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

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 August 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Great Book and Series but dont read if you suffer from Depression

    Let me first state that I love this series. These books are wonderful for escaping on a snowy night. The characters, good or bad, continue to forge a place in your heart. The books have everything you would want from a work of fiction, except.

    This series is sad. Without any specific spoilers I can say that there is not one thing that has happened in this series that makes you feel good. Even when a character falls in love there is an underlying issue that makes the love a bad idea. The characters you care about are put through one horrific event after another and most of the characters are children. I know the series is far from finished but at this point, every single chapter you can rest assured that the characters you love will have nothing good happen to them.

    Read this series but take a break in between books. There is no rush as the author has very little interest in finishing the series quickly. Otherwise, the chapters begin to feel like a depressing grind.

    29 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2010

    Good stuff but complicated!

    This is not easy reading! You might need a score card to keep track of who's who.

    I like his style of writing and I couldn't wait to start the next book!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Stirs the Passions of the Soul

    Martin pens a worthy follow up to his fantasy epic, "A Game of Thrones," with "A Clash of Kings." Mainly set on the land of Westros, several men fight for the crown of the seven kingdoms. Will there be a winner? In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the mother of dragons, seeks to find a way to return to Westros. The story opens with the main characters observing a comet in the sky. Each has their own personal interpretations of the comet - good and bad. What I liked about Martin's use of the comet was how he evoked "an impending sense" about what was going to occur and what was inevitable. This tone lingers in the reader's mind as the story enfolds. Stannis, the previous king's rightful heir, has turned to sorcery and believes the time is right to attack Westros and secure his throne. With his backers and sorceress, he sets out to accomplish his inevitable mission. In King's Landing, the 13-year-old king, Joffery, demonstrates cruel brutality and little concern for the subjects who follow him. It's up to his uncle, Tyrion Lannister, to defend the city and carry out justice. Tyrion has quite a challenge considering the obstacles in his path. Tyrion's father, Tywin, fights north of King's Landing, but is unable to defeat Robb Stark's forces or secure his son, Jaime's, freedom. Catelyn Stark journeys to Storm's End and has an adventure before returning to Riverrun where she is determined to support her son, Robb. An explosive confrontation with Jaime Lannister towards the end of the story settles several issues for her. In the south, Renly Barathron makes plans to attack King's Landing, but first he must deal with his brother, Stannis. In the far the far east, Daenerys leads her Khalhaser through barren land before finding hope in the city of Quarth. Martin's story is told from several perspectives, giving the novel its epic fantasy feel. The writing is sharp and never lingers, moving from event to event at a crisp pace. Martin's characters give the story its heart. For Daenerys, her character continues to grow in inner strength and resolve. Theon's deception is heartbreaking, while Tyrion's honest approach as the King's Hand had me rooting for him despite the darkness behind the Lannister's bright colors. "A Clash of Kings" stirs a passion within the soul, making the reader feel as if they're a knight in Westros. The only drawback, while minor for me, were the open plot points at the end of the novel. While several ends were tied up, new ones developed. There's no feeling of satisfaction at the end just a restless anxiety that promises to continue with "A Storm of Swords." Martin, though, has me hooked, so I'll read to find out what happens next. Some, however, may find the unresolved ending frustrating. Who will be the king of the 7 kingdoms? Joffery? Renly? Stannis? Balon Greyjoy? Robb Stark

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2010

    in the process...

    I'm about half-way into this book. The first book in the series just blew me away! It's a long series and the second book so far is really creating a thick plot... Martin is truly the best of all the modern fantasy writers & one of the best ever!
    I already have book #3 & #4 and will buy #5... if he ever releases it!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2012

    Good but not as great...

    This was a good book, but not as great as the first one. There were parts that I simply found boring and we were a little more behind the scenes in this book. However, there are plots within plots and schemes. We see who some of the characters really are in this book. Cant wait to read the next in the series.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    Great Series

    Be ready to spend many hours sorting things out in Westeros. Amazing writing, but takes a while to get used to sheer number of main plotlines and characters. Cant wait for this book in the HBO series in April.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2014

    recommended

    drags in places

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2014

    GOOD

    GOOD READING

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    Not just for Geek-girls

    I am loving this series, and I am not really a Fantasy, Sci-Fi reader. Of course I read J.R.R. Tolkien as a pre-teen and those "important" books like 'Brave new world' and '1984' but I mainly stick to literary novels, or non-fiction unless I want a trashy quick read. But this is different. George R.R. Martin has managed to capture a world in a looking-glass so that we may go inside and immerse ourselves in a land of nobility and dragons written so well, at times you think you are reading a diary from the medieval era. The characters are so well defined and human with weakness, vanity, love, pride, duty, and personality struggling together and against one another to create believable characters that compel you to love them, hate them, cheer them and ultimately care about what happens to them. So much so that you come to trust in this fantasy world, it becomes real. I will read the whole series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Books are Better than the Series

    If you like the Game of Thrones series, you'll love the books! So much more to them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2013

    Round two

    It keeps you on your toes.

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  • Posted July 15, 2013

    A real page turner!

    Very mysterious book with lots of unexpected plot twists. Martin keeps you guessing and always does things unexpected. The strongest part of this book is definitely the wide range of viewpoints working together to create one coherent narrative. This book is quite graphic at times so it may not be appropriate for some readers. Also, although this is a fantasy series, this particular book does not have a great deal of magic, mythic creatures etc. That being said, I would still recommend this book to someone looking for a compelling read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2013

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2013

    So Good!

    As I keep reading this series I fall in love with certain characters and not so much with others. I didn't think this book was as good as the 1st one, but since I fell in love with certain characters and wanted to know what would happen to them so badly, the book urged me on. On to book 3!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2013

    Excellent continuation of the story

    I haven't seen the show, but the books are terrific.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2013

    Pretty good

    I must say that this book was not as good as the first one. The story was good but could be captured in 250 pages not over 800. Some parts were really just lots of bla blas and it was hard to go through them. Over all... stories of all important people from first book was great so it makes me want to buy third book just to find out what will happen to them.

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  • Posted December 28, 2012

    recommended

    very good extremely hard to put down. don't start if you have chores to do

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2012

    Really liked

    Well written

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2012

    Very good.

    Took me some time to get through, but it was worth it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2012

    Love this series

    Love this series. A very intelligent story. Twists and turns through each character leaving me to want more. Time to purchase book 3.

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