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A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two Mass Market Paperback – Sep 5 2000
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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 Hardcover 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. It ends with the princess, now known as Weasel, having led the liberation of the accursed castle of Harrenhal. In between, 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); and for its magnificent action-filled climax, an amphibious assault on King's Landing, now ruled by the evil Queen Cersei. 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 Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
--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.Read more ›
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! ;)
One remarkable feature of this book was the immense development that all characters go through. Tyrion Lannister is of course established as quite the puppet master! He arrives at King’s Landing to serve as Hand of the King, and then slowly becomes a force to reckon with as he makes small changes to strengthen the security of his city, creates double spies out of unsuspecting relatives and completes major negotiations with warring lords. Arya’s growth from Arya Stark to Arry to Weasel to Nan; Sansa’s growth from a spoilt girl to a woman with the makings of a queen; Robb’s growth to cope with leadership; Jon Snow’s growth to cope with a role that was in direct conflict with his basic nature… everyone adapts to rapidly changing circumstances. Heroes are revealed to have dubious motives, and villains are shown to harbour another side to their stories.
The other remarkable quality in this book is the very dark atmosphere that envelops the entire story. On the one hand of course is the tangible dread of an ultimate power play. It is brutal. It is harsh. Villages are plundered, babies are killed and women are gang raped. This is the age of people like Gregor Clegane and the Bastard of Bolton. On the other hand, the story takes quite a turn toward horror. From the far-reaching effects of Dany’s dragons, to Jaqen H’ghar and his mantra of ‘valar morghulis’, to Melisandre and her deadly shadow assassins … this story is woven with magic, mystery and terror.
The time for games is over. This is war. This is what happens when kings clash.
I tried not to like this epic. It's too long for my too intense (I'm used to fantasies with heroes, magicians and happy endings). There are no real wizards and monsters, except the kind who give you genuine chills--incestuous queens and murdering brothers and horrendous rapes. Oh, and the occasional "walking dead" and a few baby dragons. A Clash of Kings is aptly named. Five kings and a queen duke it out (pun intended) for a little piece of metal to wrap uncomfortably around their twisted little heads.
This is Dynasty (the soap opera) meets The Lord of the Rings. And it's not to be missed by anyone who has the ambition to read several hundred pages of wonderful prose.
Most recent customer reviews
was not the size i had imagined, some pages came folded i did not appreciate thatPublished 18 days ago by S Sarna
Came much earlier than expected, thank you. Love this series and am happy to be finishing the series on my bookshelf, since I plan on reading them again.Published 3 months ago by carmenmiranda
He does it again! In an age of such technological dependence, Mr.Martin whisks us away into the dangerous world of Westeros. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Jeremy Plume