A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

I meant for this to be a more dignified pic, as I so enjoyed this book, but Pico refused to put his bath on hold.
I meant for this to be a more dignified pic, as I so enjoyed this book, but Pico refused to put his bath on hold.

Why I Read It: Book 1 (A Game of Thrones) was awesome.

Where I Got It: The library – after a very lengthy wait on the waiting list.

Who I Recommend This To: Readers who are looking for that complex epic fantasy that is based on politics, family ties, and warfare, would love this series.

Narrator: Roy Dotrice

Publisher: Random House Audio (2003)

Length: 37 hours 17 minutes

Series: A Song of Ice and Fire Book 2

This book picks up right where Book 1 left off. Aria is being packed off to the wall, in disguise as a boy. Jamie Lannister is still in the hands of Rob Stark. Jon Snow is still on the wall with no answers about his missing uncle. Dani is still stuck in the lands of horse lords. George R. R. Martin continues this epic series with the same great characterization and plot detail that grabbed me in Book 1. I am trying desperately to describe my joy for this book without using spoilers. So, how about you check out this Wikipedia article if you want details of the plot.

Through Book 2, we see plenty of personal growth for Daenyres, Jon Snow, Sansa, and Arya. Each of them has their own internal fight going on, based largely on inherited expectations, but then each has their own unique external struggle. We learn more of the Wildlings and the Grey Men. Theon Greyjoy shows his true colors, and they were not what I was expecting. While Rob Stark takes more of a back seat in this installment, his mother Catelyn plays a bigger role as the various kings vie for superiority.

By far, my favorite character is Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf and Uncle to the kingling Joffrey Baratheon. Tyrion often had the best lines and there are so many instances in this tale where he did the right thing – partially because he was in a position to do so – but also because it was something his moral code required him to act on. This is the book where Tyrion won my heart.

There’s battles and betrayal. Intrigue spills from every darkened corner. Dark magic is employed in nefarious deeds. Everyone has secrets, and not all those secrets will stay hidden. Those that appear creepy, are not always evil; and those that appear pristine are not always good. Poor Arya learned this all in one fell swoop.

I know some folks have shied from these books because of the length. I know some feel that the HBO series is adequate. I say that these books are eminently worthy of your time. The level of detail adds to the richness of the setting and the motivations of the characters. If any of you have been waffling about whether or not to make room for these books, then I strongly encourage you to treat yourself to some of the best epic fiction out there.

Once again the narrator Roy Dotrice shows his abilities in providing individual voices for the wide breadth of characters involved in this series. I like how he gives all the Lannister men a familial similarity and yet can keep each distinct. His voice for Jaquen H’ghar was eerie, chilling, and perfect for the character.

OnceUponATime7What I Liked: Tyrion is my twisted hero; Sansa blossomed in this book; Arya is my kick-ass little heroine who has to learn some hard truths about good and evil; Varies has a much more interesting past than i could have hoped for; Daenerys has to make some tough decisions about her quest to regain her throne; there’s dragons; there’s sword fights; the Hound is a complicated man that I haven’t decided on; Cersei has some harsh things to say (love hating on her).

What I Disliked: I had expected more of Rob’s storyline and inner thoughts, as he is one of the kings vying for supremacy.

Tis the season for Fantasy adoration over at Stainless Steel Droppings during the reading event of the season: Once Upon A Time. Make sure to head over there to see what other fantasy goodness is going on around the blog.

2 thoughts on “A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin”

  1. Glad you liked it! Tyrion’s one of my faves too, though Arya has my most favorite plot line. I agree about the books being so much richer and deeper than the tv series alone, though I AM greatly enjoying the HBO series. I think this season we’re seeing our first real, major departure from the books, so I’m glad I’ve read them and can differentiate. Great review!

    1. We watched the first season recently and enjoyed it – the theme music and intro are great and the main characters and costumes are done well. We’ll probably catch the second season as we can.

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