A Feast for Crows
Author: George R.R. Martin
Release Date: October 2005
** spoiler alert ** Well, this one was disappointing. I’ll admit to anybody, I enjoy these books but I prefer the tv show. I really don’t want to get caught up on the books beyond where the show is at, because I’d prefer to have the books spoiled for me than the show at this point. With so many characters, it also helps to watch the show first so I can remember who is everybody is. This installment of the series focused on a few focal point characters, but with the exception of one storyline none of them were as interesting as the last few books.
The main storylines in this installment included Jamie’s worrying about his sister sleeping with other men while also dealing with the Blackfish holding a castle in the world’s most boring and anti-climactic standoff, Arya beginning her training in being a faceless person, Samwell making a trip to Oldtown with Master Aemon and Gilly, Brienne searching for Sansa, Sansa learning about Littlefinger’s schemes, and the Greyjoys picking a new king. With the exception of Jamie training left handed, I didn’t really care about most of the rest of these storylines. Sansa’s storyline was OK, but much less interesting than the route the show took, Samwell’s seemed more interested in his sexual feelings for Gilly than any other plot advancement, and the Greyjoys was written from the point of view of a character that was much less interesting than Yara or Theon. Brienne’s storyline was probably better than the tv show version, but that was more due to a climactic run in at the end with a formerly dead character than anything that happened earlier.
The one saving grace of the novel was Cersei Lannister. Margaery is very different in the books compared to the tv show. While she’s intelligent and not trusting of Cersei, the Tyrells are only scene through Cersei’s eyes so she comes off more of a naive girl than the rival schemer she is on the show. I don’t know which version I prefer, however the long plot to get rid of Margaery was much more violent and probably more realistic with how things would be done in a feudal setting in the book. The entire elevation of the High Sparrow and the faithful militant was also more interesting solely from Cersei’s view of accomplishment or killing multiple birds with one stone. The last few pages of her section are a combination of satisfying and thrilling for the reader as all of her plans come back on her and are the cause of her own (at this point) demise. I’ll continue to read the series, but overall this was the weakest installment in the series thus far.