A Clash of Kings
By George RR Martin
Spoilers abound so feel free to skip this review if you want to read the series yourself and experience it without my opinions. No feelings will be hurt in the process. And, honestly, I don’t know how else to write this review without spoilers considering so much is going on in this series.
If you’re interested, my thoughts on A Game of Thrones can be found here.
In reading about these books, one thing that always comes up is that Martin if not a writer afraid of killing off main characters. I love this and hate it at the same time — I become attached and he takes away just like that. A shame but it’s also wondrous. He’s writing about a medieval world where people are constantly fighting and in most cases, one or more lose their heads. The death of main characters in his books makes total sense when you look at on the whole.
Beginning A Clash of Kings exactly where A Game of Thrones left off, Eddard Stark has lost his head, taken off by the new boy king, Joffrey, who spends his days being cruel to Stark’s daughter, Sansa, who was promised to be his wife. All of Westeros is at war with no less than four men proclaiming themselves king including Robb Stark who now calls himself King of the North. The capital, King’s Landing, is in flux with Joffrey as king, her mother Cersei playing Queen’s Regent, and her dwarf brother, Tyrion, acting as the hand to the king. Chances for peace low, fighting goes on with everyone dying at a rate one has trouble imagining. Daenerys, a young widow but still refusing to accept the loss of her power now that she’s tasted it, is still contemplating how to return and Jon Snow, Stark’s bastard son, is finding life as a member of the Night’s Watch more dark and despairing than he ever thought possible.
Wow. If I had to use one word that would be all I need to describe this book. Martin tells this story from 7, 11, 13 (I didn’t count them all but there are many) points of view. It feels overwhelming sometimes but there’s too much going to and you can’t put it down. You keep reading and reading interested to know what’s going to happen to each and every character. You have that much invested.
For as much as I want to keep going with this series, I’m taking it very slow. I could simply devour every one of these books one after the other, but I won’t. I’m forcing myself to take it slow; one book every few months. I’m doing this for several reasons: 1.) it’s a planned seven book series, only five books are written with the fifth coming out this July; 2.) if I come to the end of book five with nothing to look forward to for years, I may go into some sort of withdrawal and I can’t have that.
If you have a chance to pick up this series, do it. It’s intimidating, 800+ pages, but the story is so good, fantastic really, that you’ll be completely entranced. I highly recommend this book and the whole series, even though I’m only on book two.