Book: A Clash of Kings

 

The book: A Clash of Kings, by George R.R. Martin

The edition: Bantam Books paperback, HBO tie-in edition, 1010 pages (the edition includes chapter 1 of A Storm of Swords, but I don’t count that in page count)

The story: wherein a kingdom is torn by civil war, dark forces arise in the north, and some characters discover that they have strange powers.

My experience with the book & my thoughts: I don’t like to be too sharp, because after two books I sort of see a general plot in the series, enough to hope that the author knows where he is leading us, and anyway it is a light, fun read.
And yet, to me, this second book didn’t deliver. There are just too many storylines unfolding parallel to each other, too many characters to follow, too many cliffhangers at the end of chapters (and you only get back to that storyline at a different point in time, so it’s not always easy to understand what happened)…
Still, I am looking forward to the next, because the story is well constructed and there’s enough mysteries unresolved to keep me going… Trying to double-guess the whole story from each new piece of the puzzle is a fascinating experience, all the more so when the author hints at fantasy and at things that could happen and that you could never imagine.

What I liked: the way smaller stories are weaved in the corners of the main plot, with each new character bringing a wealth of stories (e.g. the story of how Ser Davos Seaworth went to be the Onion Knight)

What I didn’t like: rowdier sex and gruesomer violence

Language & writing: pages of descriptions of how everyone is dressed are still there. And I was hoping he had left onomatopoeias out, but in the last few chapters there they were again. Oh, nice words, anyway.

Random thought: avoid googling anything about this series, unless you want some spoilers. Although… with all the discussion and speculation online, whatever you read can be either true or false!

Read this if: if you started the series. Also, read this series if you want some very low-key and easy-to-read adventure with a touch of fantasy.

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2 comments on “Book: A Clash of Kings

  1. I usually describe ASOIAF as a fantasy soap which can be annoying. (As a result, I keep hoping that, once the series is finished, it’ll be republished in a group of series. So you’d have a Stark series and a Lannister series, etc. I’m not sure what you’d do with the smaller pov characters, but this is what lives in my head. I may or may not have mentioned it already. I forget. ^-^; ) I’m glad you did enjoy the second book, though! (Though I hear you on the sex and the violence. Book 3 was probably the worst for me in terms of violence, by the by. Fair warning.)

  2. A fantasy soap, exactly! 🙂 Yet I don’t know that your idea would work, without a huge reworking of each chapter…
    Thanks for warning me about book 3, I’ll be braced against the violence.

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