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A Clash of Kings (HBO Tie-in Edition): A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two Mass Market Paperback – March 6, 2012
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How does he do it? George R.R. Martin's high fantasy weaves a spell sufficient to seduce even those who vowed never to start a doorstopper fantasy series again (the first book--A Game of Thrones--runs over 700 pages). A Clash of Kings is longer and even more grim, but Martin continues to provide compelling characters in a vividly real world.
The Seven Kingdoms have come apart. Joffrey, Queen Cersei's sadistic son, ascends the Iron Throne following the death of Robert Baratheon, the Usurper, who won it in battle. Queen Cersei's family, the Lannisters, fight to hold it for him. Both the dour Stannis and the charismatic Renly Baratheon, Robert's brothers, also seek the throne. Robb Stark, declared King in the North, battles to avenge his father's execution and retrieve his sister from Joffrey's court. Daenerys, the exiled last heir of the former ruling family, nurtures three dragons and seeks a way home. Meanwhile the Night's Watch, sworn to protect the realm from dangers north of the Wall, dwindle in numbers, even as barbarian forces gather and beings out of legend stalk the Haunted Forest.
Sound complicated? It is, but fine writing makes this a thoroughly satisfying stew of dark magic, complex political intrigue, and horrific bloodshed. --Nona Vero --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
The second novel of Martin's titanic Song of Ice and Fire saga (A Game of Thrones, 1996) begins with Princess Arya Stark fleeing her dead father's capital of King's Landing, disguised as a boy. [...] In between [the beginning and the end], her actions map the further course of a truly epic fantasy set in a world bedecked with 8000 years of history, beset by an imminent winter that will last 10 years and bedazzled by swords and spells wielded to devastating effect by the scrupulous and unscrupulous alike. Standout characters besides Arya include Queen Cersei, so lacking in morals that she becomes almost pitiable; the queen's brother, the relentlessly ingenious dwarf Tyrion Lannister; and Arya's brother, Prince Brandon, crippled except when he runs with the wolves in his dreams. The novel is notable particularly for the lived-in quality of its world, created through abundant detail that dramatically increases narrative length even as it aids suspension of disbelief; for the comparatively modest role of magic (although with one ambitious young woman raising a trio of dragons, that may change in future volumes)... Martin may not rival Tolkien or Robert Jordan, but he ranks with such accomplished medievalists of fantasy as Poul Anderson and Gordon Dickson. Here, he provides a banquet for fantasy lovers with large appetites—and this is only the second course of a repast with no end in sight. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top customer reviews
The main appeal of the books for me is actually two-fold. First, I love to read. Second, reading the book helps plug some of the gaps. Unfortunately, there are times when I get a bit lost watching the series. I have a hard time keeping up with who is who and what is exactly going on. The major characters I can handle, but the ones that are a bit more minor can get lost in my crowded mind. So when I read one of the books after I’ve watched one of the seasons, I come to such revelations as “So that’s where Stannis came from. He’s Robert’s brother. So that’s why he thinks he should be king.” And so on. I’m sure many can follow along better than I can, but this is an area where I struggle.
Now that’s not to say that the books can be a bit challenging as well. Especially when it comes to characters. Author George R.R. Martin seems to have some sort of obsessive compulsive disorder to list the name of every single minor character that he introduces. Even if they don’t stay in the story for very long. Is there anyone out there reading these books that can keep track of all the different “maesters”? It’s a bit of small sin, but a rather irritating one. Sure, the author provides a “who’s who” in the back of the book, but who really wants to flip back and forth that frequently? Especially when one is reading on an e-book.
Since the HBO series is so popular, I’m guessing that more have watched the series than have read the books. I would recommend all that have watched to read as well. It really is a great story. I must also say that the casting of the characters for the series seems impeccable. It’s really hard, for example, to read about Tyrian Lannister and not immediately see Peter Dinklage in the role.
From what I understand, the narrative in the books and the HBO series don’t exactly coincide, although after the second book, I would have to conclude that at this point the similarities are very strong, and I can’t see any real discrepancies. Perhaps this happens a bit later. If I’m not mistaken, the author has been stuck on book six for several years as I write this review, and the producers of the show got tired of waiting, so they just went ahead and started continuing their own version of the story without him. Probably a good thing. There are still those that are hoping the author finishes what he started, however. The books are still extremely rewarding, even if the story never gets officially “finished”.
The first three books in The Song of Ice and Fire series knocked my socks off, and I didn’t even read them until after I had seen the first two seasons of the Game of Thrones HBO series. Since then I’ve accumulated six hardcovers in the Westeros universe, and six seasons on disc. Only two seasons left of the TV show, thirteen episodes, and Game of Thrones is history. I’m already looking for my next favorite TV series.
When I’m not watching episodic storytelling I’m reading, everything from nonfiction to westerns, but at least half of my time is spent reading sci-fi and fantasy.
Sci-fi and fantasy authors I like include Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, Paolo Bacigalupi, Ray Bradbury, Orson Scott Card, Arthur C. Clarke, Earnest Cline, Suzanne Collins, Abe Evergreen, Diana Gabaldon, William R. Forstchen, Joe Haldeman, Robert A. Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Hugh Howey, George Martin, Larry Niven, Andre Norton, George Orwell, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, John Scalzi, John Steakley, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Andy Weir.