What did you think of A Feast for Crows?
Posted 25 November 2005 - 04:55 AM
Posted 25 November 2005 - 10:35 PM
People should think of AFFC and ADWD as one book so really we just read half a book and the second is coming our way late 2006-early 2007. Then you can rate the book. seperately you might not them but together you might think both books collectively are as great as ASOS.
Posted 25 November 2005 - 11:39 PM
Overall, I thought it was a good book. Very excited to see what we can piece together about Dany and the East from what we hear in this book, and more details about new characters and how they fit with the old.
Posted 26 November 2005 - 12:02 AM
I loved it! But then, I think I have always liked the political intrigues and the very realistic (especially for fantasy novels!) depiction of civil war and how society is changed by that in Martin's work more than the more conventional fantasy tropes like the bastard boy risen high (Jon) or the unearthly beautiful princess who is going to come save the day with her dragons (Dany) even though I love both Jon and Dany. I think it's almost completely obvious that the Others are going to be defeated by Dany's return to Westeros with the dragons, so I'm much more interested in who's going to be around to greet her when she gets there.
Plus, as a fairly unabashed lover of Jaime Lannister, this book was an utter treat, because there was so much of him in it. Other favorite bits were Arya/Braavos in general, and Brienne, who's become maybe my second-favorite character in the book. And the wonderful black comedy of Cersei's regency merits a mention as well. The only parts that I felt were weaker just in terms of sheer interest in the characters were Dorne and the Iron Islands, even though I liked the depictions of the societies there a lot.
Posted 26 November 2005 - 12:21 AM
That said I think that AFFC is likely to prove to be an important pivot point (probably in combination with ADWD) and that when the end finally (and much to our dismay arrives) we will look back and treasure AFFC. So in short I loved it . . . we shall see how the impending reread alters my perception of the book.
Posted 26 November 2005 - 09:58 AM
as for characters, it was somewhere in affc that jaime has become my favorite. i think it is brienne and her chapters that slow it down a bit. they're the only reason i like it less than the other three books.
the other thing that worried me is that we didn't cover the five year gap at all. i was expecting this book to more than cover the five years, but after like 100-200 pages, all we'd done is cover the week after asos ended. was he entire book over a year?
Posted 26 November 2005 - 10:37 AM
Baelor, the five-year gap is history; Martin said one of the reasons AFfC took so long was that he'd kind of clung to the idea of the five-year gap and wrote a lot using that for about a year and then decided it didn't work at all. I think the entire book probably took at least five-six months just thinking about how long the voyage from the Wall to Oldtown might have taken (especially considering Maester Aemon's sickness and death), but ADwD will be sort of contemporaneous, just involving different people. IOW, I expect we'll flash BACK to the immediate aftermath of ASoS to see, say, Tyrion's escape.
Posted 26 November 2005 - 04:31 PM
My biggest gripe is the extremely short narrative arc. I felt like we spent hundreds of pages waiting for Arys to buy the farm - the whole Dorne plot felt highly disjointed. That, and I'm not a Brienne fan at all.
Also, I was really irritated by the titles of the POVs. They felt contrived, and I liked it better when he just used names. Not a major point, but still, it was a constant irritant.
Posted 26 November 2005 - 05:45 PM
But first! it's the reread and picking apart every bit of Feast and looking for all the little nuggets of information I might have missed on the first time through. I'm really looking forward to this. Maybe after I'll be ready for another reread of the entire series! heh :D
Posted 26 November 2005 - 09:19 PM
i guess i was expecting huge time gaps between chapters so that by the end of affc/adwd, it would have been 5 yeras since asos, which it isnt
Posted 27 November 2005 - 01:45 AM
When people talk about the narrative not going anywhere, I think back to our Game of Thrones days. There were our primary turning points which set up the rest of the book, but there was also relatively few of these. I'm not saying they weren't the most important we have since encountered...because they set up the rest of the story, but for most of the book...the status quo was basically in place. It was only with Roberts death that stuff really started happening.
What we saw there was the fleshing out of the universe, explaining character motives, letting us get to know and love (or at least know) these characters and trying to figure out where the story is going to go from this blueprint.
In essence I feel this is also what we got from A Feast For Crows. That's also why I am loving and devouring every page of it. I feel that with these political, geographic, and character blueprints in place, the final chapters of A Song of Ice and Fire can be written (of course baring the setup we will presumably get in the first half of A Dance With Dragons).
