A Feast For Crows: Book 4 of A Song of Ice and Fire; George R. R. Martin; epic fantasy, 753 pages
This book was less of an insanely massive beast than Storm of Swords, and a little slower to get going, and deals with a set of characters who aren't generally fan favorites, which is why I heard from so many people before I read this that this is the worst book in the series. HOWEVER! I enjoyed the pace, which felt like taking a break from all the bloody, earth-shaking slaughter of the previous book, and gave me an opportunity to explore some of the political nuance of areas of Martin's world that hadn't been fleshed out so thoroughly before.
Dorne! Exciting things happen there! I like these people! An interesting plotline that brought up some intriguing possibilities for later betrayals and alliances.
Jaime! Continuing his kind of miraculous character redemption arc! Secretly the best knight! Who Knew!
But! the most satisfying story in this book was the delicious, schadenfreudey, dramatic irony-laden Cersei plot, in which she (spoiler alert) manages to shoot herself in the foot in basically the best way possible. She just fails at everything, and it's wonderful because she's such a horrible person and you want her to fail so much, and while she's setting everything up for this epic failure she thinks she is succeeding brilliantly and there were points reading this where I had to just set the book aside for a minute and cackle madly at what I knew was to come.
I knew this (incredibly, hilariously satisfying) downfall was to come because Martin is not very subtle when it comes to these things. Or maybe it's just me! But in previous books he's set up big shocking moments with slow-building tension and it's been kind of frustrating when the reader can see what the characters can't. (see: Oh my god Ned you idiot stop trying to solve this incredibly foreshadowed mystery it is not going to do you any good/Oh hey everything about this party we're going to seems really crappy and no one wants to do it wand we all have bad feelings but LET'S GO ANYWAY WHAT COULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN)
In this book though, there was less yelling and more mad, deranged laughter. And I'm not going to apologize for enjoying this character's misfortune because let's face it Cersei is just awful in every way.
I am very definitely taking a break from this series before I start A Dance with Dragons, because that book is huge and I have too many other things to read. Yeesh!