A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
Published by Bantam on May 28th 2002
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire #2
Genres: Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction
Length: 761 pages Source: Amazon
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Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over an age of enforced peace are dead...victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.
As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky—a comet the color of blood and flame—six factions struggle for control of a divided land. Eddard's son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming courtiers who teem over King's Landing. Robert's two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers.
A Clash of Kings transports us into a magnificent, forgotten land of revelry and revenge, wizardry and wartime. It is a tale in which maidens cavort with madmen, brother plots against brother, and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside.
Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory may be measured in blood. And the spoils of victory may just go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel...and the coldest hearts. For when rulers clash, all of the land feels the tremors.
I get latched on to all the wrong characters.
A Clash of Kings saw the removal of Eddard Stark (obviously) from the character narratives, and much of the focus turns to the place of fighting. We see the addition of Theon Greyjoy, who I decidedly don’t care about, and of another man in Stannis’ care who obviously I also didn’t like because I cannot be bothered to conjure his name. Here, Martin splits the reader to watch the real battle, instead of the individual characters. As a character writer, this is less to my taste. We see nearly nothing of Robb, Little of Arya and Bran, but a good taste of Tyrion (who strangely, I like) and Catelyn… and of Greyjoy. The characters remain consistent and well-written… the way a person views the chapters, I think, is based less on the writing of them and more to the fact or whether or not you like the character as a person.
You know Martin has big plans for Dany, because he isn’t dropping her, but she still feels so far away from the action, I found that reading her chapters were frustrating because of the distance of the “important” plot.
I have a difficult time reviewing this book because all I want to do is compare it to the first one (which I LOVED). It’s also difficult because there is so much to it. It’s actually overwhelming at times trying to keep everything straight – sometimes you need to go back and flip to the last section narrated by that character to review. I liked it, but I didn’t at the same time. That’s why it gets three stars.
Martin undoubtedly succeeded in one thing, however. I want to know what happens next. So I will be reading the next book.