Clash of Kings

I’ve meant to post a review of this for some time. Even though Perdido Street Station was listed as the next book we were reading, I took some time out at the beginning of vacation to read the second book in A Song of Ice and Fire.

A Clash of Kings [4.5/5]
by George R.R. Martin
(Bantam Books, a division of Random House, February 1999)

The first book in this series, A Game of Thrones, was nominated for both the Hugo and the World Fantasy Award. An epic multithreaded tapestry of several interwoven storylines, it introduced readers to a fantasy kingdom in turmoil and the characters drawn into conflict.

For those who are as far behind in their “to read” shelves as I am, I’ll skip any spoilers. However, if you have not yet read this book or begun this series, I urge you to give it a try. I’m not generally a fan of stories which have so many points of view. It’s tricky to pull off, and mostly leaves me feeling as if I’ve never gotten to know any one of the characters enough to care about their fates. With this series, it seems to be just the opposite. Nearly every character comes alive on the page, and what’s important to them is gripping and compelling enough in their own mind to be communicated emotionally to the reader. I must admit, though, that I’m a bit dismayed, or perhaps intimidated, by how little the storyline advanced over the course of this 728-page book. Perhaps it’s only suffering from 2nd-book syndrome, which often plagues books in a series as at least one volume has to establish a large amount of expositional background in order to set the scene for the next level of conflict. Despite this sense, I cannot think of one plot or subplot that didn’t seem germane to the story as a whole. And, on the bright side, that means I can probably anticipate thousands of pages of further reading pleasure before the conclusion.

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