Book Reviews: A Feast for Crows

feast_for_crowsMy dad gave me the first four Game of Thrones books over two years ago. I have been a fan of the TV show from the very beginning and loved both S02 and So3, but my first attempts at reading the books was not very successful. I found the first two books to be interesting but as I wrote in my blog article, I had a hard time really calling it literature. Storm of Swords, the third book, I found to be a good read and this one, Feast for Crows, I found to be the best written so far. I find that in the first few books, Martin worries a lot about plot development and consistency but loses the character development a bit. By SoS, we are in full civil war and the brutality starts peaking (although it pales in comparison to FfC) but more importantly, I felt that the chapters did a better job of getting inside the heads of the characters. In FfC, I really enjoyed the Brienne storyline, as heart-breaking as it turns out. I also enjoyed the Arya one – as always! – and am pissed at Amazon for not delivering Dance of Dragons because I want to see what happens to her next, I mean is she REALLY blind like forever? More particularly, I enjoyed the rounding out and maturing of the Jaime character and how he is contrasted with the two Clegan brothers and especially with the evil Cersei. If there is one one-dimensional character here, Cersei ALWAYS seems beyond redemption and it was immensely satisfying at the end of FfC to see her finally paying some dues. I should have been happier about Joffrey’s end but I guess I was a bit confused by the plot line there and still reeling from the Red Wedding 400 pages earlier. I felt that the pace did slow down at times but this allowed Martin to give us so much more back story on the Targaryans and I always found this incredibly interesting. I also liked how we got to see Theon Greyjoy’s psychotic family (I really do have a soft spot for his seemingly ill-fated sister and LOVED her bit at the queens moot!) even if the TV series certainly played up that arc far more than the book did. I mentioned brutality before and the scene with Biter, the descriptions of wartime horrors, the various rapes and murders did get a bit oppressive towards the end of FfC. It got me thinking as to whether medieval Europe was just as brutal and I suppose that – putting aside wights, giants, mammoths, and of course dragons – it probably was this bad particularly in the period between the fall of Rome and the crowning of Charlemagne. I certainly am lucky to be living now because I don’t see how I would have survived for even 5 minutes in that world. That being said, I was in Mumbai a week ago and learned about the 26/11 terrorist attack on that city which killed 160 people and seriously injured 300 more where three (!!) hotels were entirely captured by cells of three or four terrorists with appalling violence. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for people living there during the 48-72 hours it took for the India gov’t to move in and kill the terrorists (and 32 hostages as well!!) and thus was reminded that barbarity has not yet been eradicated. We are just more sophisticated now but we are just as deadly as a species. Oof, that got rather black there, but then FfC is the darkest book yet in GoT. I just wonder how far HBO and the directors will go in S04 because there are scenes here that were just unfathomable. Only a few more weeks until we find out!

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About mfinocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
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