Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 4.5
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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

8 out of 43 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 May 18, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    This second book in the A Song of Fire and Ice series is even mo

    This second book in the A Song of Fire and Ice series is even more action packed than A Game of Thrones.  Chaos reigns in the seven kingdoms with now five kings fighting for the Iron Throne.  I love the format of these books, chapters that alternate between characters.  The chapters tell the stories of A Clash of Kings from their different perspectives, allowing us to see the war from within the minds of people from all sides.  

    The military girl in me really enjoyed the battle tactics that were so much a part of this book, especially for Tyrion Lannister.  His character is continually undervalued and dismissed by the others in the series, simply because of his size.  In reality, he is extremely intelligent and an excellent strategist and I loved his chapters the most!  At first, he began to set things in motion that led me to wonder what exactly he was up to, wondering how it would all come together.  But he is brilliant and cunning in his plans, showing those traits that I think are most important in a battle strategist/commander... knowing the abilities/limitations of not just your enemy, but your own men and using those to advantage.

    My Recommendation:  Such a great novel!  This not a read for the faint of heart.  The battles, the betrayals, the violence, the seediness.  The only thing I truly wanted more of was Jon Snow and the Wall!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2015

    Great read

    I really liked it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2015

    Awesome

    Love this series.

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  • Posted February 10, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic continuation of such an amazing series. You get so att

    Fantastic continuation of such an amazing series. You get so attached to the characters and you keep turning the pages hoping that they'll see it to the end of the story. A must read for fantasy lovers!

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  • Posted February 4, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    Whew, I made it. Eight days to read this monstrosity and while I

    Whew, I made it. Eight days to read this monstrosity and while I am still excited about the series I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the last one. Mainly due to the pacing of the story. In the middle, things dragged on quite a bit. I also didn’t care that much for the two new character’s p.o.v. that were introduced in this book. One of them, Theon, was quickly added to my list of those-I-want-to-lose-their-head list, and the other I’m kinda ambivalent towards. Mainly I found his chapters rather boring. I read them because I didn’t want to miss anything important, but I would constantly check to see how many pages were left until we got back to someone I really cared about.




    Being new to this author and his writing I foolishly thought we had seen the end of the tearing down of this world and might start to see some rebuilding. Oh how very wrong I turned out to be. Martin was no where near done. The world is quite literally, in some cases, totally destroyed and the deaths of favorite and important characters continue to pile up. Because Martin is not a safe author to read, you don’t know where things are going to go next. He kills off, or makes you think he killed off, protagonists left and right no wonder he has to introduce new players, otherwise who is going to tell the tale of this world.




    My opinion of many of the characters remains the same. Perhaps I have a smidgen of more respect for Sansa. Arya, Tyrion, Daenerys and Jon continue to be my favorites. I hope for the next book we see some justice for the characters that have been lost. Cersei and Joffrey really need to lose their heads… One other thing that bothered me and brought down the star rating was the out-of-left-field prologue at the beginning of the book. This really slowed down the title for me. I was ready to jump right into the action and had to slog through way to many pages before it started.




    Even though much of this book was spent going nowhere or destroying the different lordships the story continued to invade my reality. The work is an excellent study of human nature. I started to see aspects of the different characters in myself and others around me. I am learning from this book. I am learning how much I am like Sansa, wanting to only see the best in others and in life, much to my detriment. I yearn to be as honorable and strong as others. Martin is making me think and forcing me to look at my own life and world with different eyes. I will probably be a bit of a different person when I leave this tale behind. A good story changes who we are, as it should be, we should always take something with us when we finish a story. On to the next book then perhaps a break from this world. I can only live with death and war for so long. I am going to need to be reading some fluff next month or risk ending up paranoid and seeing spies where ever I go…

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  • Posted January 15, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

      I watched Season Two of Game of Thrones before listening to th

      I watched Season Two of Game of Thrones before listening to this book, and discovered that I liked the book a bit better this time than the show. There was more character and story depth than was in the show, but then again, things have to be tweaked when put into film for whether it be a series, or just one film.
         This installment I finished faster than the last. It really kept a roller coaster pace about it, and I love the narrator and his voices. His story telling is natural, and never rings false. It will be a little while before I move on to book three, but I understand why this series is so popular.
         A great mix of characters, story, a wonderful world of magic and human intrigue. This is the kind of book that I think those not really into fantasy could get into.
         This is book two in the Song of Fire and Ice Series. The first book is Game of Thrones, and the series by the same name is really good too.
         Whether you read it or listen to it, it is worth the time to check out.

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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 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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