Tuesday, December 9, 2008

'A Song of Ice and Fire', part four 'A Feast For Crows' by George R.R. Martin

As an aged, experienced and incurable reader, I buy books in great numbers. Sometimes I will buy a book that I have already read and I know that this is a title I want to have in my library forever to re-read it any time I want to. Most of the time, like many other readers, I buy books based on opinions of others or reviews I read or even just a brief synopsis of what the book is about, usually written at the back cover. During my bright career in a mighty bookstore as a ….inventory supervisor (hmmm) I would buy books that were being bought by customers most often. I also would buy an unreasonable amount of them then. One of the titles that caught my attention was a fantasy series ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ by George R.R. Martin. It comprised four books and yesterday I finally finished book number four: ‘A Feast For Crows’ and I will not be buying an upcoming part five.
I struggled with writing this review for the whole time while I was reading ‘A Feast For Crows’. I wanted to write an ok review simply because it is a part of a true epic and any writer who is capable of writing nearly four thousand pages without boring the reader to death deserves to have some praises written about them. Mr. Martin did manage to write a true epic and I know that he has hundreds of thousands of fans. One has to have one heck of an imagination to create all the complicated characters, all plots of revenge, raging wars and keep track of it all.
However, ‘A Feast For Crows’ made me immensely upset and frustrated. I really wanted to like it, I love reading fantasy, it is a genre I have read since my teenage years and I had hoped this book to be what I expect a fantasy fiction to be. I wanted hardcore magic (both black and white), supernatural beings and animals with great powers. I found only small instances of feeble magic, there was a mention of sinister supernatural beings that were threatening to overtake and destroy the human population and of big vicious direwolfs. But all that never really came to fruition, I thought that after reading the three previous books I would finally be rewarded for my patience in the fourth one and see these characters play a major role but I was disappointed. All I got was more killings, more fighting and some scheming. A lot of times I felt I was reading some poor replica of Bible’s ‘Exodus’ with descriptions of clans, this man was a son of that one and a cousin of another one and great-great-grandson of this one and married to the girl that came from yet another family of highborns, etc. I skipped many pages because of that, I didn’t see the point in reading something I couldn’t keep track of anyway.
All and all, even though there are supposed to be two more parts to this series I will not be buying them. And going back to the reasons for buying new books I mentioned at the beginning, maybe reading the praises at the back covers simply that convinced me to buy this one in the first place also created great expectations towards the series. One of them praised Mr. Martin as an American Tolkien and believe me Tolkien he is not.