Editor’s note: Sorry for being MIA these past few weeks. NaNoWriMo has stolen all of my free time. Also, I should have posted this “review” a few months ago, but a las I did not. Anyway, here’s your next installment of “Carolyn reads Game of Thrones.”
So I probably should have written about A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons while I was reading them, but I didn’t. Oops.
I could barely stop reading the books, never mind form a coherent thought about it. However, here I am. Almost two week after finishing A Dance with Dragons and over a month since finishing A Feast for Crows, and I have one thought: I almost wish I wasn’t caught up with the books.
Honestly, I have NO idea how the people who have been reading the series since the beginning have coped. Do you all attend group meetings? Do you mourn each Game of Thrones-less year together? Do you pray to George R. R. Martin’s author photo each night?
It’s bad enough waiting months (fingers crossed) for The Winds of Winter, but for the people who have waited years (decades even), I give you so much credit.
I suppose I’ll start where everyone starts when they review these two books. For those of your who don’t know, these books (particularly A Feast for Crows) caused a bit of a controversy when they were published (and, quite frankly, to this very day). The two books run chronologically parallel (for the most part), but feature the perspectives of a different set of characters.
In other words, the books occur at the same time (save for the last quarter of A Dance with Dragons, which extends past the fourth book’s timeline). And A Feast for Crows features none of the fan favorites like Tyrion, Jon, or Daenyres–which caused people to sort of despise the book. Well, that and the fact that they said it was “boring” and “slow” following the whirlwind that was A Storm of Swords.
But I gotta say, I absolutely LOVED A Feast for Crows. The world of Westeros and beyond (and beyond-beyond) simultaneously became larger and smaller. We were introduced (truly introduced) to more families, armies, and lands. We learned secrets and saw betrayals and unknowingly watched important plot points be woven together.
So the character perspectives we get in AFFC include: Pate (poor Pate), Cersei, Jaime, Brienne, Sansa, Ayra, Samwell Tarly, Aeron Greyjoy, Asha Greyjoy, Victarion Greyjoy, Areo Hotah, Arys Oakheart, and Arienne Martell.
Maybe I’m just sick of the core three characters, but it was really refreshing to get new perspectives. Yes, I liked some chapters more than other (Arienne! Asha! Brienne! <3) and disliked other (Aeron and Victorian and Arys !!). Mostly, I loved hearing about Dorne and the Sand Snakes. There’s something wonderful about women who are so strong that they have to be locked in a tower to be stopped from starting a war avenging their father’s death. Frankly, I want a book solely about them. (It’s a shame the show won’t be exploring Arienne’s character in the way it deserves to be explored).
Other things we discover in A Feast for Crows:
– King’s Landing is in shambles. The crown is drowning in debt; the stink of Tywin’s decomposing body is assaulting everyone; and Cersei is strictly making terrible, horrible, awful decisions concerning herself and her kingdom.
– Samwell, Master Aemon, and Gilly go on a mission that leads to all sorts of deaths, revelations, and adventures in (and around) Braavos.
– Also in Braavos, Arya finds herself now named “Cat of the Canals” and an apprentice of the House of Black and White, the temple of the Many-Faced God.
– Brienne finds herself on a mission to find Lady Sansa with her companion, Podrick Payne. She encounters many familiar and unfriendly faces including the Brave Companions. As well as Biter and Lady Stoneheart. Her cliffhanger is almost painful.
And if George R. R. Martin can keep us waiting for years between books, I’ll let you wait a bit for Part 2 of my Game of Thrones pseduo-review.