I finally finished the second installment in George R.R.Martin’s epic Song of Fire and Ice series, which not only means that I can watch the second series of Game of Thrones but that I am desperate to read the next book. I shall try and write this review with as few spoilers as possible, but apologies if one creeps in.
A Clash of Kings picks up where the first book ends, with havoc spreading across Westros, a vicious fight for the Iron Throne and the growing fear that Winter is well and truly on its way. There are four contenders for the throne: a northern king, two brothers who both think they are the legitimate heir and the ‘son’ of the previous king. All four are determined to succeed at any cost and a great many battles, defeats and triumphs ensue. Needless to say the fight is still raging at the end of the novel, although some of the contenders are certainly out of the race. As with the first novel each chapter of A Clash of Kings focuses on a different character, mainly the Stark family. The Stark children, the five legitimate ones and Jon Snow ‘the bastard’ are divided across the country and throughout the novel we read of their personal struggles to get back home, protect their home and family or aid in protecting the Kingdom from what lies beyond The Wall. Other key characters from the previous novel also return and we glimpse the lives of Tyrion Lannister the Imp, Theon Greyjoy, the Starks former ward and Daenerys Targaryen, the young Mother of the Dragons who fled from Westros after her family were slaughtered, who hopes to return one day.
My short synopsis does not do the novel or the series any justice at all as it is an incredible, epic read and I feel it will continue to be one of my favourites throughout the next few years. I have spoken before of my admiration of Martin’s writing style and easy it is to become engaged and immersed in the world he has created. I have a love/hate relationship with the chapter style; I love how we get an insight into each character’s life, but I hate the cliffhanger endings that leave me desperate to read on and get to the next chapter for that character. I feel this narrative style is what makes such a long, long novel an easy and engaging read as the action is constantly moving and you don’t get any boring overkill on what a certain character is up to during the day etc.
As with any great read there were lots of shocking moments and cliffhangers. I always try and end my reading at the end of a chapter and I know I was crazy shocked at one point regarding some sudden deaths that I just couldn’t put the book down, despite knowing I needed to sleep. As with the first book it was a real ‘no, I can’t have just read that’ moment, that I wanted to keep reading to prove myself wrong. And did I? Well you will have to read it yourself. I’m sure those who have read the book will know exactly what I am talking about. Perhaps if there was one thing I felt the book was lacking is that we didn’t see a lot of Daenerys and I am quite keen to see how her character will progress.
I am as eager as ever to read the next book, but I think it might have to wait in line as I have a whole stack of books that have been gathering dust on the to be read pile that I must see to first. On the plus side, I have the second series still to watch, so if I get Game of Thrones withdrawal symptoms I know exactly what to do.