One of the most common objections is the fact that Brienne's chapters are boring. On a character level, yes, I would agree. But what she sees, what she experiences, and the decisions she makes are incredibly important to where this story is going in the future. Although she is a very complex character with a mission, part of her purpose is to be a set of eyes so we can see the effect of war on Westeros. To see what lordly wars do to the peasants. To see how religion is beginning to fill a power void left by war. To show us that when we think about our favorite characters, the Tyrions, the Eddards, The Jaimes, we must always keep in the back of our minds how many innocent lives were lost. How many women were raped. How many ordinary man were transformed into monsters because of the squabblings and power plays of these lords and kings we have come to respect. These books are telling a story, yes, but I also believe there is a certain amount of social commentary that is necessary for something to truly be considered a work of art. There is more to A Song of Ice and Fire than lords and castles and prophecies. These are supposed to be realistic people, living and dying, in a realistic world.
If one thing was missing from AFFC in my opinion, it was in character diversity. Not to say that our POV's weren't wildly diverse, but the problem was that 2 major chunks of the story weren't told. Tyrion is gone. Dany is gone. Jon is gone. These are MAJOR characters(also my three favorite), around whom, MAJOR plot points revolve. So if AFFC is missing something, it's characters. But we sort of knew that going in, and we'll get them later. So I can't complain.
I trust George, in that, he wouldnt have done this if it weren't more beneficial to the story, than say, splitting AFFC into 2 volumes. I believe that most of ADWD will be more of the same. More setup. More character development. More quests and journeys. More people seeing stuff, and not necessarily doing stuff. This all will change I believe as we get into the final chapters of that book and beyond.
Overall, I would rate AFFC just as high as all the other books. A lot of exposition, true. But without it, events that will take place later won't make any sense in context. George wants us to believe this world could be real. With AFFC, I believe he has achieved that tenfold. What we will be getting for the final books (as many as that may take) will be a wild ride, much of it thanks to what was set up in Feast.
phew....i wish my school papers would come out as easily as that. Happy Reading!
Posted 27 November 2005 - 03:01 AM
Posted 27 November 2005 - 03:53 AM
I found that the book really opened my eyes to the horrors of the war, particularly Brienne's chapters (obviously). It made me realise how bad things had really gotten. That was the big thing for me.
I was also fascinated by Cersei's descent to madness, and how quickly it happened.
And Blackfish, I'm not gonna quote you because it was a bit long, but what you said about Brienne's chapters was exactly how I felt. So often, and not just in fiction but also in non-fiction, history, you get information about what the "important" people thought and how they were affected, but you never get the stories of the peasants, the backbone of the kingdom. So it was fascinating to see this point of view.
Right, couple more hours and I'll kick off th re-read!
Posted 27 November 2005 - 12:22 PM
Agreed - it's one of the things I love the most about these books: how realistic this fantasy novel is at depicting the effects of war (and Martin doesn't flinch from showing us things like how the BwB has degenerated into an instrument of mindless revenge or that religious fanaticism can grow up in different ways - Stannis in ACoK and ASoS and the Seven and the new High Septon in this one - but also that sometimes religion IS a comforting thing - Septon Meribald is a lovely character). Arya fulfilled this role in ACoK and in ASoS - but she was a little girl and so her perspective was necessarily somewhat more limited than Brienne's perspective.
Very early on in the books, we're told that wolves, lions, dragons - it makes no difference to the smallfolk who just want to get along (and ironically, Aerys's reign is coming to seem like a lost golden age - although still MORE ironically, that's probably because it was Tywin's skill as Hand that ensured that things were relatively peaceful!) and Martin shows us that - and uses Brienne to tell us that even something as relatively benign and good as the BwB (justice for the smallfolk) can be corrupted by the corrosive influence of war and inhumanity (this is what Thoros tells Brienne, of course, and it's further symbolized by Lem taking on the helm last worn by Rorge.)
I think Brienne's chapters are more than this though - we have not had an adult character who is just sort of purely good and innocent in these novels (well, possibly Sam fits the bill, but he's not such an adult.) And for this alone, I hate AND love that she's faced with this terrible choice in the end - hate because I love Brienne and this choice just HURTS, and love because it's setting up such a grand tragedy for the future.
