19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
New Characters, New Places, New Horrors,
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This review is from: A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4) (Kindle Edition)
I almost didn't buy this book because of the negative reviews and the litany of complaints about the quality of this book compared with the first three. I'm glad I wasn't swayed. True, some of the prominent characters from the first three books (who still survive) are missing, notably Tyrion and Daenerys as POV characters; but they are there in spirit and their (mis)deeds continue to influence the actions of the other main characters. With them missing, and a number of other characters killed off, who supplies the POV? Well, a number of new characters, sometimes only inhabiting one chapter; but unlike some reviewers I found that the new characters added a new dimension to the book, which together with the flashbacks to times long gone, added flesh to the bones of a rip-roaring adventure to make it a true classic.
The landscape is as dark and dreary as before but with new horrors. Perhaps the most understated is Qyburn, who carries out unspeakable acts in the deep dungeons of Kings Landing - well, maybe not always unspeakable, as some of the torture scenes are described in horrible detail. As always decapitated heads, rotting flesh, maiming, disfigurement and cannibalism are well covered in the writing, brought into vivid contrast by descriptions of juicy oranges being enjoyed in Sunspear the capital of Dorne. Meanwhile we get an in depth look at the Ironborn people, with their fiercely proud but cruel code of conduct. This is typified by the idea that going to sea without wearing full armour is craven because it shows that you are afraid of drowning; a novel, but somewhat warped concept!
One of the key elements in this book is the emphasis given to the different religions and their growing importance, which first became apparent in "A Clash of Kings" with the murder of Renly. Also, the divide between the living and dead is becoming blurred (Watch out for The Hangwoman!), possibly paving the way for fresh horrors from beyond the wall in the next books of the series.
Apart from the price of the Kindle edition, the only other area in which I would agree with some of the negative reviews is the complexity of the plot and the vast number of characters, often with similar names. To make it even worse, a couple of the characters change their name, and in one case the new name is used as a POV character. To follow all of this you either have to have an excellently organised memory, or read the book in one mammoth session. Failing that, do as I did - cheat! The only way I can manage the books in this series is to read them with a concordance alongside. As I mentioned in a previous review I have found a couple of Apps for the iPhone which work well for me. Game of Thrones - Wiki (online) and Game of Thrones Companion (offline). By occasionally referring to one, or both of these, I can just about keep my head above water (no reference to the Ironborn intended) and enjoy this masterpiece.
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Initial post: 29 Aug 2012 16:02:29 BDT
Totally agree. I read all these 1 star reviews in utter disbelievement (if thats a word).
Posted on 3 Mar 2013 22:26:38 GMT
I once went into a SoIaF wiki as the reviewer suggests and hit spoilers galore. Not a good idea. A shame that it's necessary.
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