11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4) (Kindle Edition)
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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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Mar 2015 16:43:48 GMT
M. Higgins says:
Nice review, couldn't have put it better myself. For these precise reasons I abandoned the series.
Posted on 14 Apr 2015 17:25:26 BDT
Absolutely spot on! It's been like pulling out my own teeth!!
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