A Feast for Crows (AFFC) is the fourth book in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. The series started with A Game of Thrones (AGOT). It was a fascinating read that pulled me into the world of Westeros pretty quickly. A Clash of Kings (ACOK) was a slog to get through. Seriously, it was painful at times. Then came A Storm of Swords (ASOS), my favorite book in the series so far. There was one surprise after another and the ending tied a lot of story lines together. If I were to rank the books in the series so far, ASOS and AGOT would come in as a close number one and two, ACOK would be a very distant fourth. AFFC would come in at number three. It is much better than ACOK but was a let down after ASOS.
The biggest let down is that several of my favorite characters are missing in action in AFOC. The Ice and Fire series is told from the points of view of multiple characters, with each chapter focusing on one character and his or her experiences at a time. My favorite characters include Arya, Tyrion, Jon, Samwell, and Bran. Tyrion, Jon, and Bran are completely awol this time around. Arya only has a few chapters. Samwell has five, but it wasn't enough. I even missed Daenerys and usually I find her chapters entertaining but too removed from the rest of the characters.
Instead of my favorite characters there were chapters from Cersei, Jamie, Brienne, and a handful of new and random characters. Cersei, the Queen Regent, is not at all sympathetic character but as the book went on it was interesting to see her thought process. I liked Jamie's chapters in ASOS and here in AFOC. In the first book the Lannisters, especially twins Cersei and Jamie seemed inseparable and intent on increasing their power and wealth at any cost. By the end of ASOS and through AFFC, the roar of the Lannister lions is not quite the same as it once was. Brienne's chapters are repetitive: she's on a mission to find Sansa and is failing at it, repeatedly.
Overall, AFFC felt like being put on hold, like when I've been put on hold on the phone or am waiting in line somewhere. In the background on the phone or in the office there's music playing. Sometimes the music is awful, a bastard version of a once popular song or just some crap that makes me feel like my ears are being assaulted. Other times the music is pretty good and I find myself moving a tiny bit to the beat even though I might be in public. I'm still waiting but the music makes the wait more bearable. I might even temporarily forget that I'm being kept waiting. Martin was clearly laying the groundwork for something with AFFC. I knew I was being kept waiting, but the wait wasn't too bad.