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Book Review: A Feast For Crows by George R. R. Martin

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4)A Feast For Crows by George R. R. Martin
A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4

Listened June 1st – 20th, 2016
Fantasy
30-something hours long

Where do I even start with this book. Reading it, I had so many different thoughts and feelings that I began writing them all down so I wouldn’t forget anything… and likely, I’ll still forget some things.

Let’s just say overall I liked it and I feel it was a good addition to the story arc, but man did I have some issues with it. As I’ve stated in my June wrap-up, this book knocked me out of the blind-love I had for this series. Don’t get me wrong – I still very, very much enjoy it, but this book highlighted some things that I didn’t find particularly amusing.

And before I go any further: This review will be mildly spoilerific. I won’t mention any deaths specifically, but I will mention elements of scenes in passing. So if you want to be blind about this one, back out now. If you don’t mind a bit of non-necessary detail, dive on in.

 The first notable thing about this book is the huge expansion of characters and locations. Some of the chapter titles were things like ‘The Queenmaker’, making it impossible to know who was being talked about until the chapter actually began. Many times, these oddly named chapters were new characters altogether. It gave an air of excitement to reading the thing – you’d never know where in this world you’ve find yourself. I really enjoyed the massive expansion and the world building. More motivations, more intrigue. This book series is amazingly detailed, and I love it. I always appreciated the family lists that were in the back of the book, but this time they became essential. So. Many. People. Wanting so many different things. I feel like when all these separate motivations finally come together, this book series is going to blow me out of the water.

Another thing I want to mention has to do with the general attitude people get when reading this book. Looking into other reviews, there seems to be a bit of an argument going on. To preface, for those who don’t know, the time line of this book takes place simultaneously as the time line in the fifth book. This book focuses on one set of characters while the other another set. A lot of people I’ve seen have issues with the particular set of characters focused on in this book. So you have one side, ripping into the book for not having their favorite characters, and you have another side, ripping into the first side for complaining. And then you have another side, ripping into both other sides for whoever knows what reason.

So it really depends on where you fall into the spectrum how much you will enjoy this book. Personally, I enjoyed it. It definitely was a bit slow – all the focus characters, save a few, were those involved in the politics of the land. So if you don’t like political intrigue, there’s a reason you might find this book lacking. What this book did have though was character development. Characters that I was luke warm towards before have become my favorites – namely Jaime and Brienne. Both of them, I love. And Cersei… well, I still dislike Cersei, but I can see her motivations and her feelings now that chapters have been written from her point of view. It makes her feel more real instead of just this antagonistic force.

One small issue I had with this book were the off-scene deaths. People were mentioned in passing and the characters were like ‘Oh, we had news so and so is dead now’ but it would be one of the characters not mentioned in this book so we wouldn’t see it happen. My biff with this is small, solely for one reason: I know about the book five timeline. Book five was clearly out before I read this one, so I know that (hopefully) I’ll read from these characters’ POVs and get my questions answered as to whether or not they truly died. I feel like if I was reading this book right as it had come out, before book five, before knowing about this timeline stuff, that I would be rather sore about it. I don’t know – maybe I’m being silly, but it left a foul taste in my mouth.

And finally, the main issue with this book was also something I really liked – the characterization. As said, the character development was wonderful, but on the other hand, it was grating. I’ve mentioned before the love/hate relationship I have with how George R. R. Martin writes women. On the one hand, I love how different each one is, each with their own goals and motivations and personalities. And my favorite part: Not all of them are strong. I know that’s probably a weird thing to be happy about, but it makes them all realistic. I’m not saying they’re flat characters – not at all – but not all of them have nerves of steel or can kick ass. Some of them are weak, and that’s a good thing. Not all people are strong, so it would be weird to write them that way.

