Book Review: A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

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Throughout Westeros, the cold winds are rising. From the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding lands of Winterfell, chaos reigns as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms stake their claims through tempest, turmoil and war. As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky — a comet the colour of blood and flame — five factions struggle for control of a divided land. Brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Against a backdrop of incest, fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory is measured in blood.

★★★★☆

4 /5 stars —

Note: Before I started this review, I will warn you that this review contains spoilers from A Game of Thrones. There are no spoilers from A Clash of Kings, but if you haven’t read the first in the series, I would advise skipping over this review.

I didn’t love this one as much as the first book. In saying that, however, this was still very good. I’ll go into the reasons why I dropped the last star off the rating later, but I do want to emphasise upon the fact that I loved this novel. It was a brilliant sequel to the first in the series, and I am very glad that I decided to read this series. Soon after finishing the first novel I bought the box set. That was how much I loved the first novel.

First off — the characters are great. It’s not that a lot of them are loveable or anything (because in fact, most of them aren’t) but they are so well-developed to the point where they feel real to the reader. I love the fact that the story is written from several point of views. The reader gets to see the character not from one eye, or even two, but several of them, and each character has their own individual view of the world.

Take Sansa, for example. In the first book, she bothered me a lot. But her eyes finally opened up in this novel, for which I was thankful. I don’t know how much of her fawning over Joffrey I could handle. She had this idealistic, song-and-story view of the world — that she would eventually meet her prince (whom she thought was Joffrey, but that promptly fell down the drain when he gave the command to chop her father’s head off). In the first book, Joffrey wasn’t that bad — yes, he was arrogant, a little weak and childish, but his true colours revealed themselves at the end of the first novel.

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My expression whenever Sansa fawned over Joffery.

Now here’s the reason why I gave this novel four of five stars — instead of five of five. Like I said, I loved this novel, but I felt as though parts of it dragged. It was a 911-page novel which was probably part of the reason. There were also characters which I wasn’t that much of a fan of (Theon, Davos, for example) which I felt made the story drag more than the first. However, that is a small thing in comparison to the many positive things that this novel contained. The world-building continues to astound me; the writing was damn near flawless.

Overall, a great sequel to the first; I am looking forward to the A Storm of Swords.

Let me know what your thoughts of the novel were in the comments below. Tomorrow: Top Ten Tuesday!

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