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A Clash of Kings (HBO Tie-in Edition) (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

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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  • 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2014

    Great

    Good addition to the series

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  • Posted December 12, 2013

    Timeless Storytelling Sometimes we take for granted the ease in

    Timeless Storytelling

    Sometimes we take for granted the ease in which entertainment comes to us. We live in an era where books, movies, television and music is literally at our fingertips. The push of a button or two gives us access to any of these mediums. With so many new books entering the market, why do so many of us choose to read a series that began over fifteen years ago? Good writing, intriguing stories and relatable characters — that’s why.

    This is a difficult book to review because it is one part of a larger whole. Those skillful hands that began stitching the patchwork story in the first novel nimbly continue, giving us, at times, a clearer understanding of events. New threads are being added and we aren’t sure what image they are going to show us when all is said and done. But each new strand rivets us to the story and we become emotionally invested.

    As I read A Clash of Kings, many things popped out at me from a writing standpoint. Martin has populated these books with a multitude of characters. In truth, I can’t name them all. It’s a no-no in the publishing world to do such a thing, so how does this author get away with it? The main characters are extraordinary, that’s how. Arya Stark, Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen (to name only a few) are memorable. They have faults and virtues, they are multi-faceted, ever growing and changing.

    The words on the page are at times beautiful. Even while characters are hacking each others heads off, Martin commands the language expertly. For example:

    “The long low note lingered at the edge of hearing. The sentries at the ring wall stood still in their footsteps, breath frosting and heads turned toward the west. As the sound of the horn faded, even the wind ceased to blow. Men rolled from their blankets and reached for spears and swordbelts, moving quietly, listening. A horse whickered and was hushed. For a heartbeat it seemed as if the whole forest were holding its breath. The brothers of the Night’s Watch waited for a second blast, praying they should not hear it, fearing that they would.”

    This passage is written in such a way to allow the reader to see and hear what’s happening. As a result, the anxiety seeps into you as it does the characters.

    This world and its inhabitants combine familiar and mysterious elements written in such a way that it’s as if we’ve lived there all our lives. I found myself torn between wanting to read constantly until I’d finished and holding back so that I could remain immersed in the world for as long as possible. I should have the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series soon. I’m ready to continue the journey, anxious even.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2013

    Forest

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2013

    Amazing book by an amazing author!!!

    Amazing book by an amazing author!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    Awesome story!

    I love that it continues from the point that the first book of the series left off and each and every character's story is so intricately written, I'm amazed how Martin can write such specific and detailed stories!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2013

    To Commenter #15

    Commenter 15, DA-FUK YOU TALKIN BOUT?
    NO MARTIN DOES NOT PRODUCE THE SHOW AND BTW, THE BOOKS WERE NOT MADE FOR THE SHOW YOU ASS, THE SHOW IS BASED ON THE BOOKS!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2013

    ON TO THE NEXT

    Can not put this thing down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2013

    Great book! Really enjoyed this as the sequel to Game of Thrones

    Great book! Really enjoyed this as the sequel to Game of Thrones. Just can't believe how many characters there are ...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2013

    Love this series

    This series is one of the best i have ever read. The character development is great. You really develop such strong emotions for these characters, be it hate or love. Can't wait to read book #3

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2013

    Loved It

    I came late to the Song of Ice and Fire series so I have read these books back to back - they are all amazing. I hope they continue on for a long time.

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  • Posted June 14, 2013

    highly recommended

    I loved this series and read them all in 3 weeks!! A fabulous story and cast of characters. I am waiting for book #6.

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  • Posted May 21, 2013

    Big fan of the series

    I'm not sure what I can say that doesn't come out as squealing about Tyrion and how awesome he is and holy cow, how much crap does he have to endure?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2013

    Loved it

    One of the greatest series ever. Be prepared for a lot of charectors.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2013

    Gdgj

    ?tu b yufjyyuyucbtu

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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