A Feast for Crows

by George R. R. Martin

Reviewed by Coral

After the events of Joffrey's wedding, the political landscape of the Seven Kingdoms has been forever changed. Cersei now rules as regent but, as much as she likes to believe otherwise, she is not the ruler her father or her brother Tyrion were. She is ruled by the fear she has of a prophecy she received as a child, allowing it to consume her. Because of this she sees enemies in her friends and is blinded to the dangers she's inviting by introducing sweeping changes in the laws set forth under the Targaryens.

While most people in the Seven Kingdoms think the war is almost over nothing can be farther from the truth.

The Starks may have been broken, but more of them survive than anyone knows. Some are looking for revenge while others are being used as pawns. Meanwhile, the Tullys, under the command of Catelyn and Edmure's uncle, the Blackfish, are holding strong behind the walls of Riverrun.

Stannis holds the Wall, the price almost surely being his stronghold Dragonstone. But while many consider him to be a non-threat, with no allies to be won amongst the Northern men, they do not know of Stannis' Red Woman, or of the power she commands.

The Ironmen may have lost their king, but Balon left behind more than enough heirs: three brothers, a daughter and a son who may or may not be dead. The Ironmen gather to choose their new ruler and the one they choose has far larger plans than Balon's desire to be king of the their islands.

Then there are still those pesky outlaws to deal with: Beric Dondarrion and Thoros the red priest. Joining them in their mission is Lady Stoneheart, a woman with more than enough reasons to seek the deaths of every last Frey and Lannister.

Meanwhile Dorne is seething from the death of Prince Oberyn, the Red Viper. One way or another, they will make the Lannisters pay for his death and finally claim their long overdue justice.

Daenerys may have decided she no longer wants the Iron Throne, content to rule over the kingdom she's won for herself, but stories of her and her dragons have made it over the ocean and back to the Seven Kingdoms. While most think it no more than the tale of drunken sailors, there are some who see the truth. And more than one of the players for the Iron Throne mean to use her to further their own claims.

This one's hard for me to grade.

I think as a whole it was a decent book. It moved a couple of plots along and set the groundwork for a couple of other plots. The thing about this book is that a lot of my favourite characters really weren't in it. And I completely understand the author's note at the end about the story being too long and having to split it up into two books, but I still missed Jon, Daenerys and Tyrion.

I was disappointed with some of the characters in this book.

Cersei, for one, who seemed like a much smarter character back in the first book, but has slowly been going downhill ever since. Most of the trouble she comes up against in this book is as a direct result of her own mis-management of everything and everyone around her.

I'm not going to name the second character I was most disappointed with, but given what she got away with in the last book, I'm surprised she wasn't more involved in the political plotting in this book. And, considering what happens to some of her family by the end of the book, I was really surprised by her lack of forethought and any possible back up plans or counter-action.

I forgot how nerve-wracking reading these books can be. The first three books of the series I had read before and was just re-reading them to get caught up with all the plots before moving on to this one. And, although I had completely forgotten what happened at the end of A Storm of Swords, I was pretty sure which characters died and which had lived. But with this book I was scared for my favourites all the way through, especially given the amount of plots against some of them and the fact that another character that was pretty central for awhile was seemingly killed off in a throw-away line!

Overall, even though it probably has more to do with the characters that were missing than the book itself, I can't help but feel that it was a little bit of a let down after years of waiting to read it.

Grade: B

Ruby's Review:

This book has a slightly different feel than the other ones. There are new characters that pop up, considering all the deaths there had to be, but a lot of the time these new characters only got one chapter. I also felt that this book was more of a build up book than the other ones. I knew going in that it was only going to be half the story and book 5 would be the other half of the story, but it still felt like it was missing something.

Hopefully the next book will tie everything up nicely. Okay there are still two more planned after that one, but I hope that the other half of this one can tell us if the random information we heard throughout this book was true or not.

Grade: B