Feb 13, 2012

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

Title: A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2) - George R.R. Martin
Release Date: The edition I have was first published in 2011
Publisher: Bantam
Pages: 1009 (mass market paperback)
A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel...and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.

A Clash of Kings picks up right where A Game of Thrones left off which means there's action right from the start. Robb Stark, whose original intention was only to avenge his father's death, gets proclaimed king  by the northerners. The Lannisters struggle to keep Joffrey on the Iron Throne. Stannis and Renly Baratheon, the late King Robert's brothers, gather their own armies and supporters to claim the throne for themselves, even if it means having to go against each other.

One of the most interesting things in the story was the war strategies, particularly the Lannisters'. I think it was especially hard for them because they had to keep their control over King's Landing and Casterly Rock while battling Robb who was marching from the north.

I love how all the characters (except Theon because he's still a vain idiot, and Rickon because he's still a whiny four-year-old) become stronger, wiser and braver. Tyrion goes about with his father's order to rule in his stead while keeping himself safe from his well-hidden foes. Arya tries to makes the right choices to keep herself alive when she's alone in the midst of her family's enemies. Even Sansa learns not to trust everyone, or anyone, because 'life is not a song'. But perhaps the one who has it the hardest is Lady Catelyn, what with the recent death of her husband, fearing for her children's lives, and facing the last hours of her father's life.

Unfortunately, there's a letdown in the ending. I don't know why but I found it somewhat dragging and because of that, I've decided to take a break from the events in Westeros and read more YA books. I'll start with A Storm of Swords as I watch season two of Game of Thrones in April.

My favorite part: Tyrion out-scheming Cersei. She just never learns.

Rating: 5/5
(photo and summary from goodreads.com)

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