A Clash of Kings

10 Jun


Author: George R.R. Martin

Genre: Fantasy

First Published: 1998

Page Count: 969

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Note: Book 2 of A Song of Ice and Fire series

With the addition of new characters, settings, and conflict, the second book in Martin’s epic series fails to disappoint.


*New alternative views to conflict     *Character point-of-view chapters still effective     *Good flow between plot and sub-plots


*Too many sigils      *More minor character names to memorize (or ignore)

     “Crowns do queer things to the heads beneath them.” Within the Seven Kingdoms, beyond a seemingly invulnerable wall, and even across the sea, many are rising up to win themselves a crown. It seems that fear, gold, and family are worth the sacrifice if it means a chance at sovereignty in these troubled times. Characters, whether innocent or corrupt, live and die as a result of this “clash of kings.” And yet, the troubles of man are small compared to the darkness and power that is finding new life within the bodies of creatures thought to be extinct.

     A Clash of Kings seamlessly follows its predecessor, A Game of Thrones, with a book that does not deviate from the formula that made the first book so successful. What convinced me that this book had avoided the “curse of the sequal” was that Martin’s unique method of using different characters to give their perspective for each chapter still works in this novel. My fear was that one character’s story might become flat and this would make reading their chapter a trial each time it appeared. Luckily, that is not the case.  Each character has a distinct journey that gives the reader something to look forward to and, along the way, major plot points help link all the characters of the Seven Kingdoms together. I also enjoyed the fact that the magic and mysticism that was hinted at in the previous novel is fleshed out more in this book. However, the focus of this book is mainly war.

     The first book nicely lays out the groundwork for the readers so that we can understand the complex relationships between family members, lords, and the culture of the world Martin created. It is in A Clash of Kings that the conflicts take shape into an impressive battle between two warring houses. While the battle was well done, I found it difficult to keep track of the names of all the lords serving under the two main factions, as well as the name of boats and the symbols for each house. This is something that happens a lot in Martin’s series because he has so many characters and houses. While this does add to the depth of the world, it is more then a little confusing when you are trying to remember who is on whose side during the battle. And even though their is an appendix at the back of the book of the houses, I got tired of constantly flipping to the back during the first book. With even more new houses and characters, it’s not likely my lazy butt would choose to do that now or in the upcoming five books.

     However, negatives aside, A Clash of Kings is another triumph for Martin. It is difficult to write a book where every word has meaning, and every character a prescence. Fortunately, Martin wrote two.

*TV Adaptation: (Game of Thrones Season 2 HBO 2012)


6 Responses to “A Clash of Kings”

  1. Redhead June 11, 2011 at 7:38 am #

    It’s been a while since I read these, but I think book 2 was my favorite so far. Yes, a ton of new characters are introduced (wait to till you get 3 & 4! they have even more!), but i still felt the plot was easy to get into and easy to follow. Book 1 is so much set up and introduction that it was nice in book 2 to get to the meat of everything.


    • Anne June 11, 2011 at 10:53 am #

      I can’t even imagine all the new characters that are going to be introduced in the next books, even beyond 3 and 4! But I definitely agree that book 2 is where the story really starts. I don’t think I have a favorite yet; maybe I’ll have to read through the others but both books have pushed their way into my top favorite books of all time. I here book 3 is a doozy by the way, lots of depressing stuff? I’m scared and excited lol.


  2. Celise Winters July 1, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    I’ve been thinking about reading this series for awhile, but I’m hesitant to start it, since I usually stick to Young Adult, and war is not one of my favorite themes. Nevertheless, I love your review! I will be waiting for what you think of the third book. Good luck finishing it!(I’ve seen it in bookstores, it is HUGE!)


    • Anne July 1, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

      I was hesitant about starting the series as well because I usually don’t read books that are so deep into fantasy, but I feel like this series is very accessible for all types of readers. And yes the 3rd book is huge but I’ve got about 300 pages left and it’s really heating up so I hope to finish soon!


  3. Eddie Baisey September 9, 2011 at 1:50 am #

    I have a Blogger blog that is hooked up to my personal website. The actual blog is linked off of the homepage. I would like to know if there’s a widget or something that I can put on my website’s homepage that will show my latest blog posts. Not the whole post, but maybe just the headline and a link to go to my blog..


    • Anne September 9, 2011 at 9:35 am #

      I’m not sure. I just used the widget that comes with the Beuno theme which shows my latest reviews. My blog isn’t self hosted so I only use what wordpress provides. Sorry I couldn’t be much help. Maybe you could try the WordPress forums?


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