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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the story I've been waiting for my entire life.
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Quick Review (TL;DR)
These books are great. Expansive well described settings and extremely complex and detailed characters. You'll find yourself loving character you hated in a previous books and feeling compassion for psychopathic torturers.
Nothing happens the way you think it'll happen and no one you want to live lives. Everyone dies except for...
Published 2 months ago by Andres Consumer

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Empire Strikes Back . . .
What is it about the second story in a series? Why is it so difficult to keep anything but the prominent aspects of a series alive through the second feature into the third? Beautiful story elements and characters and relationships get lost in the fray of an author's attempt to get the story to some distant destination. Martin's second book is far from filler or fluff,...
Published on Jan. 2 2002 by AnalogKid


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the story I've been waiting for my entire life., July 18 2014
By 
Andres Consumer (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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Quick Review (TL;DR)
These books are great. Expansive well described settings and extremely complex and detailed characters. You'll find yourself loving character you hated in a previous books and feeling compassion for psychopathic torturers.
Nothing happens the way you think it'll happen and no one you want to live lives. Everyone dies except for the ones you expect to.
I would highly recommend reading this series as long as you don't mind waiting 1-2 decades as the following books are released.
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Full-er Review:

--If you want to support a story you enjoy and get the entire series at the same time you should buy this. --

All my life I've been waiting for something like this story. Every time I watched a movie where the good guy had some kind of distress or trouble and the bad guy seemed ahead, I still always knew who would win. As I am sure you all did. (granted this applies more to shows/movies than to books)

Every time a fairy tale ending occurred with the action hero walking into the sunset with his girl, I got tired. Every. Single. Time.

Good guy wins, bad guy loses/gets away and everyone is happily ever after. Sure there are some exceptions, but not really. Either everyone dies at the end or some other trope occurs. But the bad guy never wins over. Not at the end. Like some horribly boring, predictable formula.

This is the show I've been waiting for. Everything you think will happen doesn't happen. Or it does and then does a complete 180. No predictability at all. I absolutely love it.
You hate the character who paralyzes kids and then you grow to like them and empathize with their flaws as they grow into their character.

Your [favourite] characters die and others live, but you never know which or how they'll do it. Your most hated character become your most loved characters and then they also die. Or maybe not. Maybe they become hated again.

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This is the story after the happily ever after. The story of the brave warrior who becomes king but is unable to rule, he doesn't know how. Of course he doesn't, he's a boy who knows how to fight, why would he be equipped to rule a kingdom?
This is the story after the king marries a famous beauty.
They're not happy 20 years later, they resent each other and each grows to hate the other more and more. The king drinks and has his way with whore while the queen does the same with her brother.

They are human. They do not live happily ever after. The nice honourable man dies, children die, the scheming betrayer lives. In fact he thrives.
This is the story for those who want to know what happens after the "... and they lived happily ever after". Love, loss, anger, hatred, life and death. No linear storyline with predictable outcomes. No more of that.

