Monday 15 August 2011

A Clash Of Kings - George R. R. Martin

King Joffrey's reign has not got off to a good start. His cruelty and the war are making him unpopular with his own people in Kings Landing. Tyrion is doing what he can to help but even he can only do so much. Meanwhile Robb Stark has taken back the titles of his ancestors as King of the North. He swears fealty to no King and is refusing to remove his army from the neck until his demands are met (including the release of his sisters). The dead King's brothers have made their own claims to Joff's throne. The elder, King Stannis, has a score to settle with his dead brother. He claims the throne as the rightful heir saying Joff is the spawn of the Queen and her brother (who is currently a prisoner of the Stark's). His younger brother Renly believes that he will be a better King and better loved and so claims the throne for himself. Meanwhile, in the North the men of the Black Watch head beyond the wall to discover what the Wildlings are up to.

This is the second book in the Song of Ice and Fire series. I loved this one just as much as I loved the first. More so actually since I knew most of the characters by the time I picked it up. The story itself felt that it moved a lot slower. Not much seemed to be happening but this feeling was actually inaccurate. When things do heat up it comes as a surprise until I begin to realise that the book had been building up to these events all along. I think part of it was that I was just so caught up in the individual stories in the book rather than seeing them all together.

As with "The Game of Thrones" Each chapter is told by a different point of view so that we get to see both sides of the war. In the case of this book it would be all sides. We get to hear some new voices such as the Iron men and the men of Stannis. By the end of the book we know them pretty well and once again we are left feeling that we might actually like these characters even if we don't necessarily want them to win.

By this point I have my favourites. Actually, I think by the half way point of the first book I have my favourites. I always look forward to reading about the characters Tyrion (the imp and brother to Queen Cersai and the Kingslayer) and Arya (daughter of the starks). I like Tyrion because he is actually a Lannister you can sympathise with. He has been dealt a harsh hand and treated badly by almost everyone. At the end of the day it feels that he is just trying to do right by everyone and keep the peace. Arya I like for her fierceness. She is only 8 years old (possibly 10 by now) and yet she is just as fierce as her brothers. On the sidelines (also claiming the throne but unknown to any of the other claimants) we have Dany and her three dragons. I think it will be interesting to see what she brings to the mix.

Magic is also starting to come into play in the book. Despite unnatural occurrences in the North I had still forgotten that magic was once a part of this realm. Magic died with the dragons and so it was easy to forget despite some of the tales told by the characters. The magic coming to light has nothing good in it though. It could be that so far it's just the people who use it but I am beginning to think that the magic in this world is all dark magic. Again this will be interesting should it have a bigger part to play in future books.

I can only say just one negative thing about this book and it has nothing to do with the author (so can't take marks off him for it). It's the text of the book. It's significantly smaller than all the other books. It meant that it felt as though my reading had slowed right down and it did feel like I took longer to read this book than the last despite that it has fewer pages. It was a little irritating but thankfully it didn't effect my eyesight too much. In fact the story was so good that I forgot all about the size of the text within the first paragraph of picking the book up again.

In case any of you wondered, this is not a series that can be read out of order. If you fancy trying it I would start with A Game of Thrones. Despite the mention of magic I still think that people who enjoy historical fiction and don't usually read fantasy will enjoy this.


  1. I don't do so well with epic historical fiction whether there's fantasy or not. I'd love to give it a go but seriously don't have the time for it this year...maybe one day!

  2. I love Tyrion! He's such an amazing character and he never lets you down! He only gets better as the series goes on. I'm reading A Dance With Dragons at the moment and I'm loving the direction GRRM has taken all his characters. Such a great series!

  3. Ellie, I think if those things aren't your cup of tea then fair enough. Plus it's definitely a series that you need to devote time to, they are huge books.

    Kayleigh, Tyrion is great. Felt a little sorry for him at the end of this one. I always look forward to his chapters. I will start on the first part of Storm of Swords next week.