Posted 27 November 2005 - 12:44 PM
I just can't help but wonder if it was really a "descent" into madness or if she was already there. . . ;)
Posted 27 November 2005 - 01:33 PM
Posted 27 November 2005 - 02:09 PM
Heh! Well, I wouldn't say Cersei is "mad" the way that Aerys was - I think she's just completely given over to utter folly at this point and she's also incredibly short-sighted, traits that were tempered before by her father's iron fist. Now she has, as she thinks, absolute power and she's just completely gone wild with it. It was quite fascinating to watch.
Posted 27 November 2005 - 02:40 PM
1. Kings Landing POVs.
The intertwining of Cersei's and Jamie's narratives was masterly. The two PoVs played off of each other in such a way that made each better than they would have been by themselves. The writerly craftsmanship in those chapters and how they were composed, arranged and linked was something that only Martin pulls off well in the world of fantasy. The narrative really got you inside the heads' of the main characters and you could feel the poignant anger that suffuses Jaimie and the paranoia that steadily marches into Cersei's world view.
At first when I started with those chapters I kept telling myself, what the heck is the point. Where are we going with this? It felt like just another example of people behaving badly with no purpose. But with that final revelation of Doran Martell's it all came together. In both a good and bad way that ah-ha moment brought all of it together in a way that was most definetly intended by Martin. I'm not sure if I can forgive him for doing that, its almost corny in a certain way, but sometimes you have to use a blunt narrative instrument for effect.
I think Sam is the best written of the PoVs. His character is definetly getting fleshed out as he grows up. Sam's story isn't a classic bildungsroman, he certainly is not the child of prophecy, bringing on the salvation of the world, but he brings a humanity and imperfection which makes AFFC whole.
I started as a Sansa hater when I first ready AGOT, then I started to warm to her in the next two books. Now I'm just, "blech, whatever, I don't really care about her." I thought her chapters were pointless and could have been done in some other way. I can appreciate how she is growing up, but her situation never changes in the book, and thus her point of views felt like filler.
2. Chapter structure
There weren't as many nifty structure elements this time around other than the juxtaposition of Jaimie and Cersei. The addition of the Ironborn narratives certainly didnt help in my feeling. In fact their insertion often felt forced and it felt like they were never really part of the story. I can see that they will all be important later in subsequent books but it felt like we could have heard things about them second-hand rather than needing to see through the eyes of Victarion, Aeron and Asha. One wonders if things could have been different if Theon (a character I really could wrap my mind around) was used differently in the previous books.
It is hard to say if I liked her chapters or not. The cliffhanger was a cruel, cruel thing to leave behind. And the slow march she makes in the Riverlands and Trident are boring and feel almost pointless. The exposition we receive through Septon Meribold seems important along with how we see ordinary people and how they deal with the ongoing wars and their reprecussions is something relatively unique within the structure of a novel of lords, nobles and knights. I totally enjoyed her character though and to see her take up Dunk's shield left a warm glow in my heart.
She's in a holding pattern it seems and very few words are spent on her. Her cliffhanger wasn't as bad as Brienne's but still it did leave a, "gggrrrrr...." in my throat.
Posted 28 November 2005 - 01:19 AM
I found that a lot of the things that annoyed me first time round did not bother me at all . I enjoyed the exposition, the more claustrophobic feel to it. there were some poignant paasges and intriguing minor characters
and the aftermath of ar is very well depicted
oerall I enjoyed it... and want my ADWD now...please
Posted 28 November 2005 - 02:57 AM
Apart from that, I found AFFC to be a good read, but my least favourite. The main reason for this is the Cersei chapters. I feel that GRRM portrayed Cersei in a disappointingly unsubtle manner. She is truly a wholly unsympathetic character, and that in combination with her stupidity made her chapters rather boring. I haven't reread any of the Cersei chapters since my first read, though, so it will be interesting to see how this reread affects my view of her and her chapters.
If the mad queen's chapters were my least favourite, the Brienne chapters were the opposite. I'll say more when we get to them, but I enjoyed every moment. Sam, Arya and Sansa were also enjoyable to read about, while I have mixed feelings about the parts set in Dorne and the Iron islands, but that as well can wait until we get to those chapters.