Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

This is the second book in George R.R. Martin's fantasy series called a Song of Ice and Fire, the sequel to A Game of Thrones. I think that anything I say about this book would be best summarized as:

If you liked Game of Thrones, you will like Clash of Kings. If you couldn't get excited about Game of Thrones, you will find Clash of Kings to be more of the same!

Song of Ice and Fire does not have stories that fit discreetly into book sized portions. It is one massive story with interwoven plotlines that began in Game of Thrones and might eventually end if Martin ever finishes writing the series. So it's hard to review the books individually.

I get more out of these books each time I read them, and pick up on subtle things I never had before. There is so much detail! A minor character in a minor scene will be referred to or refer to something that is significant elsewhere, what a character says seems different given the context later books provide... It's really neat how everything all fits together.

I don't want to name characters still alive in book two because given Martin's tendency to kill off important characters this would be a huge spoiler. But I was struck by how some perspectives were a lot more fast paced and exciting than others in the book. In particular, a new character, Davos, is introduced to relay events going on around one of the land's aspiring kings. The events Davos's chapters describe are the most critical, plot-forwarding of the book but they aren't necessarily as fun to read as those of characters with less plot driving chapters. Funny how that works. In fact I think there is a negative correlation between important events and fun to read chapters. But I don't really mind!

I think the best part about Clash of Kings is the depth that characters get. Certain characters were present in Game of Thrones, but not that interesting. Several of these are really fleshed out in Clash of Kings.

In summary, if you like fantasy and don't mind epic fantasy series with lots of points of view and long waits between books READ MARTIN!


  1. So far I'm absolutely loving the TV Show's rendition of Game of Thrones and am excited they were confirmed for a second season which I assume will cover the events of Clash of Kings!

    I assume you're rereading the books in anticipation of the fifth in July! While I enjoy all the books, I think that each one has certain moments that I hold above the rest. Clash has Tyrion's wildfire river and Arya's shrewdness but one of my favorite moments in the whole series is the romance with Ygritte in the third book... which it appears that you're currently reading!

  2. The HBO version is so awesome!! You are correct, season 2 is supposed to be Clash of Kings.

    I actually just finished Storm of Swords, haven't written up a review yet. The Ygritte thing was definitely among my least favorite parts!

  3. CLEARLY you would prefer Jon Snow die alone in the cold! Or maybe he'll find solace in Sam Tarly's warm embrace!

  4. I like Jon Snow when he is being awesome and not all love-lorn. There can't not be lots of butt sex on the wall though. Rule 34.

  5. HAHA, true. Also most of your 1 Star reviews here are Bret... And this fact is hilariously unsurprising!

  6. hahaha yeah, pretty typical!

  7. Like "Thrones", there's not a ton of fantasy in "Clash". It's very middle-ages-historical-fiction with a tinge of supernatural. There's more fantasy in this book than in the first, though, and it feels like it'll build into much more for the third book. There are dragons, but they set up a certain tone and act more as a plot device than anything else. There's no fire-breathing and attacking and destroying. There's further development around Bran's supernatural connection with his direwolf Summer, and we see that the bastard Stark, Jon, has a bit of the gift as well. There are a few more fantastical devices scattered throughout the book, which Martin develops slowly through his world's mythology rather than hammering in a slew of de facto dungeons & dragons.


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