On why I hated A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

There are a few chapters featuring Arya as she starts training to be one of the Faceless Men in Bravos, but her chapters were boring both in terms of plot and character development.  Basically it’s just her sweeping the temple, and later her selling clams.

Samwell Tarly travels with Gilly to Oldtown, to the Citadel to begin training as a maester.  Most of the chapters are him either crying or throwing up.  I discovered that without Jon Snow and the other brothers of the Night’s Watch to provide a contrast to his constant whining he is a superbly irritating character.

We get to see Cersei’s descent into utter madness.  She becomes more paranoid than the world’s worst conspiracy theorist and starts picking apart her son’s kingdom without even realising it.  One would be forgiven for thinking she was going insane and wondering whether Lord Tywin and Lady Joanna hadn’t also been twins.  On the plus side, by the end of the book she seems to have spun herself into her own web and might be getting what’s coming to her, though I’m not holding my breath.  But plot?  Character development?  Nah.  Let’s just supercharge the crazy that began during the battle of the Blackwater for a few hundred pages.

Brienne goes on a quest.  Jaime has sent her to find Sansa Stark.  She rides across Westeros the whole novel long just so she can get hanged by Catelyn Stark (who’s back from the dead and crazier than Cersei) before she can fulfill her quest.  But she might still be alive, though.  She shouts something we aren’t told at the moment she “dies”.  That usually means something weird’s gonna happen.

Speaking of Sansa, there at least was a little character development.  She’s becoming a bit more resourceful, but with Littlefinger as your mentor/protector, how can you not?  But at the Eyrie we also just got more scheming with nothing really happening to progress the plot up to this point.

Jaime was the one character who almost managed to salvage the novel.  Believe it or not, but he is actually growing as a character and, in defiance of first impressions, is turning out to be a nice guy.  I guess losing a hand, son, father and brother and finding out your sister is cheating on you changes a guy.  Plot-wise, though, not much happened with him either.

Two new storylines are also introduced.  We get to know Prince Dorian of Dorne and along with him comes a whole slew of new conspiracies.  Enough said.  Lastly there’s Victarion Greyjoy (Theon’s uncle), who wants to rule the Iron Islands when Balon Greyjoy dies.  This storyline at least seemed interesting, but then suddenly disappeared in the middle of the novel.

On Page 3, links to reviews on A Feast for Crows.

8 thoughts on “On why I hated A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

  1. Well, I’m going to keep reading the books just to see if he CAN pull it all back together, or if he doesn’t, why. I keep thinking that one of the themes GRRM is playing with is that conflict spares no one and does not wrap up neatly because of the power of good intentions. So, I almost expect him to make an epic mess of the story to explore how each character deals with said mess.

    But, I will agree that there are just way too many characters and plot lines at this point to keep up with. I wish he would focus it back in a bit, but I am willing to see where he goes with it.

    1. I admire how “real-life” his story is so far. No happy endings. Good people die or their plans are thwarted. Innocent people suffer. Bad people succeed thanks to money and power. All that is excellent and the mess is an integral part of it.

      But for the first three books he had managed to do all this without losing pace for a moment and while drawing us into the lives of the characters. In this book there is no pace and he jumps around so much between characters that we can’t effectively into any one’s head.

      A messy story is one thing, a messy book quite another.

      1. That’s very true. I wasn’t really trying to defend him, necessarily, just stating that I where still curious enough to see where he goes from a learning perspective on writing if nothing else.

      2. It’s a bit too “real life” for real life, actually.
        In the middle ages, there were things called Prisoners Exchanges.
        They happened, there weren’t generally bloodfeuds (borderlanders excepted,
        and they were always a bit crazypants).

      3. Well, his story isn’t set in the middle ages, but in an imaginary world with its own history, mythology and socio-political structures, so I think we can cut Mr Martin some slack in that regard.

    2. Oh, it’s dead. Totally dead. He can’t finish it, isn’t smart enough.
      Go play Shadow World instead. Then you can make your OWN
      insanely complicated story. And give it a good ending.

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