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A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2)

Average Rating 4.5
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(147)

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(51)

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(72)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

47 out of 51 people found this review helpful.

Complicated, Intense and Absolutely Epic

Many editorial reviews of book (or movie) sequels claim that the second is as good as, or better than, the original. I read the same thing about "A Clash of Kings", George R.R. Martin's sequel to "A Game of Thrones". I was a bit skeptical, I mean...how can one not quest...
Many editorial reviews of book (or movie) sequels claim that the second is as good as, or better than, the original. I read the same thing about "A Clash of Kings", George R.R. Martin's sequel to "A Game of Thrones". I was a bit skeptical, I mean...how can one not question whether Martin could duplicate what he accomplished in the first novel, let alone better it. "Thrones" is magnificently expansive and epic...how could book 2 match the energy and intensity?

Martin absolutely knocked the ball out of the park with "Clash". I don't know if it's better than "Thrones", but it's easily its equal. He takes the core set of surviving characters (Arya, Sansa, Bran, Catelyn, Jon, Cersei and the wonderfully rich Tyrion), and picks up almost immediately where "Thrones" left off. And I don't just mean in terms of plot, but also in building out his fantastic world of intrigue, adventure and politics.

"Clash" is complicated, intense and absolutely epic. It sprawls majestically over a widely varied physical and literary landscape. The politics within the plot, focused on four Kings battling over a land that's used to having only one, are intricate, but not difficult to follow. Martin's writing is clear, his dialogue is smooth and the interplay between characters is enjoyable and completely in sync with the overall tone and 'place' of the story. The book is very serious and heavy - at about 1,000 pages, the book is actually heavy, but I love the weightiness, with corresponding depth, of the story.

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.

The characters are Martin's true accomplishment. He feeds off a character's strengths and deficiencies, and each one is perfectly human and in some way relate-able. Individuals-as-'outsiders', is the base upon which the best characters are built. And he uses that foundation frequently. Tyrion, the dwarf prince, has become one of my favorite and most memorable characters in the series, and perhaps one of the most well-developed characters in any popular fiction. He's witty and smart, and sometimes obnoxiously flip. But his deep-seated insecurities which evolve slowly over the course of both of the first books make his chapters the most anticipated. Arya develops into a wonderfully three dimensional character as the tomboy princess cut off from her family, trying to survive and find a way back home. Sansa's princess-ly arrogance dissipates under the strain of trying to survive as a hostage, and finds friends in very un-princess-ly places.

I'm looking forward to seeing HBO's creation of Martin's world of Ice and Fire coming this spring. Until then, I'll start digging into book 3 - "A Storm of S

posted by JGolomb on February 3, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

Made me want to kill myself...

500 pages into it and still nothing had happened. 600...nothing. 700...nothing. Oh, don't get me wrong, there were exceptional, page-long descriptions of what was being served at the banquet and what the uniforms of the royal guard looked like (and people thought Tolkie...
500 pages into it and still nothing had happened. 600...nothing. 700...nothing. Oh, don't get me wrong, there were exceptional, page-long descriptions of what was being served at the banquet and what the uniforms of the royal guard looked like (and people thought Tolkien was long-winded). 800...nothing. 900...wow, some action! 975...end of book... If you're into this kind of story, lots of politcal intrigue and would-be kings manuvering into position, then this book is for you. Martin is a good enough writer that he'll keep you moving through the story, but I ended up skimming lots of paragraphs just to get to the end. If you like action - ANY action - then head somewhere else. Side note: I try not to buy hardbacks as I read just way too much to spend $30.00 a pop. I read Martin's first book of this series in Sep. of 1997 and had to wait THREE YEARS for the next! What a joke! (Book 2 came out in hardback in Feb. 99 and the paperback was released in Sep 00 - a year and a half after the hardback, and 3 years after the first paperback!) The book has so many characters that you constantly flip to the appendixes to see who's who, and we're supposed to remember them all from 3 years ago...right! Tell you what...I'm not waiting around for another 3 years. See ya later, Mr. Martin.

posted by Anonymous on December 13, 2000

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  • Posted January 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    E Books Now Huh!

