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Book Review - A Clash of Kings

 Friday, 18 June 2010

Good evening I'm gonna try and reel off a couple of reviews before I pass out for the night - wish me luck!

Title: A Clash of Kings
Author: George R.R. Martin
Date: 15/6/2010 AM
Source: Bought
Description: The Seven Kingdoms have come apart. Joffrey, Queen Cersei's sadistic son, ascends the Iron Throne following the death of Robert Baratheon, the Usurper, who won it in battle. Queen Cersei's family, the Lannisters, fight to hold it for him. Both the dour Stannis and the charismatic Renly Baratheon, Robert's brothers, also seek the throne. Robb Stark, declared King in the North, battles to avenge his father's execution and retrieve his sister from Joffrey's court. Daenerys, the exiled last heir of the former ruling family, nurtures three dragons and seeks a way home. Meanwhile the Night's Watch, sworn to protect the realm from dangers north of the Wall, dwindle in numbers, even as barbarian forces gather and beings out of legend stalk the Haunted Forest. (Taken from Goodreads)

My Review

Oh god it so hard to try and review a book this massive and complex without giving away huge chunks of the plot from both this book and the first one but I'll try my best.

First off I'll say straight out that I think this series is awesome, yes I'm only two books in but still Martin has created an epic masterpiece which literally dwarfs any other High fantasy series I've read. I know that LotR was pretty complex but seriously the number of characters in A Clash of Kings and the different plot threads is *INSANE*. I think there's at it's maximum 10 different POV characters and a cast of a couple of hundred who are all scheming against other factions to further their own ends.

What I really love about the book is getting to follow certain characters through their own plotlines and the feeling of frustration I get when I feel it's been too long since one of my favourites had a chapter. I noticed that this book was predominantly Arya and Tyrion driven as their POVs were the most frequent (when I flicked through it a minute ago - I didn't sit down and tally up their chapters, honest) and they happen to be two of my fav characters although Tyrion is kind of the bad guy who you don't really want to trust but he's bizarrely endearing. My other fav characters are Bran and Jon, Arya's brothers who are far up in the North during the book and are dealing with their own problems.

All the political intrigue and maneuvering is really interesting because with 4 people claiming kingship you just know that the shit is gonna hit the fan at some point in a *very* messy way and a heck of a lot of people are gonna get trampled while all the big people wage war against each other for power. That's a slight downside to the series if you don't really like your fantasy big and bloody - a fair amount of people, sometimes even major characters get killed over the course of the books and when deaths are described they're sometimes done in a pretty blunt and crude fashion. Another slightly off-putting thing is the hard time some of the women in the book get, since men who are still high off battle fever tend to get a little promiscuous after they've taken a town or whatever there will be inevitably be some poor women who get passed around the men like a whorish box of chocolates (take your pick, enjoy it and then pass it along). But in the grand scheme of things those kinds of scenes are not so frequent as to make the entire book overly distasteful - also you kind of have to forgive the book being written by a man who obviously doesn't have the kinder sensibilities towards women that a female writer would have - I mean you wouldn't see Kristin Cashore or Trudi Canavan being so blatant about a gang rape now would you?

So despite the flaws in content the book as a whole is still amazing in my opinion, to make those 700+ pages flow by so effortlessly is a skill which Martin has in buckets and you really become wholly invested in the characters and you want them to succeed in their aims and gosh darn it do you hate it if they don't. After the shocking ending to A Game of Thrones I've realised that Martin may not give all my favourites a happy ending as his is not a perfect world where there will be casualties some may actually break your heart. I know I nearly got *very* upset when I thought a character had died but thank the gods that it was only a clever deception by another character (who was still a bastard despite his moment of goodness) - people who've read the book will probably know what I'm talking about. 

Therefore I'm extremely eager to continue with this series onto the third book, which oddly comes in two parts for us Brits. I already have the first part of A Storm of Swords but I'll certainly have to make sure I have the second volume to hand when I finish because I get the feeling that there will be some awful cliffhanger from where the book is split.

So if you like your high fantasy to be epic and sprawling, with intrigue, battles and dragons (only baby ones though) and you don't mind waiting for aaaages for the next book to come out - seriously the fifth book has taken nearly 3 years now I believe - then you really should check out the Song of Ice and Fire series, starting with A Game of Thrones and this being the second book, because it is *ah-mazing*! And I mean that, I stayed up until nearly 4am to finish this cos it had me so badly hooked.

My Rating: 4.5 out 5 Stars

This was also my 100th book of the year!!! WOOO!! *Happy Dance* 

Now I must go to bed


Ria- The Beaucoup Review book blog. 18 June 2010 at 19:11  

700+ PAGES?!
I love when that happens. You look at a 500 page book and think- that'll take me a while! But then its so good- the pages just fly by :)
Thanks for the review!

LadyViolet 18 June 2010 at 19:22  

Is it terribly insane of me to say that 700 pages isn't actually that bad? I've read a couple of books this year which were like 1200 pages and they also flew by! Tis strange really.

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