A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
Published: 2011 Bantam Books Mass Market Edition (Copyright 1999)
Format/Source: Purchased Paperback Book
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire
Genre: Fantasy, Epic
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.
Before I start, I think it is important to note: I HAVE NEVER SEEN THE GAME OF THE THRONES TV SERIES. Shocking, right? I heard how great it was… I heard of the TV series first and that there was a book series it was based off of… I went for the books! Now that I am two books into the series, I do plan to start the TV series, but I am a little nervous because I have these images already in my head of each character, the way events were played out, etc. I guess I will soon see what the TV fuss is about!
To the book series: When I picked up the first book, A Game of Thrones, I could not put it down. I was hooked, just as many people said I would be. George R. R. Martin’s writing style reminded me of Ken Follet’s, one of my favorite writers. The books from both authors are lengthy, but goodness do you connect with the characters, the story line, and never want them to end. Following the first Martin book, I learned a new motto to follow while reading the series: Just assume everyone dies. Now, I know not EVERYONE dies (at least I hope that’s not the case) but for now, that is the way I am preparing myself for what is ahead.
On to A Clash of Kings … I finally had the opportunity to start this book during my winter break between graduate classes. I was ecstatic. I literally started the book the same day I finished my last final. As I read on, I was a little concerned because I felt the book started slow. The writing was good (of course) but the book did not progress as quickly as I anticipated. I was somewhat disappointed by the lack of immediate action following the first book. As the book continued, however, it picked up. One of my favorite aspects of this book was how Martin brought in new characters’ points of views, such as Theon’s. It was refreshing to follow both characters from the first book as well as a couple of new characters and their perspectives in the growing conflicts. On this note, however, again I was a little sad to see Daenerys have less of an influence in this particular book. The first book, the reader grows to love her. While we still love her in this book, there is less of her. I would have loved to have seen just a little more action concerning her. One final note is on the ending… the end was suspenseful for some characters, leaving me dying to start the third book (such as in Daenerys’ case). However, for others I felt like I was missing something… the ending felt incomplete and like it needed something a little more to keep me in suspense (for example, Tyrion’s). Then again, there was one twist in the end that threw me for a loop! (If you have read it, you probably felt the same).
Overall, another excellent book from Martin (but I am sure many of you already know that). Sadly, I have to wait until the summer before I can start the third book, which I have heard from many is the best of the books. In addition to having to wait, I am going to have to apparently avoid all social media when the fourth TV season starts so there are no spoilers. (My brother already ruined one of the deaths in book three for me… I’m devastated).
Reading this book got me to thinking… who is your favorite character? Or, if you could be a member of one of the families, who would it be? I have to admit, the family’s is a tough one for me, but I love both Arya and Sansa. I find them both relatable and fun to read about with their adventures and situations. Given my character selection, I guess I would be a Stark of Winterfell?