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A Feast for Crows - George R.R. Martin

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Monday, July 11, 2011

A Feast for Crows - George R.R. Martin

My re-read is complete as of Saturday afternoon - three days ahead of the release for A Dance with Dragons.  I immediately logged on to Amazon and pre-order Dance on my Kindle.  It will be delivered at 12:01 AM on Tuesday (I hope).  I may power through 100 pages or so before going to bed.  Showing up to work with dark circles under my eyes is always a win.

A Feast for Crows was better than I remembered in some ways, and worse in others. The narrative is paced so slowly and jumps into so many different points of view that it never gets great pace.  Some suggestions about reading each POV in order makes some sense.  Reading Arya or Brienne chapters all in a row would probably alleviate some of the difficulties with the books structure.  In any case, I read it as it was intended.

As I've completed my re-read of each of Martin's books I've posted a few major thoughts from each about what I found interesting. What follows is full of spoilers, obviously.

#1) Let's say A Song of Ice and Fire is an allegory for all of fiction. A Game of Thrones might be the Epic of Gilgamesh and A Storm of Swords might be Crime and Punishment. In this scenario there's no doubt in my mind that A Feast for Crows is the Tales of Canterbury. Stick with me here. 
Feast is a novel for the smallfolk as Martin calls them. Like Chaucer's classic was a peak into the life of the common man at a time when novels were written solely from and for the noble perspective, Feast is the window into the heart of Westeros people. Up until this point Martin hasn't shown much of anything when it comes to the vast majority of the population. I think it provided him with the opportunity to wax rhapsodic about injustice and natural rights. Reading Feast from that point of view, it's a wholly different book for me and something I can enjoy as I didn't the first few times through. 
#2) Lady Genna, Tywin's sister, is a great addition to the Lannister clan. When she says: 
"Jaime," she said, tugging on his ear, "sweetling, I have known you since you were a babe at Joanna's breast. You smile like Gerion and fight like Tyr, and there's some of Kevan in you, else you would not wear that cloak... but Tyrion is Tywin's son, not you." 
Oh baby, it doesn't get more awesome than that.

#3) I think the reason Martin's fans were so down on Feast when it first came out is that the novel is too disjointed with POVs. Seeing the Kingsmoot from three different POVs really chops it up and sucks out a lot of the energy. That's also true of Dorne where we see Hotah in the early going, Arys in the middle, and Arianne toward the end. I'm not entirely sure what Martin was trying to accomplish by doing this except maybe to set things up POVs for future books. Personally, I think it would have worked better if he'd only had one POV from both of those settings. 
#4) Jaime is almost as cool of a character as Tyrion. Man I love these two. Cersei is just a caricature and I can't get behind her as a character. She doesn't seem authentic to me.

Tune in around Friday for my Dance review!

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