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

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

by George R. R. Martin
4.6 3195

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A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3195 reviews.
JGolomb More than 1 year ago
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
GloveSlipper More than 1 year ago
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.
thecollector0 More than 1 year ago
this is a good but very advanced series with many characters that you want to follow to find out more of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as well as the others in the series, and again cannot wait to read the next one.
SallyPinkReviews More than 1 year ago
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
red14 More than 1 year ago
A Clash of Kings is a fantastic book abd a great addition to the Song of Ice and Fire series. A must read for Game of Thrones fans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this entire series. Just dont get attached to anyone
redfan More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
ionestjames More than 1 year ago
A Clash of Kings is one of my favourite books of all time. As I may have mentioned, I am greatly interested in The War of the Roses. This book series is a war between the Starks and the Lannisters of the Westeros, and is loosely based on the war which took place between the Yorks and the Lancasters of England. The books are rather long and I find, like most novels these days, that the beginning doesn't really grip me. Martin's prologues tend to be a little dry and rather long-winded. 29 pages in this case. But, once you get into the actual story, its gripping and there are so many twists and turns that I actually had to put the book down and rethink what had just happened. There are characters you will love and hate, Catelyn and Sansa tend to whine a lot, but their chapters are quite short. The other thing that I love about this series is that, instead of it being like "Chapter 1" and "Chapter 300," each chapter is written from the point of view of a character from the book. This book contains accounts from the perspective of: Arya Stark, Sansa Stark, Bran Stark, Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Theon Greyjoy, Catelyn Stark, and Davos the Onion Knight. Each character has multiple chapters, so you aren't given so much information at one time that it becomes confusing. I think that is an extremely unique quality about this book. I would definitely recommend this book and book series to those who love fantasy. As George R. R. Martin put it, "I wanted to focus less on the magic of fantasy, and more on the men."
pen21 More than 1 year ago
They just get better! I read this book to finish it before the second season of the HBO series ended. This is a great series to revisit. There is great world building and a rich cast of characters. Arya stands out for me in this book for her bravery in this book. In this book Arya's character really shines for someone so young. I definitely recommend this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Didn't want it to end
Historienne More than 1 year ago
After writing such a smashingly successful beginning to a series such as A Game of Thrones was, many authors would have had difficulty in meeting the expectations of the rabid fandom for a sequel. Happily, though, Martin is too good an author to drop the ball on us as A Song of Ice and Fire continues. This second book in the saga is every bit as good as the first ... better even! The dynamic use of multiple narrative perspectives ranging from the youthful voices to the older, more world-weary continues. New POV characters such as Davos are introduced while fast favorites like Arya and Jon from the previous story return. Not only do we have more people to hear from, but they are moving further afield from one another, expanding the influence of the story to demonstrate how the wars of lions, direwolves and dragons reach to all corners of the world. It is a staggeringly broad story with a vast list of characters and factions, but Martin's deft writing keeps the reader on-track. If there is confusion it is likely that it is caused by intentional misdirection on the author's part in order to work through an important story arc ... sit tight and let it work itself out rather than getting frustrated. It's worth it! I came to take more of an interest in Catelyn's narrative this time around, but still couldn't warm to Danaerys. Arya and Sansa continued to be absorbing in their different ways, and Jon was (of course) arresting as always. I must confess, though, that Tyrion's is my favorite POV to read because of his humor and ability to find and use his own personal strengths despite all of the humiliation and cruelty he suffers at the hands of those who should love and value him. Each character is significant both individually and as part of the whole. They have their personal quirks and vices, but their unique outlooks can allow a view which presents the good in some of the least-loved characters, and the darkness in the ones we love the most. Again, a wonderful trip through Westeros. Bravo!
KatieCat6 More than 1 year ago
I truly can't put any of George R.R. Martin's books down once they're started. He keeps your mind constantly wondering and worrying about what's going to happen next. No character is safe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This author has the ability to take you to another world and make you believe in it. The rollercoaster ride that is A Clash of Kings has more twists, turns, betrayals and folks that were thought to be dead showing up alive than an episode of Dallas. Flawed redeemable characters keep you guessing what will happen next...and guessing wrong! Love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous 11 days ago
Anonymous 18 days ago
This wasn't as captivating as the first book but still interesting enough to make me want to finish. I am going to hold off before diving into third though, I'm not as excited to continue as I was with first book. I'll finish series though eventually.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Book 2 did not pull me in like book 1 did, but I’m going to keep on going!
Anonymous 9 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ruthsic More than 1 year ago
