TITLE: A Clash of Kings
AUTHOR: George R.R. Martin
SERIES: A Song of Ice & Fire #2
PUBLISHER: Harper Voyager
PAGES: 880 (Paperback)
Just a note: i won't be posting until Saturday as the next few days are going to be extremely busy for me. Until then, take this review of a classic fantasy from acclaimed author George R.R. Martin
Okay, first things first: this book is so hard to write a review about, so don’t blame me if it sucks. On so many levels I absolutely loved it, and I can tell why it is held in such high regard by readers everywhere. But, on the other hand, some parts I really really didn’t like, at times I was even slightly disgusted (e.g. Theon feeling up his own sister…EW). However, how can I not give this book less than five stars when it is perhaps one of the most brilliant pieces of fantasy I’ve ever read?
Expanding on the already massive cast of A Game of Thrones, Martin introduces us to some previously mentioned characters, and some totally new ones. Adding their claims to the Iron Throne, Stannis Baretheon, his brother Renly, and the newly crowned ‘King of the North’ Robb Stark begin to make moves on the Lannisters at King’s Landing. We also hear from the exploits of Daenerys, Catelyn Stark, Theon Greyjoy, Arya Stark and Jon Snow, as they struggle through their own troubles in the far corners of Westeros and across the Narrow Sea.
Having such a huge ensemble of characters in each chapter, let alone each book, is perhaps one of the biggest things that can make or break this series. However, Martin masterfully juggles them all at the same time, spinning their own personal plights whilst somehow working it into the bigger picture. One of the greatest things about this book is that whilst each character helps build the story, reading their every single POV is not absolutely necessary. For instance, if you find, I don’t know…Davos, incredibly boring, you can skip his chapters and still continue on just fine. I will admit, I might have done that a few times myself.
What turns most people off these books, I think, is the author’s fearlessness of portraying it…if not realistically, then accurately. He doesn’t protect our precious little virtues, he gives us the niceties, and the pretty things, but he also doesn’t hesitate to dish up some perverse and slightly taboo stuff that our prude minds may find highly inappropriate.
Take, for example, the incident I mentioned earlier, Theon becoming attracted to his own sister (although he didn’t know who she was at the time). It’s things like that that seriously make reading the book awkward, and that’s only one chapter. A Clash of Kings contains incest, rape, graphic displays of a lack of morals, distasteful relations with underage girls, and other things I shudder to think of, if you violently disagree with reading any of that stuff; I would suggest you don’t go near this book.
Though there is tonnes more to say, I think I’m going to cut this review off here. Trust me, if I said everything I wanted to you’d be reading for hours. It may have its flaws, it’s discrepancies that some won’t like, but A Clash of Kings is an absolute marvel to consume and the whole series is an absolute masterpiece. If you want a true fantasy with wars and conspiracies, scandals and treacherous politics, false kings and the throne they would die for; then this is the book for you.