If any of that sounds appealing to you then read the books, watch the show, immerse yourself in this world and watch what happens when people have to go through life with real problems and real consequences.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Martin delivers again!, Oct. 27 2004
By 
Curio (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two (Mass Market Paperback)
If you thought #1, A Game of Thrones, was good, get prepared for a Clash of Kings!
In an incredible feat of storytelling, Martin has upped the standard yet again, something I thought could not be done after the monumental achievement of A Game of Thrones. The intrigue continues, more hell breaks loose, and power never seems to stay in one place for long.
For those that read Martin's first book in the series, he delivers again--the plot is just as unpredictable, the characters are developed some more, and new POVs are added to the roster (Theon and Davos). For those thinking they can start from here--I wouldn't try it. There is a huge cast of characters in very intricate situations layered in shady motives, loyalties, and betrayals--starting here would be very difficult. That is not to say that this book is confusing, however; all the characters are realistic and memorable, so fans will find they know House leaders, retainers, and knights without really making an effort to learn them in the first place.
A lot happens in this book, and by the end, you'll be shocked. Martin is peerless when it comes to holding an audience; more is always revealed, but newer, more urgent questions always arise. I think you will not be able to keep yourself from reading #3, A Storm of Swords, immediately afterwards! ;)
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5.0 out of 5 stars At least as good as the first one, May 9 2004
By 
Daniel Roy "triseult" (Shanghai, China) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two (Mass Market Paperback)
This book doesn't need a lengthy review: if you liked the first book, then buy this one, you'll like it exactly as much. The follow-up to the first book is so well-crafted and exactly in the tone of the first, that the two could well be two halves of one book.
The story progresses somewhat slowly in the first half, but at this point, the reader has come to know and care so much for the characters that this is not a problem; anyway, the finale more than makes up for it. The shining star of this book is definitely Tyrion, the ultimate anti-hero if I ever saw one, who manages to totally defeat the classification between hero and villain. I found myself wishing the next Tyrion chapter would come along, although all characters, in their own way, made me yearn for their next chapter.
Two new characters are given their own chapters in this novel, Theo and Davos. I found this somewhat irritating at first because I felt they did not contribute to the story, but both have a role to play in the story that makes it more than worthwhile to read their chapters through.
I look forward immensely to 'A Storm of Swords', after two such incredible novels.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another thrilling tome, April 25 2004
By 
R. Seehausen "aeroblaster2" (Cypress, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
To say "the plot thickens" doesn't do justice to this second volume of George R.R. Martin's massive fantasy epic. Everything explodes around the characters we were introduced to in "A Game of Thrones", and the whole landscape of the Seven Kingdoms (the fantasy land this series is set in) is thrust into chaos.
Where "A Game of Thrones" set the roots for the enormous and interwoven conflict that takes place in "A Clash of Kings", this volume takes that conflict and drives it through so many twists and turns that, by the end, you can't imagine how the protagonists of the story are going to make it through. Every part of the plot is believable, as are the characters involved in them. And almost every part excites.
Nevertheless, the flaws present in "A Game of Thrones" remain in "A Clash of Kings", albeit to a less exaggerated extent. Martin shifts to a completely different viewpoint with each and every chapter, and the shifts are jarring enough that it often makes you want to put down the book and take a break. And the pacing is, as before, slow. This makes reading the book a impressive undertaking in its own right, though the well-written prose and dialogue and the usually self-enclosed chapters help to ease this difficulty.
And through all of this, the plot makes sense. It isn't hard to keep track of where everything stands. And in a work of this complexity, that shows remarkable skill on the part of the author.
The world of "A Song of Ice and Fire" is compelling. Its characters are compelling. And even more so than in the first volume, "A Clash of Kings" has driving, powerful plot. It's a shame that this plot has to take place over six volumes of a thousand pages each, but it's well worth the reader's time and effort. Fantasy readers owe it to themselves to give "A Song of Ice and Fire" a look.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Epic Fantasy Series Out There!!, Feb. 25 2004
