Thursday, 20 December 2012

Goerge R.R. Martin- A Song of Ice and Fire 04- A Feast For Crows

 A Song of Ice and Fire 04- A Feast For Crows
Harper Voyager
George R.R. Martin

“All me lie when they are afraid. Some tell many lies, some but a few. Some have only one great lie they tell so often that they almost come to believe it ... though some small part of them will always know that it is still a lie, and that will show upon their faces.” 

Before we get going with this review of the fourth installment of George R. R. Martin's soap opera with swords, I feel like I need to make kind of an apology to the friends I have who really, really like the series. Honestly guys, I'm sorry in advance, because I understand how the power and lure of a good franchise universe can extract an unconditional love for even its weakest entry. Then, when a guy comes along who admits he's not really a fan of fantasy, starts reviewing the beloved series, and goes from enthusiastically positive to drearily repetitive within four micro-blogs, I can see how that might kind of annoy people.

So yeah, the above paragraph might give the impression that I really didn't enjoy A Feast for Crows, and that impression would be right. On this whole, this review is going to be pretty negative, but, don't fret, will aim for a bit of positivity. I'm not giving up on this series (I've got a copy of A Dance with Dragons- Book One sat on my shelf), and I do expect it to return to a more enjoyable standard, because the reason that I didn't at all like this one was pretty obvious. Going back to the franchise thing above; A Song of Fire and Ice is no really different to, say, Star Wars in that it's continuity-based storytelling where the appeal lies in strong, memorable characters. If George Lucas wrote Empire and cut out Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Yoda because it was getting too long, it would be rubbish. In A Feast of Crows, George R. R. Martin excludes Jon Snow, Tyrion, and  Daenerys completely, and I'm pretty sure those three are the best characters.

On the one hand, I'm looking forward to reading the next book a bit more, but on the other it leaves this book as dull and fairly event-less, as it follows the stories of second-tier characters like Cersei and Samwell, taking another 600-pages to do so. I'm not a fan of Martin's writing style by itself, so I was left with almost nothing interesting. The only character I really had any interest in was Arya Stark, and nothing much happens with her either.

So, what did I like about this book? Not much. The pace of events picks up somewhat towards the end for certain characters. There's plenty of violence and other nastiness, as is tradition for this series. The cover is a nice colour. I'm suspiciously looking forward to the next one. That's about it, really. Essentially it comes down to the fact that I'm only a casual Song of Ice and Fire fan and I don't hang on Martin's every word, so his decision to slimline the scope of this book only served to damper my enjoyment. That's enough of that.