On the other hand, the issue I have with the female characters in this book ties in to the book’s tone over all. This book, while full of wonderful women and terrible women, is still clearly written from a male perspective. Now, I know that George R. R. Martin is in fact a man, so I guess it’s expected, but it still struck me how male the women were. Case in point: When a new female character was introduced, even when in a chapter told from another straight female character’s POV, that woman’s chest size was mentioned in the initial description of that character. I could understand a mention if the chapter was a straight man’s or a gay woman’s POV, but the women who noticed how big other women’s boobs were had been established as heterosexual. And sure, a passing glance would be fine – I’ve noticed women’s chests upon meeting them but it’s never more than that – a notice. I don’t focus, I don’t wonder. But they seemed to focus on them for just a bit too long, making me feel like there was another looking instead. It made me feel like the tone of this book said now how matter how weak or strong or in the middle this woman was, all the mattered was how big her chest was, because it was mentioned every time. I mean if it’s a sex scene – sure, describe some boobs. Boob yourself to death for all I care. But if you’re in the middle of a counsel meeting or whatever, is that detail relevant? Especially coming from someone who (in theory) wouldn’t focus on it anyways?

Maybe I’m alone in this, who knows. But it irritated me, mostly because it was so one-sided. Did I get to read about man butt? Man forearms? Man peen? No. Wasn’t relevant, wasn’t mentioned. But boobs are relevant all the time, apparently. So like I said: I have a huge love/hate relationship with how the women are characterized in this book.

Sigh. Enough of that.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but I can understand why people have had issues with it. I still highly enjoy this series, but I’m seriously getting tired of reading about boobs. Gonna read  the next one, hopefully will love it. Wish me luck.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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Posted by on 07/16/2016 in Books, Review

 

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Book Review: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2)A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin

My thoughts are swirling after reading this book. On the slim chance you don’t know already, this is the second book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, the first being A Game of Thrones. The first book, I rated 5 stars. This book, I feel I liked even more. Here is a synopsis from Goodreads, because I feel it gives the perfect amount of ‘oooh, ahhh’:

A comet the colour of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk at night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. 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. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.

The following may be accidentally spoilery. I won’t directly spoil without warning, but some of my phrasing of events might hint at things you might not wanna know ahead of time, so tread with caution.

A Clash of Kings is a spectacular continuation of A Game of Thrones. The character development for each character has furthered, the plot has thickened, the writing and imagery is wonderful as always. I think what I like the most about this installment is that more places were explored than just Winterfell, King’s Landing, The Wall and Vaes Dothrak. It gave me a larger picture in my head of who is where and what is happening when. The land this story takes place in I want to run around in. …with like fifty guards, but whatever.

Another thing that I really liked was that I began to hate characters I previously liked. Not because they’re bad characters, no, but because they’re developing so well that I know for a fact that if I ever met them in real life I’d hate their guts. The characters in this book to me feel like they’re real people, both the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’, but honestly, the lines between the two are starting to blur in this book and I love it. Some characters in the first book that I disliked I’m starting to feel sympathy for. Some I liked I know despise. Some I hated I still hate. *cough*Joffrey*cough*. Some I liked I now REALLY like.

The following in spoilery, I warn you! Skip to the next paragraph to get back to safe reading if you don’t wanna know! I wanted to mention these parts specifically, because they made me hate a particular character the most (and really like a couple others). Lemme start with this: Theon is a dickhole. Holy doody he’s an ass. I’m talking about two parts in particular: When he first meets his sister and when he ‘kills’ Bran and Rickon. The first, the fact that all he did was immediately see this woman as something to be gained made me sick. And when it turned out his sister was playing him, I laughed so hard and fell in love with his sister’s character. Asha is damn wonderful. At the end of the book, Theon’s fate is unknown, but I’m totally going to the store as soon as I’m done writing to get the third book, haha. So I’ll find out. I hope he’s alive so Asha can out-everything him more, haha. And for the second part… what a coward he is. I was in shock (I shouldn’t have been because of Martin’s rep, I know) but when it turns out he faked it, I was both happy and it made me dislike him all the more. If you’re gonna be evil, at least be good at it, goodness. That’s all for my spoilers.

And even if you didn’t read my spoiler, just know it actually made me like the book more. I loved hate-reading from that character’s perspective, it was fantastic. :”D

Overall, I loved this book. I want another book now. Lucky for me, it’s at the store and I can totally go get it.

Rating: 5/5 stars
There are so many punchable people.

 
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Posted by on 07/01/2015 in Books, Review

 

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