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
- No ice, no fire: George R.R. Martin’s A Feast for Crows by Jo Walton on Tor.com (This one seems to agree with my assessment, so it’s first 😉 )
- Review by Thomas Wagner on SFReviews.net
- Review by Paul Beimers on Cuddlebuggery.com
- “A Feast For Crows” Recap/Reaction on Pagelady.wordpress.com (This one contains major spoilers, but some very interesting graphics.)