A Feast for Crows
A Feast for Crows, which is the fourth book in the series A Song of Ice and Fire, by American Author George R. R. Martin offers a slight deviation from his three previous novels. Because of the sheer size of the book, Martin chose to cut it into two parts. The result of which was A Feast for Crows being the first part and A Dance with Dragons(the book directly following it) acting as the second part. It was published by Bantam Spectra in the United States in November 8, 2005 and by Voyager Books on October 17 of the same year.
With the death of Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy, Renly Baratheon, and Joffrey Baratheon, only Stannis remains of the original participants in the War of the Five Kings. At this time, Jon Snow is the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and Tommen, the younger brother of Joffrey, sits on the Iron Throne following his brother’s demise.
What sets this novel apart from the ones prior is that it is told from the point of view of characters who were not much developed in the past installments. A large portion of the story is told through the eyes of Cersei Lannister as she is now Queen Regent of the Seven Kingdoms and is actually tasked with running it. It quickly becomes evident that for all her skill in creating plots to make sure she ends up in power, she is not as well prepared in handling it now that it is hers. A Feast for Crows chronicles how she spirals into destruction becoming more and more paranoid and frantic about ensuring that she keeps her new-found power. Eventually, she makes rash decisions, which lead to the breakdown of her alliance with the Tyrells and her eventual imprisonment for charges of adultery.
In the Iron Islands, the replacement for the deceased Balon Greyjoy is being decided. After much deliberation, the authority falls to Balon’s brother Euron Greyjoy due to his promise that he has the power to control dragons which he plans to use to control the whole of the Seven Kingdoms. He sends his brother, Victarion, East to seek out Daenerys Targaryen and woo her on his behalf hoping to gain access to her new-found dragons. As it turns out, House Greyjoy is, likewise not immune to betrayal as his brother has his own agenda in mind.
Of particular note in this book is the absence of fan favorites Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow. This has been one of the criticisms for this installment as the author’s skill in detailed characterization has resulted in a strong fan base for some of the more notable characters. While the abovementioned personas make a very limited, if at all any, appearance, the book manages to stand on its own and carry the ongoing saga from the perspective of unlikely individuals. On a more welcoming note, there is a significant development on the story of Arya Stark and how she manages to travel east and attempts to create a new life for herself knowing that her identity as Arya Stark would attract much unwanted attention. She continues her headstrong attitude and the connection with her lost Direwolf Nymeria through her dreams.