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If you thought the intrigue, scheming, and backstabbing was finished after A Storm of Swords, then you’ve been greatly mistaken. Of the five kings, four are dead. King Joffery Baratheon(or Lannister for those of you who want to be technically correct) has been murdered at his wedding feast. Balon Greyjoy dies in a freak accident, and Robb Stark is betrayed by his own bannermen. Tywin Lannister died by Tyrion’s hand while Danaerys Targaryen consolidates her new found power. Jon Snow is now Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch backed by Stannis Baratheon, the last and weakest of the five kings. The chaos left behind by the various factions jockeying for power has greatly weakened Westeros and left it open to be A Feast For Crows. Pretty catchy title huh?
A Feast for Crows begins right where A Storm of Swords left off. Here you are introduced to several new characters while following only a few of the major characters. The focus of the story is almost solely centered on events within the continent of Westeros. I liked finally delving into the minds of characters like Cersei Lannister or Brienne of Tarth while keeping tabs on characters like Sam Tarly, Arya and Sansa Stark, and even Jaime Lannister .
Most of the events are seen through the eyes of very minor characters, so minor they don’t get a name. I suppose it makes sense since the powers they represent are planning within the shadows for their runs on the Iron Throne. It was disappointing not to see some of the other main characters like Tyrion, Bran, or Jon Snow. It seemed like much of what the minor characters were part of could be explained in the background of the major characters.
A lot of what happens in A Feast for Crows is about avenging the events of the last book. This is a world where honor and glory have long gone out the window as a few of the characters are done in by their own plots. Martin paints a world where it’s almost dangerous to be any force for good because the War of the Five Kings has so devastated the land. The story’s plot do a good job of creating a weak kingdom as forces from the Iron Islands and the realm of Dorne move in for conquest. Some of the events are confusing and provide a great deal of foreshadowing for what’s coming. Martin does a good job of clearing the confusing parts up later in the story through other references or with Littlefinger who seems to just sit by in the Vale and pull all the strings.
Honestly, I can’t wait to read A Dance With Dragons. To his credit, Martin included a note that he left out many of the major characters because the story was incredibly long already. While the shadow plots were nice, I would have preferred to stick with the movers and shakers. I admit that I came away the least excited from this story because so much of what happens is secondary. There are major developments, but the story doesn’t seem to move. However, the main characters have things happen that seem almost just to some and crap to others. Like Martin said, this is only half the story. Time for me to stop dancing around the subject.