Title: A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2)
Author: George R.R. Martin
Narrator: Roy Dotrice
Publisher: Bantam Spectra (Random House)
Acquired Via: Personal Collection
Release Date: November 16, 1998
George R. R. Martin, a writer of unsurpassed vision, power, and imagination, has created a landmark of fantasy fiction. In his widely acclaimed A Game of Thrones, he introduced us to an extraordinary world of wonder, intrigue, and adventure. Now, in the eagerly awaited second volume in this epic saga, he once again proves himself a master myth-maker, setting a standard against which all other fantasy novels will be measured for years to come.
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 warfare. 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.
You can read my review of book one, A Game of Thrones, HERE.
If you are wondering about the look of concentration on my face and the strange little dance that I'm doing, that would just be me kicking myself in the ass for not picking up these books sooner. Yes, these volumes are large and intimidating, but A Song of Ice and Fire is one of the best fantasy series that I've ever read.
And don't give me that, "I want to wait until Martin is done writing the series." nonsense. Just read the damn books over and over again while you wait for the next book or read something else.
When it comes to A Clash of Kings, the main thing that I feel that I need to talk about is the characters. There is multiple points of view, a literal host of secondary and tertiary characters, and I always get attached to some, even though that usually means a death sentence for them. As with A Game of Thrones, my favorite characters are Tyrion, Daenerys, and Arya. (If there's a death sentence on them, it hasn't been fulfilled yet. You're welcome.) I can pretty much say that these characters are my favorite because they're rash and snarky, except for maybe Daenerys, but she has dragons. Dragons always make a person cooler. In case you're reading the review without reading the books (tsk, tsk), Tyrion is the uncle of the king and a smart-mouthed, ugly dwarf who wants to be my BFF. Arya is the preteen daughter of Ned Stark who I would not let within a mile of me because she'd probably find a reason to gut me. However, reading about her antics on the page suits me fine, and I can adore her from afar. I would pity her for all that is happening to her, but damnit, she's got this. I hate to say that about a child, but she's made of steel.
I don't really like the Reeds, Ned Stark's bannerman's children from Greywater Watch, but that's mainly because they weren't Tyrion. That also goes for anyone else whose POV wasn't Tyrion, Arya, Daenerys. I guess I have to admit that I don't like Jon Snow as much anymore, but his parts were interesting. I don't like Stannis and his crew either, but that's mainly because Melisandre is scary as fuck. *shudders*
I'm forgetting someone. I really connected with Catelyn Stark, even though I couldn't always relate to her. She was a mom and flawed, but she was the only moderately decent adult female in the book. I enjoyed reading her parts, and I liked when she was joined by Brienne.
I could tell you about the world-building, but I'm not even going to go there. There is so much geography, history, economics, religion, politics, EVERYTHING, that you can't convince me that Westeros isn't a real place. Seriously, if J.R.R. Tolkien wrote the book on epic world-building... Well, I don't know where to go with that, but George R.R. Martin is awesome at what he does.
I guess what I'm trying to say through all of the gushing and mini-spoilers is that A Clash of Kings is a fantastic book in a great series. I know even non-fantasy fans that are enjoying these books, and yes, the TV series. (But the books are better, nanny-nanny-boo-boo.)
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