A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire #4)
I downloaded the ebook from the public library's OverDrive service.
A Feast for Crows is a major shift from the previous book in the series, A Storm of Swords. The most obvious difference is that the story is told from the point of view of characters who mostly played only supporting roles before, while previous main characters either do not appear or show up on the sidelines. Readers of an epic series like this one should be used to cliffhangers and having to wait for the next piece of each character's story line, but this book may put even patient readers to the test.
Most of the action is grim and grinding, too; where the previous books were full of kingdom-sized movements and plays for power, A Feast for Crows is filled with cool calculation and micro-moves. Brienne is one of the few characters who is actually going anywhere most of the time, and even her quest starts to feel circular by halfway through the book. We do, however, get a much deeper and piercing look at Jaime and Cersei. The chapters from their perspectives are by far the strengths of this volume.
I wanted more Arya, more Jon, and more Tyrion. Martin explains in the afterword that he divided books #4 and #5 into two volumes by geography; the action of the next book will take place at the edges and beyond the Seven Kingdoms. I can only hope that that is where Tyrion went off to, as I don't care for Daenerys and she and Jon are the only significant characters than I can think of out there.
I do look forward to A Dance With Dragons and the remaining books in the series. Martin is a brilliant and remarkable writer, and from the Goodreads ratings, it seems that A Feast for Crows is the weakest volume of the series. Since it was still really good-- just not quite as exciting or surprising as its predecessors-- that still says a lot for this series.