Monday, July 25, 2011

A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire book 2, by George R.R. Martin- Review

Possibly the most exciting aspect of this book was the fact I hadn't seen the show yet so it was all new to me.  Game of Thrones had some pretty spectacular cliff hangers so I absolutely couldn't wait to sink my teeth into A Clash of Kings and get some answers.

Bear in mind, if you haven't read or watched A Game of Thrones, you may find spoilers in this review.

Martin keeps to the same style in A Clash of Kings, but tosses in new characters who will be teasing us with their perspectives of the ongoing politics, war and devious manipulations afoot all over the place.  This, of course, starts things off painfully because I was on tenterhooks over the end of the last book and then A Clash of Kings starts with someone new, somewhere I'd been ever so curious about before, but am now dying over because get me back to the DRAGONS George!!!  Granted I am ever so thankful for the new characters once the suspense is eased a bit, they lend a breath of fresh air to the story and give it such a well rounded telling.

I'm warning you now, however, that Daenerys is glimpsed very infrequently in book two.  Her story continues to unfold but almost in a background kind of way.  I suspect he's saving her for some huge swaths of story later on but right now she's just growing into this Mother of Dragon's role, so expect to hear much more from Tyrion, Bran and Catelyn for now.  Speaking of Catelyn, I'm finding her more and more irritating as the story carries on.  Please tell me I'm not the only one.  Although primed to be this super strong female character she has a tendency to either be to harsh or too whinny.  I've yet to find her redeeming points, but am constantly looking for them.

Sansa's story becomes considerably more fraught, as does Araya's, but how they handle their respective situations is a really great counterpoint.  It was made very clear in A Game of Thrones that they were cut from very different cloth, but as the story moves along it nice to see the Stark in both of them coming to the forefront in their own unique ways.

Bran and Rickon have considerably more story in A Clash of Kings as well and it's nice to see the politics from all the different age groups and spread wide across the world he's created.  Bran's learning curve of his new disability, coupled with his responsibilities for Winterfell while everyone is away are huge burden's for a nine year old and I love that Martin acknowledges this and makes sure to remind us of it from time to time. 

The fantasy aspects of this world are starting to creep out of the wood works here, there, and everywhere, without taking main stage yet. The Others, dragons, wargs, and mysterious magics and religions are all popping up and getting some real air time now.  Still shrouded in some mystery, but plainly a part of the story and not just an old wives tale so many have believed them to be.  I love how Martin has made a fantasy series where the fantasy was myth to his world until nearly a thousand pages in.  The medieval set up of the world and the dicey and ponderously slow way news has of traveling really adds to the suspense element.  There's nothing more satisfying as bedlam beyond the wall, and a few pages later Lord Tywin pshawing talk of Others and reports of dragons.  I simply can't wait to read the look on his face when he finds out how wrong he was.

If you enjoyed A Game of Thrones then make sure you keep the love affair going with A Clash of Kings.  George R.R. Martin doesn't miss a beat and  without a doubt the material is just as compelling as it was in the first book. Be prepared though, it is longer!  But you'll relish every word.  I had big plans of reading some of my other review books, that have started trickling in through the renewed Canada Post, but in the end I just couldn't tear myself away, so I'm now knee deep in book three- A Storm of Swords.

A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire book 2, By George R.R. Martin
Published by Bantam, 2002 (my copy was a 2011 reprint).
Buy A Clash of Kings on Amazon
Check out George R.R. Martin's blog, Not a Blog

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