My main read over the holiday break was “A Feast for Crows” by George R. R. Martin.
Do you like to read fantasy? Have you read George R. R. Martin’s previous books in his series known as A Song of Ice and Fire? If you haven’t, do yourself a favor, stop reading this, find a copy of “A Game of Thrones” and read it from cover to cover. Do the same with “A Clash of Kings” and then “A Storm of Swords.”
This series is simply the best fantasy to be published in a long time. I am not a Jordan fan. I read the first book in the Wheel of Time series. It was good but I was concerned about how long it was going to be (he claimed he would need 10 books very early in the series) and decided to wait until more had been published. I was glad I did since many fans I’ve talked to readily admit there is little plot progression in the later books. And it’s more than 10 volumes now. I had high hopes after reading “Wizard’s First Rule” by Terry Goodkind. Great book but the subsequent novels were a rehash of the same story. I stopped after the third novel.
This series is different. It’s gritty. There are a lot of characters and Martin does a tremendous amount of character development in these books. Instead of getting to know 1, 2 or 3 characters really well, you end up with a deep understanding for easily more than 15 significant characters. Even better, Martin does not shy away from killing off characters you’ve come to love. Like I said, it’s gritty.
If you are familiar with the series, you know that the first 3 books are all about action — the king dies, war breaks out, lots of characters end up dead. By the end of the 3rd book, the war is winding down but the new king’s rule is quite fragile. We also know that a descendent from the rulers kicked out about 15-20 years prior is gathering power on a different continent and some hints that an ancient evil/power is awakening in the north.
Feast doesn’t have nearly the action of the previous books. This book is about intrigue and deception, futile searches and new threats to the embattled rulers of Westeros. It focuses primarily on events occuring in the central (riverlands, King’s Landing, Pike) and southern (Dorne) parts of Westeros. Events unfolding in the north, particularly the Wall, and on the eastern continent are mostly hinted at and will be covered the next book, “A Dance with Dragons.” Arya, Sansa, Jaime, Cersei, Samwell and Brienne are the major characters and stories covered in this volume. Their stories are very different but some of them cross paths along the way. There are also a few new characters, surprises and plot twists to enjoy.
Although it has a considerably different feel to it than its predecessors, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Feast and its companion, “Dance with Dragons,” will be the bridge between the first part of the series (chaos ensues) and the conclusion (some final confrontation and likely not everyone will live happily ever after :).
What are you waiting for? Stop reading that drivel by Jordan and go pick up a copy of this. It’s good!
Up next: “The Briar King” by Greg Keyes