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A Feast For Crows – George R. R. Martin

Synopsis via amazon.co.uk:

‘Crows will fight over a dead man’s flesh, and kill each other for his eyes.’

Bloodthirsty, treacherous and cunning, the Lannisters are in power on the Iron Throne in the name of the boy-king Tommen. But fear and deceit are in the air: their enemies are poised to strike.

The Martells of Dorne seek vengeance for their dead, and the heir of King Balon of the Iron Isles, Euron Crow’s Eye, is as black a pirate as ever raised a sail.

Across the war-torn landscape of the Seven Kingdoms, Brienne the Beauty (thus named in mockery of her great size and strength) seeks for Sansa Stark, having vowed to protect Sansa from the wrath of Queen Cersei, Tommen’s power-hungry mother.

Meanwhile apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly brings a mysterious babe in arms south to the Citadel from the cruel frozen north where the sinister Others threaten the Wall…

A Feast for Crows brings to life dark magic, complex political intrigue and horrific bloodshed. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel … and the coldest hearts.

As always writing about a book in  a series, especially a series like this one, it’s difficult to remain spoiler free, so whilst I endeavour to keep things like and plot free, it’s not really like to happen, so reader beware, there will most likely be spoilers in this post. If you haven’t read “A Feast for Crows” and intend to, turn away now… otherwise, onwards and upwards, right?

This is my last book of 2014. I had aimed to read 40 books this year, and have failed with a meagre 20. [But I do also have other hobbies that do take up a great deal of time, so I am not too sad].

When I first picked up the fourth instalment of the “Song of Ice and Fire” series I wasn’t sure what to expect. “A Storm of Swords: Part 2” had been my favourite so far, and after reading this one remains my favourite – but that’s not to say that this one doesn’t live up to my expectations.

What should be said first that this volume in the series very much focuses on the events in Kings Landing and the surrounding areas, introducing us to Oldtown, the home of the Citadel and the Maesters. In the first chapter we are introduced to a brand new character who very quickly bites the proverbial dust, so to say.

This volume very much focuses on some of the women of Westeros. Queen Cersi, Arya, Sansa, Brienne of Tarth, with chapters from Jaime and Samwell Tarly. We get new chapters from Asha, princess [of sorts] of the Ironmen, and of Dorne. We are kept abreast of other happenings in the realm, with slivers of information from the Wall, the ongoing hunt for Tyrion.

There is a lot that happens within this book but in a very different way to the previous ones. Not so much war and bloodshed [although, don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of bloodshed to be had], but subterfuge and spying. I probably enjoyed Arya’s segments the most as she is my favourite character, second to Dany. Cersi I found the most irritating; yes you want to be Queen…. yes you hate Margery…. yes you committed incest… yes you want to be your father… but jeez just get on with things! I found her to be really back and forth in terms “oh help” and “bitch I’m the queen”. Also: Myrish swamp… wtf? I look forward to reading about her comeuppance…

I found the new lands/ characters of Dorne really interesting, and definitely think there’s going to be new favourite characters there! Although, I found the events surround Mrycella confusing. I didn’t realise what had happened to her until much later when Arianne is brought before her father to answer for her actions.

[Note: don’t look up the names of characters on the Song of Ice and Fire Wikia unless you want a spoiler for the next book! GRRR.]

Sansa is still coming across as a desperate weakling. Surely she knows that kissing Baelish, her “father” isn’t exactly right, yet she has fallen entirely into his trap, and once again finds herself bound to someone rather than sorting herself out and using her brain. Catelyn Stark must be proud of the brains she gave that one – but again, the events surround her should be interesting, depending on how long they take to unfold.

And the Lady Stark herself… I need more. Red Priests, death and hanging… but I need more. What’s her goal? Her aim? To hang everyone that was at the Red Wedding? To hunt down Jaime? Would she give up her second life for her daughters, perhaps?

I look forward to the next book, but as always, need that break between them. This is such a complex world that’s it needs to be taken slowly [and hey, the next book hasn’t been published yet, so it would look like I’ve got plenty of time. No point in rushing when the next book after The Winds of Winter will be years away no doubt].

Thanks for reading, and hope that the new year is all good things.