A Feast for Crows
Book 4 in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice & Fire

     


Published by:

ISBN: none
Edition size: 448 numbered52 lettered
MSRP: $275.00$390.00

Awful Books is proud to present its second guest reviewer, Kenneth Kleist, who recently purchased both the numbered and lettered editions of A Feast for Crows. I won't go into the sordid history of Subterranean Press and this site, but will admit to this - several of the complaints those of us had for A Storm of Swords were addressed and remedied for A Feast for Crows. I still personally believe that many of the design changes from the Meisha Merlin editions should not've been made, but then again, I no longer have to worry about such things. ;)

Take it away, Kenneth!


How is the Lettered edition different from the Numbered?

 

PROS CONS
  • Tom Canty sketch chapbook (for those that paid early).
  • Lots of black and white interior illustrations (SubPress estimates about 70 or so). These include chapter headings/tails, full-page illustrations, and other random locations.
  • A unique dustjacket illustration for each volume.
  • While we didn’t get the Tom Canty map for the endpapers, we did get colored/textured endpapers. These are pretty neat, patterned with crows drawn by Canty.
  • Typical high quality features expected from small publishers like hand-sewn binding, heavier paper stock, acid-free paper.
  • In aggregate, both volumes and the slipcase weigh nearly five pounds. I’d say SubPress made it over the minimum acceptable page count hurdle.
  • The slipcase is a vast improvement over that of A Storm of Swords. For the numbered edition, the reddish single color stamping looks great offset against the black slipcase. For the lettered, the green and reddish stamping on the grey slipcase look phenomenal. I’ve heard people complain that the beauty of the FEAST slipcase makes the STORM slipcase even homelier sitting side by side in your bookcase. Would you have preferred that they produce a plain slipcase to match it? If Martin finishes the series in seven books (fingers crossed), five will have been produced by SubPress; four will have nice matching slipcases.
  • The remarque! Mine is perfect - I wouldn’t change a thing. It is so well integrated that I almost didn’t recognize it as having been penciled in. I am not an artist, but even I can tell that this must have taken some serious thought and effort. A+
  • There was a possibility that Canty would turn in original maps for the endpapers. This would have been really cool, but it didn’t happen. However, it’s hard to put the entire blame on Subterranean Press’ shoulders knowing that they had a heck of a time getting Canty to turn in any of the artwork.
  • No gilding. From what I’ve seen from SubPress, gilding isn’t their thing. That’s unfortunate; a book that looks like it’s made of gold makes this collector feel better about how much gold he spent on it! I have no idea the difficulties or costs associated with gilding, but I am sure having two volumes doesn’t help.
  • The limitation only appears in the first volume. Certainly not the end of the world, but it seems wrong that the second volume of a particular letter or number could be swapped with someone else’s. Maybe instead of duplicating the limitation page SubPress could simply have a page in the second volume that reiterated the letter or number.
  • No traycase. Would have been cool, but there are many reasons it did not happen, one of them being the author’s wish to omit it. Again, hard to fault SubPress. I know a lot of people who own both the Meisha Merlin and SubPress limiteds are dissatisfied with the fact that they look drastically different. While I think this is a legitimate gripe, it’s probably not fair to charge SubPress with the same crime twice.

OVERALL

Had there been gilding or original maps for the endpapers this would have been a no-brainer for a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED grade. As it stands, this book is still a wonderful example of what can be done by a capable small press. Sure, we didn’t get the maps on the endpapers or the traycase. But, we know why we didn’t get them and the explanations are sufficient. I still think the book is well worth the $390 asking price. I’m going to give it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, though not quite as high as it could have been.


The following image is a compilation of the sample drawings done by Tom Canty in preparation for the book's release. I thought it would be handy to be able to just click on one image instead of 11 different ones.

(Click for full size pic [opens in a new browser window].)

Oh, you thought we forgot about the pictures? Take a gander at these, all courtesy of Kenneth.

- N U M B E R E D   &   L E T T E R E D -

Both lettered volumes nestled into the slipcase. It’s a tight fit – so tight that I do not feel comfortable putting DJ covers on them.

The binding. Books with clean pages make me happy.

The lettered and numbered slipcases side by side.

The (lettered) slipcase interior.

Front DJ covers of volume 1 and volume 2.

Rear DJ covers of volume 1 and volume 2.

Foil stamping on the front board of volume 1.

Spines.

Foil stamping on volume 2 of the lettered.

A close-up of the stamping design.

The colored/textured paste down and FEP (front endpaper). The crows were illustrated by Canty.

The limitation page of the numbered edition.

The upgraded (i.e., remarqued) limitation page of the lettered. That castle was penciled in by hand and there is no other like it. Each remarque is unique to the letter.

A close up of the remarque.

Pages 140 & 141 of volume 1, which contains a small vignette.

Another angle of the previous shot.

Volume 1, page 181 - an example of a vignette with the text poured around it.

Volume 1, page 193 - another vignette with text wraparound example.

Volume 1, Page 269 - a vignette boxed and placed at the bottom of the page.

Volume 2 - a full color plate fold-out, unique to the lettered edition.

Volume 2, page 160 - and you thought we were done with the vignettes.

Volume 2, page 209 - a basic text page.

Another shot of volume 2, page 209.

Volume 2, page 257 which sports a full color plate. These appeared in both the lettered and numbered.

A close up of the same full color plate.

The chap/sketchbook. An interesting cover, to say the least.

An example of the contents of the sketchbook. These are really light, but then so is Canty’s pencil.