Tuesday 10 May 2016

Book Review: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

About the Book

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 and 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.

My Review (5/5 stars)

I think that one of the things that makes this serious utterly engrossing, is the attention to detail.

The universe is so well fleshed out, and the characters who live in it do so in a completely believable way. For example, with the notable exception of Joffrey, I don't think there are any "bad" guys in this story. There aren't any "good" guys, either. There are just people, with deep and complex motivations and goals, and everything they do or say fits in with those motivations, and their circumstances in the world. If I put myself into any one of their shoes, I cannot say that I'd do anything different.

This book is actually better than A Game of Thrones, in my opinion. There's a lot more action... and a LOT of stuff happens. Unfortunately, I can't tell you very much of it for fear of spoilers, but I will say that many of our favourite characters return, and quite a few very important characters die. Oh, and there be dragons.

Something else that I thought was pretty cool: I read Game of Thrones three months ago, and there were a few minor details I'd forgotten. George R.R. Martin does such a wonderful job of explaining each character's place in the world as we first meet them, that it was a pleasurable experience when the memories of each came flooding back. I'd almost (ALMOST) say that it's not necessary to have read the first book in the series to enjoy the second. But I think you'd miss quite a bit.

Where to Buy

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