Written by: George R.R. Martin
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 969 (Mass Market Paperback)
Series: Book Two (ongoing)
The premise: ganked from BN.com: As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky—a comet the color of blood and flame—six factions struggle for control of a divided land. Eddard's son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming courtiers who teem over King's Landing. Robert's two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers.
A Clash of Kings transports us into a magnificent, forgotten land of revelry and revenge, wizardry and warfare. It is a tale in which maidens cavort with madmen, brother plots against brother, and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside.
Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory may be measured in blood. And the spoils of victory may just go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel...and the coldest hearts. For when rulers clash, all of the land feels the tremors.
Worth the Cash: In the end, I feel like this book was nothing more than set-up, which would explain how tiring it made me. I'm not saying it was bad, but it wasn't as nearly as engaging as A Game of Thrones and trust me, stuff happened in A Game of Thrones. Not so much here. I feel like that for all the length, we just took a few baby-steps in terms of overall story, and that's frustrating, even though my favorite characters managed to delight and scare me at the same time. I've been assured that A Storm of Swords is much better, but, oh how the length scares me. :) Still, for all of my problems, I enjoyed this book far more than, say, Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself, which had plenty of action (no offense to fans of both, it just wasn't my thing), but failed to engage me on an emotional level. The trouble with Martin, though, is that there's no such thing as a quick read. Every book is meaty, and it's almost too much in a single volume (seriously, if I were his editor, I'd be talking to him seriously about splitting these volumes into more manageable lengths), which means I need plenty of recovery time before tackling the next book in the series. Of course, that means I'll have to refresh myself using the handy-dandy Wikipedia for plot summaries, but in the end, I just can't throw myself into this world without coming up for air and lots of it.
When you comment, PLEASE DO NOT SPOIL ANYTHING BEYOND A CLASH OF KINGS, or you will make me very sad and grumpy.
Review style: This one's actually tough to review, and I suspect that until the series ends, the reviews are just going to get tougher. I'm still trying to keep spoilers out of my reviews, so here, I'm going to talk about how serials work, compare this series to the television show Lost (yeah, I'm going there), and discuss the reasons why this installment didn't grab me like A Game of Thrones did. No spoilers. Promise. :) ALTHOUGH!! If you haven't read A Game of Thrones, don't read this review, because you will be spoiled for some surprises in A Game of Thrones.
The full review is in my LJ, if you're interested. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome. :)
REVIEW: George R.R. Martin's A CLASH OF KINGS
Book club selections @ calico_reaction. Hop on over! We'd love to have you!
March: To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
April: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia
May: Natural History by Justina Robson