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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire book 2)


[SPOILER ALERT:  A CLASH OF KINGS is the second book of George R.R. Martin’s frackin’ EPIC A Song of Ice and Fire series, so if you haven’t read A Game of Thrones, or watched the HBO series, or you HAVE watched the HBO series, but are waiting for the second season to tell you what happens next…well, I’m just warning you…I try not to be spoilery, but I have a feeling that this review probably can’t help it.  Yeah, it’s pretty spoilery.]

[Also, a note to readers—I would recommend reading the Appendixes in the books before starting the books—They aren’t necessary, but they do give a good history and background of who’s who, without being spoilery.]

Do you know how nice it is to be in possession of a 4-book ebundle????  Super nice.  Because not only did I not have to worry about a store being open in the middle of the night when I NEEDED to know if Arya makes it to safety; if Sansa will survive in the Lannister’s clutches; will Jon find his uncle Benjen, will the Dothrakis flock back to Daenerys and unleash their wrath against the Seven Kingdoms???  Not to mention Robb is King in the North!?!??!  What??!?!?  And —*rolls eyes*—Joffrey is *King* at Kings Landing…And what about Joffrey’s absentee “uncles” Stannis and Renly—Will they take back the throne???  Can Tyrion control Joffrey and Cersei in Kings Landing, or will he just be the next in a very unlucky streak of Hands (advisor) to the king???  And will Arya ever find her direwolf again???  Oh…and Bran and Rickon, and Catelyn, etc…  But back to the magic of having a 4-book ebundle and not only not having to wait for the next book, or even have to walk the distance to my bookshelf to grab it, but the other *teensy weensy* little bit of awesomeness that means I don’t have to figure out the logistics of carry around, holding, or propping up  a 3, 483 page book.  Or even a miniscule (by comparison) 850 page book.  *sigh* There are definitely some perks to reading ebooks.

A couple changes from A Game of Thrones, A Game of Thrones was seen from the viewpoints of Arya (Stark), Bran (Stark), Catelyn (Stark), Daenerys, Eddard(Stark), Jon (Snow/*Stark*), Sansa (Stark), and Tyrion.  It was interesting to see how detailed George R.R. Martin is in creating his characters, as can be seen at the beginning of the book with all the characters (except Daenerys)  living or arriving at Winterfell…and then see what a genius stroke it was as the Stark family is suddenly split apart in different directions—First Ned, Arya, and Sansa to the Castle at Kings Landing, and Jon and Tyrion to The Wall, while Catelyn and Bran remain at Winterfell.  Then Catelyn is forced to leave Winterfell, and Tyrion leaves the wall…  And as characters travel back and forth, their viewpoints shed more light on certain situations, Martin deftly showing us where to look and then taking it away.

In A Clash of Kings, the viewpoints are widened evermore, as Bran remains at Winterfell, Catelyn follows Rob to war, Tyrion and Sansa reside at Kings Landing, while Arya makes her escape, and Jon ventures beyond The Wall, Daenerys, her dragons, and her Dothrakis making their ways across Dothraki lands and the Free Cities.  Sadly Ned did not make it past book 1, and so we no longer see his viewpoint, however Martin has added two more—Theon Greyjoy, former ward/hostage of Eddard Stark, whom Robb sends as an envoy back to his father’s—Balon Greyjoy’s—Islands.  *oops*  And we also meet Davos, a smuggler-come-knight who follows *King* Stannis’s march on the throne.

Well, if A Game of Thrones was EPIC (and it WAS!!!), then A Clash of Kings was TITANIC.  And by Titanic, I mean grand sweeping movie (story)—won lots of pretty Oscars…but the boat still sank.  And when I say the boat sank, I’m not talking about the story, which was AMAZING and had me racing page after page, even after I was 1,643 pages in!!!  *hmmm*—Ok, this is probably a really awkward comparison, but it makes sense in my head, so I’m going to go with it…  Titanic=grand sweeping story.  A Clash of Kings=grand sweeping story.  Titanic=boat sinks.  A Clash of Kings=everyone gets royally screwed and some boats actually sink.  The big difference is that when I went to see Titanic, I wasn’t surprised that the boat sank.  While I was reading A Clash of Kings, I expected SOMEBODY to come out ahead.—There were mini cliffhangers all over the place, Martin taking you from one battle to another, to battles of wills and minds vs. battles of swords and might and even sorcery—I had no idea which way it was going to go, and I know this is a pretty long series, so I wasn’t necessarily expecting the outcomes I was *hoping* for, but I never expected heros and villains and shady-gray characters alike to all get their a$$e$ hand to them…by each other.  And in that respect, I guess that’s just war.  There were ups and downs for everyone throughout the book, but everyone got their icebergs handed to them at the end.

And after all that…I probably should have been disappointed, but honestly it just made me want the next book that much more.  *A Storm of Swords*


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