A Clash of Kings
By: George R. R. Martin
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.
I started this book on January 25, and finished it on March 13. Reading a book that long takes a long time to read, and oftentimes long books tend to drag on and become boring, but that is not the case with this book. It’s difficult to write a sequel to a book as phenomenal as A Game of Thrones was, but A Clash of Kings exceeded every expectation I set for it, and I had very high expectations going into this book. The characters were all given the time they deserved, the stakes were raised, and the world was developed even more than I thought possible. Now, before you read any farther, there are massive spoilers in this review.
The world in A Game of Thrones was amazing as it was, but expanding it brought a depth to the book that I think every sequel needs, but is not always given. New places were introduced, lands that we weren’t given the chance to explore in the first book were not described in the book, but shown. I see why it was made into a TV show. A movie could not do this series justice. Having a world as profound as this one just had to be shown in a way where readers could see the world they read about and loved. I love how the changes in the world was shown in small details that all formed the bigger picture. With two kings gone, and their children ruling, the realism of what would really happen to the Seven Kingdoms during a situation like that was handled perfectly. The situations Martin put his characters through during this book challenged them enough to prepare them for the difficult tasks they would have to go through because of the new world they are living in.
The characters had to change exceedingly in this book. In the first book, the Starks of Winterfell were one big happy family, and the Lannisters visited them in harmony. But then, the Lion nation attacked (Okay I apologize for that… not). Joffery chopped off Ned Stark’s head, so the his eldest son Robb took the throne, Bran is dealing with his useless legs, Arya is on the run, posing as an orphan boy, and Sansa is held hostage by her betrothed, Joffrey. Robert Baratheon is dead, giving his son (who really isn’t his son) the throne, Cersei is as big of a pain in the rear as she always was and always will be, Tyrion is as small and fierce as ever, and Jamie is held captive by the Starks.
Everybody is basically at war in this book (hence the name), which means a lot of death, which means our favorite characters go through harsh situations. Two new main point of views were introduced in this book. Davos Seaworth and Theon Greyjoy. I didn’t like either of them much (I hated Theon, though I felt sympathy for him at first), and Davos isn’t very interesting. But I got a lot of my two favorite characters: Tyrion and Arya. I was a bit dissapointed of the lack of Daenarys and her dragons, but they are still in their early stages of life and not much happened with her, so I understand why she wasn’t front and center. Hopefully in the following books, we will get to see more of her and her dragons. Jon didn’t get much to do, either, but I always looked forward to his chapters. Tyrion had like every other chapter, which I didn’t mind. He had a lot going on and I enjoyed his on-going feud with his sister and his annoyance towards both her and Joffrey. That was one of the best things about this book. Sansa was better in this book. She finally figured out what Arya had been telling her all this time: Joffrey is evil. She is scared and trapped, but she has grown stronger and smarter as a character. Bran wasn’t in this book much, either, but when his chapters did show up, he was a direwolf! But not just any direwolf, but Summer! This is a twist I had not seen coming and am really looking forward to seeing more of in the next book. Some of my favorite characters that were introduced in this book are Brienne of Tarth, Hot Pie, Jojen Reed and his sister Meera Reed.
So much happens in A Clash of Kings, I have no idea where to start. Although the book moves along slowly (It’s nearly 1000 pages), and at times it seems like there isn’t a plot, think again. The feeling you have while reading this book is like your there, watching everything happen from a corner, instead of reading a book. That is how you know a book is good. Whenever a plot isn’t so jump-in-your-face. It’s there, but you have to think for a second and connect all the dots in order to form the bigger picture. It reads like a history book, and history is a connection of battles, people, and kingdoms fighting for their piece of the pie. That is done beautifully in this book. The only other time I have read a book with a plot that is even comparable to this one is The Hobbit or Harry Potter. And those two don’t have anything on this, plot-wise.
What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!