ASOIAF: Up to and Including Feast For Crows

Okay, so I try to keep my geek tendencies away from this site, but then I decided I wanted to write something about books that I read and I wondered where that kind of blog would be better placed.

On the one hand, everything geek is elsewhere, but this blog is about my poetry, my writing, my photography –> my creativity. Surely reading is an extension of my creativity. Either because it inspires creativity or just helps me hone my own craft.

For all that I say that I love television, science fiction, space, etc, etc I also always declared that I would never touch fantasy. I’m not too sure why. Most people can see from my holiday destinations and the images I post onto here – I enjoy history, but not just any history – ancient, almost mythical history. Surely someone who reads all about the Ancient Gods of Egypt, Greece and Rome isn’t that far from enjoying fantasy?

As with most things in my life, I’m not nearly as intellectual as I could be and my current obsession with a certain fantasy book series has nothing to do with some desire to broaden my reading selection, or to enjoy an amazing, celebrated author. No, it all began, as most things in my life, from a TV show. Earlier this year the show “Game of Thrones” came to my attention and by episode 9 of 10, I was hooked and desperate to read the novels. I fell in love with Harry Potter from the films and after reading the books, was hooked fully on the amazing world JK Rowling had created to the usual result of preferring the books to the films.

Game of Thrones was different. Following in the magical realm as Potter, Game of Thrones was something so completely different for me. For one, the world is so completely far removed from anything in any book or show that I have experienced before and the characters are rich, diverse and sometimes unique, sometimes the girl next door. Despite all of the alien based media I have consumed in my life, there’s something about these fantastical people that is so far removed from Earth, but also so definitely human.

So I devoured the first book, and didn’t actually love it.

It was alright.

It was okay.

It suffered from the fact that the show is so truthful to the book that, having watched the show first, the book was just a novelisation of the first season and I’ve never gotten on well with novelisations. To be fair to it, that’s completely my fault and it could well deserve a re-reading when I wasn’t on a deadline of the final episode!

Book two started a bit slow for me, perhaps I was in the mood of “well, this will be better on screen.” But somewhere in the middle of it, I was hooked and finished it quickly before starting the first half of book three.

That’s where I reached a real sticking point. I did the unforgiveable and discovered spoilers for the rest of book 3, 4 and 5 and started dreading reading further. Anyone who’s read the books will know the moment I mean. I knew it was coming and I didn’t want to get there. It was a real struggle, where my desperation at wanting to know what happened to some characters when I already knew the fate of others was so difficult. But then, by persevering, I got over that bump and finished the slow first half of book 3.

I think the problem with book 3 is, over here in paperback, it’s split into two, where most of the action is in the second half. Maybe it’s still a drawback to the full version book because it’s a hefty, long old read. Perhaps it was simply the fact that I had found out things and until I got past that point, it dragged. I can’t be objective on that.

Books 3.5 and then 4 were both stunningly amazing. By book four, there’s a wealth of new characters added to the chapter “voices” that the fourth book actually barely focuses on any of the original line up. Some of them have been in the series since book one, others are brand spanking new and I have to admit that for however much of the book I was waiting for Character X, Y or Z to get some page time.

At the end of the book George RR Martin explains that the fifth book will follow the missing characters and, according to some who’ve read the book, they didn’t enjoy the 4th one as all of their favourite characters were missing.

None of my favourite characters were there, although there is one character that’s certainly growing on me and has some of the most jaw dropping moments, for me (although the end of book three had a massive jaw dropping moment that had my husband questioning me from beside the pool). Despite my hoping and waiting for the un-used characters, my personal most loved, I quickly realised that I was over half way through the book with still no word. Then I was on the last few chapters so even though I missed my favourites, the strong characters, plot and intense storyline carried me through without those favourites.

If you’ve watched the show and are considering reading the books, do it! If you do find the first book tough because you’ve “seen it”, stick with it because the books are so rich and fantastic, you won’t regret it.

I for one, cannot wait for Christmas when (fingers crossed) someone will buy me book 5 and I also can’t wait for when season two starts airing.

Roll on Christmas!

~ Persephone M

  1. I devoured the first three this spring. They pulled me in and wouldn’t let me go, but I know exactly what you’re talking about in referring to the bad things that happen to good characters. Martin’s protagonists certainly don’t get a free pass and a happy ending. I had to slog through A Feast For Crows though and it killed my momentum in the series. I haven’t even taken the time to look up A Dance With Dragons yet. Knowing that I’m going to see more of my favorite characters bodes well for it, but I’m just crossing my fingers that the excitement builds again before the series’ conclusion (and that we don’t have to wait another ten years for book six). I love hearing from another fan!

    • I think part of what’s putting me off ADWD is that we have no real idea when the next book would come along! It’s so frustrating. Others had problems getting through Feast, but I found it refreshing. I constantly worry about all my favourites! I think it’s the most fascinating “universe” I’ve ever read/seen. And, yes, very good hearing from another fan!

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