A Feast for Crows by George R R Martin is the fourth novel in the Song of Ice and Fire series. At the novel’s end there is a note from the author, explaining that he was writing the fourth book and realized that there was too much content for one book so he split the stories along two logical story lines. As with all of the novels, each chapter has a different character’s point-of-view. Because of split, the focus in this novel is mostly on small group of the many familiar characters while there are characters, minor secondary voices that come forward for single chapters.
The final outcome is a story that drags more than any of the previous novels. The pace is way off with pages and pages of exposition that explains the politics of what is happening. While I can understand why this is occasionally necessary but so much of this book is taken up with these things that I felt like Martin split the stories in the wrong way.
Then there’s the ludicrous sex scene which has only one redeeming quality in that it is not gratuitous. I could change the names of the characters and share this stupid scene with anyone and they would be able to tell that it is written by a man for a male audience. If it had also been gratuitous, I would have had no problem with disliking this book cover-to-cover. The only story lines that don’t drag and aren’t overly redundant are too few and far between. The paths of some more characters begin to cross. Yay! Not for long or long enough, anyway.
And the cliff-hanger endings for some of the characters annoys me regardless of who is doing the writing. I realize that the first and second novels definitely leave wonderful narrative threads dangling. I don’t know if this time it offended more because I didn’t enjoy much of what preceded the final chapters or if they were particularly heinous this time around.
For all that I find it somewhat irksome to see how the television series drops some seemingly significant storylines, I honestly think that the show will do better with this book than Martin did. They couldn’t do much worse because they still have some of the most interesting, some for being likable and others for being despicable, characters. I hope that the fifth book is better but my expectations have been severely lowered.