Book review – ‘A Clash of Kings’ by George R.R. Martin

This review is for the second book in a series and may therefore contain spoilers for the preceding book. You can read my review for ‘A Game of Thrones’, book one in the series, by clicking here.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Plot:

Throughout Westeros the cold winds are rising.

From Dragonstone to Winterfell, chaos reigns as five pretenders to the Iron Throne prepare to stake their claims. As an omen of doom – a comet of blood and flame – cuts across the sky, brother plots against brother, and the dead rise to walk in the night. War is coming, and the price for glory is measured in blood.

A Clash of Kings, Book Two of A Song of Ice and Fire, continues the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age

-from the back of my book as I couldn’t find a decent synopsis on Goodreads

Review:
Well, I managed to finish this book a lot quicker than I did the previous one, although not loosing it might have helped there! That said, it’s still quite a tome so you have to be pretty ready to commit to reading it… and to some serious hand cramp!

The book continues with the various plot strands from the previous novel and could easily have been part of the same book (although practically, thank goodness it isn’t!). This is very much a continuation. Obviously, a few strands have come to a close but their knock on effects are clear. New strands are introduced with John Snow and the men of the Night’s Watch going over the wall and new characters being introduced, ready to attempt to take the throne.

My greatest compliment regarding A Game of Thrones was how real it felt and this compliment has to extend to A Clash of Kings. The characters felt as though they were reacting in a realistic and understandable way even if it wasn’t good or morally right. Everything, people, places, and items, had a history and a place in the world and this was clear in the detail even if that history wasn’t fully disclosed. It feels like Martin is writing a true history but the method of telling it (through various POVs) makes it all the more emotive, hard hitting and interesting.

That said, I did find a couple of the POVs a little less exciting this time. Theon’s point of view really did annoy me. As with all the other people, his narrative was true to his character and believable but as I just dislike his personality, even if I understand why he does and thinks the way he does, it’s not easy to read from his POV. Similarly, I didn’t really connect with Davos, probably because the things that interested the character, and the way he thought, was often quite different to how I, personally, think. I also really struggled with his sea-battle chapter which, although an amazing battle narrative and really hard hitting, felt a little to list like and military-brained for me… that kind of thing doesn’t get my attention. However, it would be what Davos would be concentrating on at that time. That’s the thing, yes, I struggled with some POVs this time but not because they’re badly written but for the exact opposite reason!

I’m looking forward to reading the next book and seeing how the tale, and the characters, progress and develop. It seems like so many people are on their individual, yet interwoven, journeys and have travelled so far in the progress of this book (and the last one, of course) that it’s exciting to see where they will end up. I also love the way that you can feel that Martin is really constructing the future events, things that may not happen for books yet, but setting those events up so that, when they do happen… well, he told you so!

I have a physical copy of this book and it’s that annoying size that’s uncomfortable to hold so I would buy the kindle version if you have that option.
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