A Clash of Kings continues the story with the war of the five kings developing in Westeros. At the end of A Game of Thrones, Robb had declared himself King in the North, Stannis and Renly had fled to Dragonstone and Storm's End, respectively, Joffrey is just getting started with his sadistic rule, and the whole kingdom is holding its breath. The start of A Clash of Kings was slow, to be blunt, and I was so bored until like the first third of the book arrived - there is a lot of talking, and not much action going on. Considering A Game of Thrones managed to drop important backstory without boring me, I was kind of disappointed with A Clash of Kings for not being able to do so. After the first third, though, things improved and the plot developed to the main arc - the war of the five kings, with Greyjoy entering the fray. This book, while technically mostly a battle book, is more about the subtle political maneuvers and blackmailing - shady stuff, basically. And also a lot of grey morality - there are characters who you think are all honorable and stuff, but their idea of morality and the contemporary idea of morality are distant cousins. For example, Stannis, who seemed like the least to bend to anything, is now embracing a new religion. By the way, religion is starting to gain a foothold in the politics of this saga. In the first, it was like - all religions, even those besides the Seven, are practiced in harmony with others. But now, it is developing into a free-for-all, with the religious ideologies also playing a part in the alliances. Meanwhile, we still get a lot of character-centric arcs. The great thing about this series is that there are many individual stories (that are complete in their own way) threaded into this giant main arc, and they sometimes intersect but often they are also independent. Catelyn and House Tully feel independent from the main war, even though they are related to people in the main war. Arya's story also feels independent as she lives mostly with the peasants during this book, presenting a different view of the rivalry between the houses - the peasants don't care who is squabbling with whom, as long as they aren't caught up in the crossfire. We get new character POVs in Davos Seaworth and Theon Greyjoy, two diametrically opposite characters whose lives are running in different directions from their lords. The plot is, for the most part, captivating with the exception of the start and the battle at King's Landing. Roy Doytrice is an excellent narrator but sometimes I can't guess the age of the character when he gives even a 14 year old the same bass in the voice like an elderly character. In any case, though, his voice acting is excellent and gives an emotional weight to the performance. Meanwhile, other problems still linger from the first, namely the blatant use of sexual violence as a plot device. I am tired of encountering a mention of rape in nearly every few pages, and it is getting too old now. Yes, we get it - the kingdom is horrible to women, and even though we have strong women characters, they are threatened by the possibility of sexual violence the most. I would like to mention a scene where Tyrion calls out Joeffrey for this - saying he would never treat a boy servant the same as he was treating Sansa. Overall, an interesting addition to the series, but probably not as amazing as the first.
Alana Kent More than 1 year ago
A Clash of Kings, the second installment in the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, won the Locus Award for Best Novel in 1999, and has continued to amaze readers ever since its publication in 1998. With a complex universe not unlike the one Tolkien created in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, A Clash of Kings delivers an intricate tale of passion, animosity, destruction, and doom that promises to have readers on the edge of their seats. Martin skillfully weaves together the strands of multiple storylines, writing about characters who are thousands of miles apart yet closely connected with one another. In northern Westeros, Jon Snow ventures beyond the Wall with his comrades in the Night’s Watch to learn more about the humans and creatures that have begun to ventures south. Simultaneously, in an attempt to gain independent rule for the North, Snow’s half-brother, Robb Stark, struggles with leading a rebellion against King Joffrey, who also faces threats from two other contenders for the Iron Throne, Stannis and Renly Baratheon. Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen plans to raise an army to take back the throne her father once sat on. With the Watch’s expedition beyond the Wall, Westeros in the midst of civil war, and Daenerys’ plans for conquest, there is never a dull moment. While A Clash of Kings is certainly quite a long read with little being resolved, Martin’s novel remains eventful and exciting at every turn. The multiple points of view from which the tale is told makes it easier, in a way, to keep reading. For example, every time I got to a chapter told from Bran’s perspective, I gritted my teeth and continued reading, knowing by the end, I would be one chapter closer to hearing about Daenerys again. Additionally, hearing the perspectives of different characters increases the chances of empathizing with a character (or multiple characters). I, and I’m sure other readers as well, hate when I can’t relate whatsoever to the main character. By having characters who go through very different ordeals and are very different in personality, I believe it’s far easier to find a character one can relate to. For example, for some of the chapters, we see the story through the eyes of Arya and Sansa Stark, two sisters who could not be more different. Some readers will relate to tough, stubborn Arya, while others may share the personality of courteous, compliant Sansa. Truly, Martin’s characters, even if occasionally despicable, are (almost) all redeemable in some way. For instance, Queen Regent Cersei, a sociopathic and narcissistic woman who both characters and most readers abhor, would do anything to protect her children, proving her goals to not be completely self-motivated. Of course she wants a good life for herself, but even more so, a good life for Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen. Martin’s characters are anything but one-dimensional, and his style of writing makes them come to life. As much as I love A Clash of Kings, it’s not for everyone, namely readers who have a difficult time paying attention when they read or have trouble remembering names and places, as they are thrown around so often that it is easy to lose track of what a certain character is doing. For readers who love fantasy and the feeling of being consumed by a novel, this is the book for you. What Martin created in the Song of Ice and Fire series is something unparalleled in the genre, and the included volumes are works of art in themselves.
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