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

And in the absence of plot and meaningful character development I noticed something else:  Mr Martin likes describing stuff.  Granted, in fantasy description is rather important in terms of the world building, but do we really need to know the colour of every soldier’s tunic along with the exact state of his armour and a description of his sigil that’s so detailed I’d probably be able to draw it for myself?  (Keep in mind, I can’t draw.)  In the previous books I didn’t notice this.  The plot was so gripping and the characters so interesting I didn’t mind the descriptions scattered throughout.  But in this one it seemed as if he was trying to inflate the word count through descriptions.

Don’t get me wrong:  I think Mr Martin is a brilliant writer and A Song of Ice and Fire is as close as you can get in writing to a master work, but I think the story has gotten away from him, judging by this novel.  If you have too many characters and separate plot lines to fit into one novel in the series, I think you’ve got too many.  Period.

It felt as if he simply used this novel to put the characters in position for the next big event of the story.  There’s nothing wrong with moving the pieces into place, but you shouldn’t need seven-hundred-plus pages to do that.  There is such a thing as making your story too complex.

I could be completely wrong (and judging by the novel’s four star rating on Goodreads and four and a half on Barnes & Noble I probably am).  Perhaps I just wasn’t in the right place – mentally, emotionally, existentially? – for this novel.  But I don’t even feel like reading the next one (though I probably will as I’ve already bought all 1600 pages of it) or watching the next season when it airs later this year (though I’ll probably do that as well – OCD and so on).

I can feel myself joining the many people who have already asked whether Mr Martin is planning to ever end this saga, if the end is going to make any sense, and if he’ll ever be able to write it.  I’m starting to think I should just cut my losses and stop reading the series now.  Surely that’s the safest course of action, don’t you think?

Some reviews for 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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