George R.R. Martin,
A Feast for Crows
(Spectra, 2005)

This is the fourth book of George R.R. Martin's Fire & Ice series, and continues our watch on the brutal evolution of the Seven Kingdoms toward becoming one (that's my theory on how this will end).

Hmmm, do I start with the good, the bad or the ugly?

The good: Martin has maintained the writing quality, plot complexity and character depth that marked the earlier books in the series. The characters are not only three-dimensional, but are evolving. While Cersei spirals into a web of her own deceits, Jaime is emerging as a likely hero. Sam is shedding some of his cowardice. We learn much about previously-neglected pieces of Westeros (Dorne and Oldtown). Ironically, I would put in the "good" column the loss of the noblest character in the entire ensemble cast, as the death was done tactfully and in a spirit befitting the character. I cannot wait for A Dance of Dragons.

The bad: Not only did Martin take too long to get this book out, but he split it, and he split it wrong. I know that he explains, in the afterword and on his website, that the book had to be split, but I am unconvinced. Who says a 1,500-page book is too long? Some editions of The Count of Monte Cristo and Anthony Adverse are that long. Perhaps, the publisher wanted two books? Or, they feared losing their readership? Anyway, it if HAD to be split, then it should have been done chronologically, instead of by characters. I feel like I'm listening to stereo music with one speaker dead. Half the cast, and the more important half, in my opinion, are left for the next book. No Daenerys, no Jon Snow, no Stannis, no Davos, no Bran. I cannot wait for A Dance of Dragons.

The ugly: They left out the Imp, too. Tyrion is one of the most interesting characters I have ever encountered. I cannot wait for A Dance of Dragons.

I am glad I have the book. I am also frustrated. Martin said the next book might be out in 2006, but that didn't happen. I hope that he is right, but it will be closer to 2008, given his recent record.

by Chris McCallister
27 January 2007

Buy it from