Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2) by George R.R. Martin

Release date: November 16, 1998
Info about the author: Goodreads - Website
Publisher: Bantam
Age group: Adult
Pages: 784 (trade paperback)
Buy the book: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

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. 

Audacious, inventive, brilliantly imagined, A Clash of Kings is a novel of dazzling beauty and boundless enchantment—a tale of pure excitement you will never forget.



Like with my "review" of the first novel in George R.R. Martin's epic, high fantasy series, this "review" will be more of a discussion post about my reading experience. Due to the extent of his book - its locations, characters etc. - I feel like I cannot provide you with the type of review I usually write, but you should definitely keep on reading if you are interested to know what I thought about this book.

As I mentioned in my review for A Game of Thrones, I decided that I would not continue watching the HBO show before I would read this book. And surprisingly, I was able to keep up with that promise. With the first book, I had seen the season 1 of the show already, and I felt like I continually kept waiting for things to happen that I had seen in the show. And of course the book is much slower than the show, which made the reading experience a bit of a burden at points. With this second book, not knowing what to expect, I found myself wanting to read the book all the time - I wanted to know what would happen to these characters as well as to this fantastical, complex world. I have the third book in queue at my local library in Finland and I am hoping that I will get it as soon as I go back, just so I can read it too. I am not too eager to hurry with watching the show, so I think I'll just keep reading the books and then binge watch the show at some point. I have seen spoilers and know of some of the major events, but I don't really mind that.

When reading A Game of Thrones, I got about 150 pages in before I put it down and forgot about it for like half a year. With this one, I read it in a week during a time I had other stuff to do as well, meaning I was not able to read all the time. I feel like one of the main factors that contributed to the fact that I was much more eager about this book was the fact that I already knew these characters and the world, at least a little bit. A lot more started to happen right away, and I had a constant desire to know what would happen next. Unlike with the first book, I did not almost have to force myself to keep going. 

Like with the first book, the story is narrated through chapters dedicated to different characters. Once again, there were characters I really liked and got excited about, and then characters I just wanted to get over with. Tyrion still remains my favorite character, and Arya, Jon and Daenerys come as good second ones for the most interesting chapters in the novel. I found Bran's chapters a bit repetitive at points with the whole wolf thing (I know it's going to be like a major thing in the storyline, but I just found it annoying). Also Catelyn's and Sansa's chapters did not manage to make me super excited because I just find both of them quite annoying. I am probably in minority by saying this, but I do hope that there would be chapters of Joffrey, just because I feel like he is a really interesting character because he is just complete evil. But I do understand why Martin does not give a "voice" to him because that would probably humanize him in at least some little manner.

I am really excited to see how the story continues and how these characters and this world develops. These books are not the easiest ones to read, but once you get into them, you don't want to stop. I guess it's the same with the show - I did not feel an instant connection with it, but I feel like when I watch it after I have read the books, the connection will be there. 



4 comments:

  1. Finally, a fantasy series for grown-ups. GM's books have real people in real situations, rather than the cliched old fantasy superheroes battling tired villains with yet another plan to take over the world. It reads almost like an historical novel (for an imaginary world), with just a little sprinkle of traditional fantasy elements. The story actually makes sense, and makes me think of the 'Kingmaker' period in old Britain. Great stuff. If you like your stories linear and predictable, this won't be for you. Otherwise, get it at all cost.

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