    We have long awaited the fifth book in the Ice and Fire series which I personally believe will never be published as long as Mr Martin can make a buck on what is already out there. Shame on you George--

    1 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 15, 2014

    Martin's second installment of A Song Of Ice & Fire reads ea

    Martin's second installment of A Song Of Ice & Fire reads easier and faster than book one! Having already been familiar with the characters, the plot begins from page 1 and never looks back. The story gets more complex, the characters darker, and the plot (for a little while at least) seems up in the air. Finished this book faster than book one... cannot wait to start book three! I am finally up-to-date with the books & the HBO series. I plan on finishing book three before watching the series. This is the first fantasy epic saga I've really gotten into since the end of Harry Potter in 2007. Leaves Twilight & the Hunger Games behind in the dust...

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  • Posted September 13, 2014

    as good as fantasy gets

    I successfully avoided the HBO series Game of Thrones for years. A took me the entire first season to get into it but then I was hooked. When I finished watching a wanted more and decided to read the books.

    Game of Thrones is an epic series about a medieval society weakening itself off in a destructive civil war. It is so very good because Martin tells the story from multiple points of view. We get into the heads of these very complex characters caught in impossible situations. They are subject to gut wrenching violence and heart wrenching loss. And, it is often very funny. He mixes psychologically acute observation with page turning adventure. I'm about 3000 pages in and I can't put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2014

    **Bios**

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2014

    Fantastic

    Every chapter leaves you wanting more! I am not sure who wouldn't give this five stars.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2014

    Fantastic!

    I am more in love with this series than ever! There is so much to keep you interested and on the edge of your seat. I've stayed up many nights reading this book and I can't wait to start A Storm of Swords!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2014

    SHADOWCLAN ENDS

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2014

    Great story

    Very good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2014

    Great read

    Looking forward to the to the next book wich i have

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  • Posted June 6, 2014

    recommended

    drags in places

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2014

    Yawn

    Tedious just very tedious

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  • Posted May 19, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    As would-be kings emerge from every direction to gather their ar

    As would-be kings emerge from every direction to gather their armies and stake their claims, the Stark family is torn even further apart. When allegiances change with each setting of the sun, no one will escape the repercussions of the ensuing war.

    I decided to read this one before watching the 2nd season of the series, and I think that was a much better approach (I did it the other way around for the 1st book). Now I'm anxious to move on to the 3rd book. I really begin to doubt that anyone is going to have any kind of happy ending in this game of thrones.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2014

    READ

    All young scientists go to "science" result one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2014

    GOOD

    GOOD READING

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2014

    Worth every stolen moment

    What adventure!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2014

    Enjoyable

    The 2nd book is just as enjoyable. One of the things I like the most is the indepth explanations of the characters, I feel like I'm right there!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2014

    Awesome

    Love it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2014

    Screw Reality, time to go to Westeros

    Tyrion is my homeboy, Arya is my BFF.

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  • Posted February 18, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This being the second book in The Ice & Fire Series, we are

    This being the second book in The Ice & Fire Series, we are reunited with characters from the first book.  Like the first book there is dark clouds hovering above the families fighting for the right of the iron throne.  Now the book does pretty much cover everything that is in the series.  There are little things here and there I thought should have been in the tv series that had been removed.  I saw the t.v. series first so the books were not shocking story wise because. 




    Some things I really wonder why they cut out of the t.v. series.  Like for instance there is a comet in the sky that is suppose to be an omen predicting doom.  I do not think this is even mentioned in the t.v. series and I kinda felt it needed more of the mystical.




    Only I complain about is they are so damn long to read.  I  just finished the 2nd book in time for 3 season on HBO.   So I have no idea what is coming.  I had hope to read the 3rd book before the show came on again.  That is not really important I guess.  The books may be long but still worth it. 




    Amazing drama, and fantasy.  If you have friends that read the books you will find everyone has their favorite chapters or characters to read about.  The stories do tend to show the darker side of people... but it also shows how people still have hope and struggle to get normalcy back to their chaotic lives.

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  • Posted January 31, 2014

    Great book!

    Thoroughly enjoying this second book in the series. It's a well paced book and well written. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

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