Evil Monkey Revisits George R.R. Martin’s A Feast for Crows

Jeff:
You’ve re-read A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4)by George R.R. Martin, too, haven’t you?

Evil Monkey:
Yes. No way am I scaling the mountain that is A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Fivewithout reminding my brain of prior context.

Jeff:
What did ya think?

Evil Monkey:
What did you think?

Jeff:
On count of three, we both shout out what we thought…One…Two…Three!

Jeff/Evil Monkey (simultaneously):
CORPSEY CORPSEY STABBY BLEAK STABBY CORPSEY GROSS HORRIFYING CORPSEY CORPSEY

Jeff:
Hmmm. What’re the odds of that?

Evil Monkey:
Let’s face it, it was both full of stabbyness and corpses.

Jeff:
What about the source of those hangings?

Evil Monkey:
Oh. My Gawd!

Jeff:
I know, right!

Evil Monkey:
And that fight by the sea, on the cliff!

Jeff:
Oh. My God. And what happens to the queen?!

Evil Monkey:
Oh my god! I know! And those ironborn extra-drowned guys!

Jeff:
And Stark’s stabby daughter!

Evil Monkey:
You can see she’s gonna bring a world of hurt down on somebody soon.

Jeff:
I know, right?! Wow.

Evil Monkey:
So…did you like it?

Jeff:
Did you like it?

Evil Monkey:
I soooo liked it.

Jeff:
Me, too. I thought it was great.

Evil Monkey:
And the first time I read it I thought it was a big stinking pile of monkey feces.

Jeff:
Me, too. It smelled just like you.

Evil Monkey:
No, it smelled like you.

Jeff:
Well, it smelled.

Evil Monkey:
What changed?

Jeff:
I dunno about you, but I read those first three books in like two weeks. I lost so much sleep reading those books it was like I was on crack. I couldn’t stop reading them, and then I’d stop reading them because I didn’t want them to end. But I got to them late, so Feast came out about six months after I finished the first three…and I wanted Tyrion and the dragon queen and all of those characters…and they weren’t in there.

Evil Monkey:
And now you didn’t want them?

Jeff:
Honestly, I had to consult Wikipedia to remember everything that had happened, so encountering Feast unmoored from my expectation of needing Tyrion in there, I thought it was pretty darn awesome. I now disagree with the haters. the writing is first-rate and the anti-quests along with the state of things for the queen and her son…nicely done. And those ironborn are bad-asses.

Evil Monkey:
They sure are. I’m hoping that daughter-heir kicks all their butts, though.

Jeff:
Me, too.

Evil Monkey:
I just about ran out of the room screaming when [redacted] returned. OMG.

Jeff:
I know! I don’t know if people realize how much this series depends on horror, and a working knowledge of horror tropes.

Evil Monkey:
Yeah, grim grim grim.

Jeff:
Yup. Grim crack you can’t stop scarfing down. This is like caviar for pessimists.

Evil Monkey:
Aye, it is. Coulda done without the Sam parts, though.

Jeff:
Always gotta end on a downer, don’t you, dipweed?

Comments

  1. Steve says

    Well, I still need to finish Feast For Crows, but at the time I attempted to read it, I thought it was terrible. Yes, I also hated that all my favorite characters weren’t in it, but it also didn’t seem to be moving the plot(s) forward at all. I made it about half way through before putting it down in frustration. Now that book five is out I’m going to go back to four; hopefully I enjoy it more this time round. I’m beginning to worry that Martin is pulling a Robert Jordan with this series.

  2. says

    I wouldn’t call it pulp fiction, Damien. It’s more sophisticated than that. It deals with weighty themes and important decisions and there’s not particularly much soap opera or potboiler to it. We also have to remember Martin’s background in very sophisticated horror fiction, among other forms. I don’t think he’s given enough credit for his writing at the sentence level. It is *very* hard to continually express oneself in fiction in clear fashion when juggling so many characters, or even to continue to adhere to strong, strong verbs throughout. I don’t know many who can do that in genre.

  3. Toddo says

    Glad to see someone recognizing how deeply horror is powering the engine of this epic. I enjoyed the fourth book. Sure, it was frustrating at times. The problem comes from being spoiled with Storm of Swords: there were thousands of pages of build up behind that book, and the entire thing was one exploding climax after another. And a fucking brilliant ending that I KNOW made Stephen King smile. All the chess pieces were knocked over. Book four feels like the pieces are being all being put back in place—the train is climbing back up.

    Another thing is, when you have books this long and things slow a little bit, psychologically, it can be harder to deal with as we are investing a lot of time into them.

    But yes, the clarity of his writing is great. It’s something that seems like he’s always had judging by his earlier novels and short fiction.

  4. says

    I’ve always felt Feast was underrated. Yes, I missed Tyrion and Dany and Jon, but Arya alone could’ve made this book amazing; not to mention Jaime’s chapters, and the Queen’s. It was also nice to see some growth from Sansa as she sort of starts to realize fairytales are just fairytales. As you mentioned, the ironborn are fantastic in this too. My only real complaint, and it’s kind of a geeky one, is the use of the word “grote” smattered throughout. If I recall correctly, that particular form of tender wasn’t mentioned in the previous three books and, here, it felt like I was reading about grotes every other page, twice or three times per page. I still don’t even know how much it’s worth, compared to gold or silver or whatever!

  5. says

    Guess what? I haven’t read Feast yet. I had the chance to read a few reviews first and I knew it was only half the book I hoped for (I’m all for Tyrion too), so I put it aside (remember that GRRM said initially Dance was going to be out in like a year or something?). And waited and waited… Until along came the HBO series (which I love) and the time for a thorough reread of all that came before Dance. So now I’m almost finished with Game, proceeding at a pace which will make me finish Feast right by the time the good folks at Book Depository will have Dance deposited on my doorstep by an exhausted postman…

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