This review is from: A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the best epic serious fantasy series out there by far. Gets away from the cookie-cutter books of Brooks, Eddings and Goodkind, which are quick fun reads. Martin keeps your intrest unlike the endless Jordan Wheel of Time series, which I have temporarily given up on. This series is very original. And each book is better than the last. Lots of political intrique where the magic is very little at first, increasing as the books go on. Great characters and multi-storylines merging into one big showdown. Only problem is the series is not comlete. Only 3 of 6 are written, book 4 A Feast For Crows constantly being delayed. Mr. Martins website does update and has a sample Arya chapter from book 4. READ IT. In the meantime if you want a series that is complete and very good. I reccomend Memory Sorrw and Thorn trilogy by Tad Williams. Book one being The DragonBone Chair. Not quite on par with Martin. But very enjoyable none the less. Martin is gritty, graphic and realistic.Major characters do die! You will loathe villains in one chapter and be cheering for them in the next. I.E Tyrion and Jamie. Two of my favorites. Please read you will love!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Historical fiction?, Feb. 21 2004
By 
This review is from: A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two (Mass Market Paperback)
All these books are great. Never read anything near so believable or real-worldy descriptive.. they are full of life, of eating & drinking & fighting & wenching.. I could easily be one of these sellswords or lords and that's what makes you get into a story, is its believability and identifiablity on the part of the reader. It is like Braveheart & LOTR mixed together. Characters act like real people in these books. They all (well most all) have a conscience, they have fears and hates and lusts just like you & I. On a whim (not much of a fiction reader) I borrowed the 1st from a coworker and quickly read thru the series, not realizing there have been yearlong or more waits between each of these books, so I am left sitting here like a fantastic movie has just quit playing before the finish, leaving me hanging & wanting more. C'mon, make with Book Four already, I'm dyin here.
I'm not going to mention any overt spoilers about this book, but there are some elements that had me feeling deja vu until I realized these things in the story had occurred in real life. The seige of King's Landing is basically the real-world yearlong seige of Constantinople by Muslims in 717, from the great chain idea to the napalm-like wildfire (Greek fire historically) flung from missile engines (Martin's Three .....) in frangible clay pots. Swollen refugee population in King's Landing = swollen refugee population in Constantinople as people fled before the invasion. Religious fanatics under King Stannis = Religious fanatics under Maslama & other muslim caliphs. Both suffered heavy desertions in the battle, while starvation to the point of cannibalism is in there too. When you realize the similarities, what seemed like such great originality and creative strategic battle sequences turns out to just be lifted from the history books.
This is not to discount Martin as all his characters, their interplay, their dialogue, all is from him and nothing is to be faulted. I actually enjoyed having to look up some of his olde words, it proves he does his research and only helps add to the realism and timeliness of the world he's created.
The only recurring sidestory in all the books I personally didn't care a whole lot for was the Daenerys thread.. it was hard to care about her and believe her wise actions seeing as she was a meek 14yr old who suddenly, inexplicably started acting twice her age. Rereading the series I skipped past these passages. The immense forces of Dothraki horselords are basically Huns or Mongol hordes, living & dying on thier horses, eating horseflesh & drinking mare's milk, living a life of complete savagery and constant hardship. But just when you think the story is only a fictional Middle-Ages Earth with different names, all the true fantasy stuff comes in and makes it engrossing all over again. The things happing up North are awesome and I can't wait to see what happens in Book Four. Do yourself a favor and read this story. Long live Tyrion!
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is the Series that Brought Me Back to the Fantasy Genre, Jan. 25 2004
This review is from: A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two (Mass Market Paperback)
It used to be (and may still be) that you could read Tolkien, Jordan and maybe a few more authors and you would discover that you had read all the fantasy reading that was worth talking about. I don't claim to be an expert, but some fantasy authors just have no business writing books. So when I picked up George R.R. Martin's first book in the popular A Song of Ice and Fire series, I was understandably wary. Something happened along the way though, I found myself immersed in Martin's storytelling and falling in love with the characters, creatures and worlds he created. I couldn't put down the first book and after finishing, quickly purchased the next two books in his famous series. Not since the first three books in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time Series had I read a fantasy series that so completely overwhelmed me. Eagerly awaiting the fourth book which will hopefully reach publication by spring of 2004 and looking back on the first three books, I think there were three critical strongpoints that made me love these books:
