pawn as lords play their game of thrones. The iron born and their motivations and rivalries , Arya and Braavos , jaime's continued attempt at redemption in the riverlands ( the conversation between Jaime and Brynden Tully is priceless) Sams journey to old town , Dorne with arienne and the sand snakes , best of all Cersei Lannisters descent into madness and paranoia and the rise of the warriors sons . The prologue is also one that will be reread many times for the subtle reappearance of an intriguing character.
If you are hoping for easy or cheap resolutions to some of the outstanding plot lines you may be disappointed , but if you are invested in the world of westeros this is the book that expands and enriches on what has gone before and helps set the scene on what is yet to come.
Be patient , don't hope the story will go where you want it to and dive in.
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149 of 171 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A big wobble (possible spoilers), 30 May 2007
First, let me say that I will be sticking with the series and I have not written off forthcoming instalments based on my opinion of this book.

A Feast for Crows is an extremely frustrating book. Martin has taken the very dubious step of ditching half of the characters and leaving their stories for A Dance With Dragons. This results in a constant, nagging feeling that you really are missing out on half of the plot and that the story would benefit enormously from the perspectives of those characters that have been put on the back burner.

The plot is supposed to be charting the mess left after the various conflicts of the previous books but instead is itself just a tangled mess as the author, trapped in his character per chapter format, is forced to chop backwards and forwards too often between a silly number of threads and in doing so loses the overall continuity of the story.

Sadly, there is the real possibility that Martin has overreached himself and is struggling badly to stay on top of the various sub-plots he has created. I really hope that he quickly consolidates the multitudinous threads in the next book so that the climax has the time to play out properly in the final two volumes. It does not bode well that Martin admits that the writing for A Dance With Dragons is not proceeding quite as he had hoped!

One more thing to get off my chest - I am becoming extremely weary of Martin's love of inflicting cruelty on his key characters. Occasionally it is good for the story (Jaime's hand for instance) but the rest of the time is pretty pointless. Still, it seems Martin will not be happy unless he has killed or horribly maimed all his characters by the conclusion of the series.

Overall this book puts me in mind of a car stuck in a muddy field, frantically spinning it's wheels and beeping it's horn but not actually getting anywhere. I can only hope that Martin rediscovers some of the direction that made the first few books of the series enjoyable.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 6 Feb 2006
By 
merlinme "merlinme" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4) (Hardcover)
I love George RR Martin's work, and I was really looking forward to this. However, I have to say, much as Robin Hobb and JK Rowling at the moment, this book could do with editing. The characters and situations are never anything other than beautifully written, but the plot seems to spend hundreds of pages going nowhere. This was originally supposed to be one novel with "A Dance With Dragons", and if he'd stuck to the main characters and concentrated on advancing the plot, I really don't see why it couldn't have remained one novel. I would happily have cut nearly all the chapters on the Ironborn, and also Brienne's chapters. Brienne is a sympathetic character, but did we really need so many chapters of her failing to find what she's looking for? Similarly several new Ironborn characters are expanded in detail, but for very little effect in terms of advancing the plot, surely this could have been cut down. Arya remains my favourite character, but her story scarcely reaches any sort of a resolution. Little to nothing happens in Sansa Stark's storyline that couldn't have been wrapped up in one or two chapters. The only major plotline developed to anything approaching a climax is that of Cersei. That part is very well written, although I personally found the routine use of torture fairly disturbing, but as for the rest of the characters- Several are left in major peril. How many more years are we going to have to wait to find out what happens to them?
This is by no means a terrible novel, but I do sincerely wish George had spent more time advancing the story and less time describing the passing of time in such detail.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A definite slowing, 24 Jun 2012
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I think I've benefitted from having re-read the first three books immediately prior to reading Feast. That meant I didn't feel the long wait so much between book 3 and 4. Also, I knew from having read reviews here that the story concentrated on events in and around King's Landing, and that the next book would pick up the other characters. Thus, forearmed (or forewarned?), I wasn't disappointed about who was missing.

Book 3 was just so explosive, there was no way GRRM could keep that pace going. So, he's taken his foot off the padal a wee bit, and what we get instead is some interesting and entertaining side story. At least I think it's side story - it's actually difficult to say what the central story line is. I used to think it centred on the Starks. It kind of still does, but four books in, I still don't know who is behind the main threat, or really what the main threat is. The writing's entertaining, though, and I'm happy to stick with it for the time being.

I found the events at Dorne interesting and liked the inclusion of characters there. I'm very much enjoying Arya's story and also found Brienne's story interesting. The events in and around the Iron Islands was good, too. Nothing jaw-dropping, but each moving the story along, albeit at a very slow pace. Out of everyone featured, I think Jaime and Sansa's stories were the least developed. While Jaime seems to be going through some sort or re-evaluation of his life and beliefs, Sansa continues to be pretty and go where she's told.

One final point, this book begins with a prologue (I don't really get prologues in sequential multi-volume books that tell a single story, but maybe that's just me). Stuff happens in that prologue, and you sense a new, and perhaps even major character, appearing. I'm a little wary of 'important characters' appearing at this stage, but my main gripe with the prologue is that it's not revisited until the final chapter, 800-odd pages on. By which point I'd forgotten the precise detail of the prologue, so had to go back an re-read it to appreciate the import and dramatic impact of the book's final sentences.

All in all, I don't agree with the comparisons to WoT, but can appreciate the point being made. I would mark books 1-3 in this epic as 5 stars; this book gets 4 from me ie 'I like it'.
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A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4)
A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4) by George R. R. Martin (Hardcover - 17 Oct 2005)
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