A Feast for Crows
The Lannisters are in power on the Iron Throne.
The war in the Seven Kingdoms has burned itself out, but in its bitter aftermath new conflicts spark to life. The Martells of Dorne and the Starks of Winterfell seek vengeance for their dead. Euron Crow's Eye, as black a pirate as ever raised a sail, returns from the smoking ruins of Valyria to claim the Iron Isles.
From the icy north, where Others threaten the Wall, apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly brings a mysterious babe in arms to the Citadel. As plots, intrigue and battle threaten to engulf Westeros, victory will go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel and the coldest hearts.
Reviewed on 18th January 2014
The fourth book of A Song of Ice and Fire is set almost entirely in the south of Westeros, with the promise that the fifth book will cover simultaneous events in the rest of the series' world. This meant that it's focus is mainly on characters that were far from my favourites from the first three novels, and certainly at first and into the middle of the book I found this detracted from my enjoyment.
The plot is less action-packed and seems to focus more on distinct scenes that develop the characters and politics, as those who have power make attempts to solidify their grip on the people and lands they rule. After the first half I stopped reading for about two weeks, and was surprised when I picked the book back up that I'd started to fall for some of the characters I hadn't loved before.
The usual twists and turns fill Martin's narrative, and he manages to surprise and entertain easily with a world that's remarkably deep and realistic. It's really interesting to read a series that is truly based around an ensemble cast and not the typical chosen-one on a quest trope that appears again and again in fantasy novels.