1) Characters, Characters, Characters - How many fantasy books have you read which had all the great genre elements such as dragons, swords, magic, and so forth, but never one single interesting character to bring life to the novel? Martin doesn't just give us one hero, he surrounds us with an epic geneology of lords and kings. And not just heroes, Martin gives the villainy just as much attention and usually clouds the issues not providing you with a fine line of good and evil. Everyone is human in his stories and it may be the first fantasy series I've ever read where a cripple and midget play a huge role in the story. (No, not a halfling-hobbit midget, a real human dwarf!) No one is perfect and no one is free of error. Martin's characters surround themselves in epic power struggles that would make Shakespeare proud.
2) Detailed Geography and Histories - When I read the first book in Martin's series, I was almost overwhelmed. There were so many new people and places I needed to know but luckily the books are included with appendixes that you can easily flip through to keep you updated on all family and political ties. Also, how many fantasy books have you read in which travel feels like a day on a 21st century highway and the map doesn't seem to have a realistic scale? Martin avoids the common mistakes and not since Tolkien have I read a book in which so many details inhabit the lands inbetween cities and rivers.
3) Realism - Sometimes I'll pick up a fantasy novel and while I enjoy the story and central characters, I feel like "Joe Average" in today's world could easily fit into the author's world. In other words, I think a lot of fantasy authors rely on boring medieval cliches, that is if they even try to give their characters on authentic period feel. In Martin's books, I feel as though I'm exploring a world not too far removed from medieval Europe. Too often with today's popular fantasy material, creators add liberal amounts of magic and common fantasy elements. With Martin, I discover a world which has obtained the same balance that was felt in Tolkien's worlds. As one reviewer put it, wielding magic isn't the equivalent of blowing off a machine gun in Martin's books, even though most fantasy books today want to write it like that.
Maybe the best part about Martin's books is that I know there is an impending grand finale. Remember when you read Jordan's Wheel of Time series and felt that way only to give up seven to ten books later? In A Song of Ice and Fire, you can sense everything getting closer to one final epic confrontation instead of the all too common trend of fiction authors to try and cash in on one more book to prolong the series. Martin has even announced that only six books are planned in his series and it's good to know that a compelling best-selling fantasy series actually has an ending in mind. All three books are in softcover now and Martin fans are anxiously awaiting the next addition. My advice would be to pick up the first book quickly because you'll find some of the best fantasy writing in recent years and a terrific story regardless of your interest in the fantasy genre.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Clash of Kings ( A Gem of Books ), Dec 21 2003
By 
Michael (nowhere great) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two (Mass Market Paperback)
A Game of Thrones ( Book 1 ) made all the other Fatasy novels I have read, less thrilling. A Clash of Kings simply blew the everything out of the water. The in the beggining I thought the series wasnt so great after all, as it lingered on a character I didnt know. But A Game of Thrones was so good that I decided to read on. Im glad that I did. I highly recomend this book ( After A Game of Thrones, of course ), to all that have an open mind and can handle some explict content. This series will have you clenching your fist, it will make you sad, happy, mad, and you may even throw it down in disgust at some points ( In a good way ). The overall design of the books and chapters are amazing. You know each character so well and you choose sides, for both sides seem good.
Tyrion Lannister steals this book as the main character. His clever wits and his disablities are his weapons, and he rules Kings Landing, for the evil. But you also feel for him, for his past has made him what he truely is.
The only downside to this book is the lack of Robb Stark. I would have rather read his thoughts and feelings of the war more often. I also belive Rickton should have a chapter or two in there. But none the less this book is fatastic by all means and to learn a Book 4 is going to be released has made my day.
Go out and read it, it will make whatever your favorite novel is, seem less.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy sequel to Game of Thrones, Sept. 26 2003
By 
This review is from: A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two (Mass Market Paperback)
George R.R. Martin picks up where he left off on A Game Of Thrones (quite literally) and further expands his epic masterpiece. In this second volume, A Clash Of Kings, Martin again pits lords and ladies, armies and rogues, and warring factions against one another in a sprawling tale.
At some 970 pages and featuring a tremendous cast of characters, this tome is dense, maybe moreso than A Game Of Thrones. More subplots are thrown into the mix and more storylines are twisted together, expending the scope of the already massive tale. Like the first volume, Martin pulls this off by using fairly short, punchy chapters, each of which serves to move the plot forward and keep this otherwise hefty book moving along at a rapid pace.
