CLASH OF KINGS by George R. R. Martin

 In Book Reviews, Fantasy

Clash of the kings Book

A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire Book 2

Author: George R. R. Martin

Rating: 4 out of 5

Publisher: Bantam

Release Date: March 2002

Format: E-book & Print
Contains no spoilers

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[note color=”#fde5b5″]SYNOPSISA Clash of Kings picks up where A Game of Thrones left off.  Robb is fighting his war, Stannis is mounting his charge against Renly and then King’s Landing, Tyrion is trying in vain to save the kingdom from his nephew’s adolescent impulses, Jon Snow is beyond the wall and Daenerys is just trying to get home to win her kingdom from the usurper.  After many battles fought between the Starks and the Lannisters, the Baratheons and the Baratheons, the Baratheons and the Lannisters, and the Greyjoys and everyone in the north, we are left with Jofferey in the throne, Stannis reeling from a loss, Renly deceased, Theon missing, and Daenerys fleeing Qarth in search of a way to win her kingdom[/note]

IN MY OPINION: As if the first story wasn’t tragic enough, this book really tests your emotions.  Those we thought we could trust turn on each other. Those we thought we hated start to tug at our heart-strings. This book turns the world of Westeros upside down and forces us to reevaluate our loyalties.

 In this book we learn the true evil that is Joffrey Baratheon.  We discover how sadistic he is and begin to truly fear for Sansa, praying that he lets her go despite the evidence to the contrary.  His “dog”, Sandor Clegane shows his kindness and softer side, confusing all opinions we previously had of him.  After he killed Arya’s friend, the butcher’s son, we want to hate this man, but does Mr. Martin ever allow us to just hate a character like all other authors?  No! Clegane saves Sansa and turns out to not be the evil henchman we thought he was, but a scared boy trapped in a man’s body.  Then we realize that Jaime is not the arrogant, cold-hearted narcissist we met at the start of A Game of Thrones.  He is a narcissist, but he has a heart and loyalties much like Eddard Stark, the man who sets the standard of honor and loyalty.  But the greatest change of all is that at the end of this tragic installment I find myself praying that Tyrion Lannister doesn’t die from the traumatic wound inflected on him by those he called a friend. And while all these characters are showing us their true colors in Westeros we watch Daenerys Targaryen grow and become the queen she was born to be.

We get to meet new characters in this second installment of the Song of Ice and Fire series.  Renly Baratheon really becomes a character for a page or two, while Stannis Baratheon becomes a main player.  We learn of the Lady Melisandre and all of her scheming and dark magics.  The dark world of Westeros becomes more complex and depressing with each passing paragraph.  The fight for control of the realm is highly unpredictable and volatile, but we must read on to learn how this all ends.With less character development throughout this story it really hits the ground running and doesn’t slow down very often.  With many battle scenes it is quite detailed and still much faster than A Game of Thrones.  It is the fastest 1,000 page book I have ever read.

On a recent interview with Conan O’Brien George R. R. Martin told him that he “wants his readers to be scared to turn the page.”  Mission accomplished! As I read through this series I am frightened to think who you will kill off next.  However, this is the most realistic series I have ever read.  In real life we lose those we love in the blink of an eye, and yet the world continues to turn, we continue to fight, life moves forward.  Martin puts his characters through the same thing real people face, characters die without notice, tragedy fills these pages, and yet those that survive move on and continue to fight.  We could all take a page from the tragically cursed characters of George R. R. Martin’s dark and twisted imagination.


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