Customer Reviews for

A Clash of Kings (HBO Tie-in Edition) (A Song of Ice and Fire #2)

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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 42 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2000

    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 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.

    8 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Gay Rainbow Knights? Really? He's not kidding? Wow.

    First of all, the author is fantastically talented. Of that, there is no doubt. Martin's problem is that his world-view is tragically old-fashioned. In these books you will find the following cliches: The most beautiful and richest people in the world come from the blonde, blue-eyed faction. The most backward, uncivilized people have brown-to-black skin and live all-together, far away, in one big non-white clan. One of the blonde, light-eyed people ends-up ruling all of those backward non-white people, and suddenly, they organize an ambitious plan! There are gay people, but only the women have sex. Well, Martin only describes the lesbian sex. Here's the kicker - the gay knights form a new faction ... the Order of the Rainbow Guard. Yes, that's right. Rainbow. Gay. Gay Rainbow Knights. Not Kidding. Aside from those over-the-top over-used themes, the books are beautifully written and the plot is masterfully complex. I had to grit my teeth whenever I came across the cliches, but I made it through.

    2 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 29, 2013

    This book is decent, but it has been out for how long? And you'r

    This book is decent, but it has been out for how long? And you're charging $9.99 for it? Way to exploit people, what a joke. Martin is borderline senile at this point, took him 5 years to write his last book .
    The show is all right, yet you can tell his books can't even keep up with the speed of the plot even though he is one of the producers. Shame on him. 

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2013

    MEDCAT DEN

    IceClan

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2013

    "A second time around"

    After viewing the TV production of Book Two, I enjoyed rereading the book even more than the first time. Same for Book 3

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    If you like the good guys almost all destroyed or on the run. T

    If you like the good guys almost all destroyed or on the run. The bad guys in power mainly, except one or two die. You will love this book. Almost every one in this book is a scum bag. Unless you are good and you die.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2011

    Why no availability on Nook?

    Hey BN? W T F ? Why can't nook owners buy this book for their devices without having to buy the entire bundle? I already bought the first book, so I don't want to pay for it again. Also your "bundle" feature for the nook sucks because it downloads as a single file, in this case a single 3500+ page file. I see that it is available individually on the Kindle, and I know that it was available individually on the nook up until a few weeks ago. Between games like this and the fact that the nook freezes up and cannot be used for days at a time, I'm ready to dump it for the Kindle. No wonder your company is going into bankruptcy. You're running off the last few loyal customers you have.

    PS. The 1 star rating is for BN's crappy nook policies. If this book is as good as the first, it is a 5 star.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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