That's not to say Martin doesn't stumble slightly here and there. Unlike A Game Of Thrones, which was the leanest 900-page book you'll ever read, not every page in A Clash Of Kings was vital. A few of the subplots are given too much time, developing over a longer period than they needed to, and otherwise serve only to slow the narrative. The lengthy looks at Theon Greyjoy's trials stand out in this regard. Also, several chapters appear to fill time rather than push the plot forward or offer an important revelation.
But these criticisms are minor and the instances when they stand out are few and far between. Martin weaves and twists plots as well as any, paints characters we can truly believe, and builds builds builds to a rousing, thrilling and surprising climax that is superior to the wrap up of volume one. All in all this installment lives up to the expectations set by the first. Lofty expectations indeed.
Without question George R.R. Martin has once again given readers one of the best fantasy novels to hit the bestseller list in a long, long time. Don't let the huge page counts and ongoing nature of the series fool you into thinking this is another Robert Jordan or Terry Goodkind clone. Far from it. This is the best the genre has to offer right now and is a must read for any fan of epic, gritty high fantasy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A World Beyond Imagination, Sept. 18 2003
By 
Radostina Stefanova (Targovishte, Bulgaria) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two (Mass Market Paperback)
The second part of George R. R. Martin's saga, _A Clash of Kings_ is an astounding continuation of _A Game of Thrones_ but also a breath-taking literary masterpiece of its own. Before approaching it, though, you would do well to read the first book: although I have to give Martin credit for giving brief explanations in the beginning that would account for some of the characters and action in the second part, it's impossible to grasp _A Clash of Kings_ in all its magnitude without having read the first part of the saga beforehand.
A boy kings sits in the Iron Throne surrounded by a cohort of Lannisters trying to preserve his feeble reign over a kingdom thorn by wars and bloodshed. With two Baratheon brothers questioning his right, the Stark heir ruling the North in the name of its people and a turn-cloak prince fighting for yet another king's claim, the Seven Kingdoms are bleeding worse than ever: death and plunder, atrocities and suffering, and approaching winter threatening to last a generation, coming with its own dangers and unspoken horrors. Black sorcery and out-of-legend cold creatures emerge to devour the realm of men, while a young girl, the mistress of the last living dragons in the world, makes her way through blood and fire to reclaim her father's throne. The blood-red comet that shone in the sky and drew ominous predictions was left unheeded; the terrors it warned of are free to loom over the realm of men.
The book starts with a riveting prologue that throws the reader in a new dimension, more mystic than one would have suspected. The rest of the book lives up to the promise of the first pages. Graphic, realistic, convincing in more ways than one, it reaches out of the pages, grabs your brains and squeezes tightly...and you're hooked. Page after page, you will most likely complete the entire thing (which, be warned, approximates 1000 pages) in a heartbeat. It presents a series of betrayals and unexpected friendships, and a world where the closest of allies could turn against you, and the seemingly vilest become your friends. More kings and more violence than a kingdom can bear, and way more dynamism than you've ever seen in a fantasy book. Martin is a master of details-compelling, overpowering details-when he needs to, but he also shrewdly changes the speed of narration to build up suspense. He also continues the successful practice to tell his narrative from the points of view of those characters that survived in _A Game of Thrones_, and adds a few new ones, that come as a pleasant and refreshing surprise, and come to play essential roles in the plot. True to his promise in the first part, Martin continues to build understandable and very human characters that you can feel with and relate to.
The complexity of the book is sometimes impossible to grasp, and I cannot begin to think what sort of suprahumanly imagination Martin must have to create it. Magic, one of the most important elements of the fantasy genre that seemed to lack in the first part, is now returning to the Seven Kingdoms, with dragons coming back to life and also mystic sorcery that accounts for a few of the numerous shockingly unanticipated twists in the plot. This renders _A Clash of Kings_ more than a mere tale of medieval tradition. Although, to be sure, the political element is overwhelmingly present, and shrewd and unexpected moves give the reader further delight at this wonderful work. An absolutely thrilling masterpiece and a great continuation to what promises to be the greatest phenomenon in the genre after The Lord of the Rings. Five stars to this one without the slightest hesitation!!!
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A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two
A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two by George R.R. Martin (Mass Market Paperback - Sept. 5 2000)
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