Having spent much time on LOTR, I was always apprehensive about starting this one. But as it turned out, this isn't so dense as I feared it to be but...moreHaving spent much time on LOTR, I was always apprehensive about starting this one. But as it turned out, this isn't so dense as I feared it to be but an awesome fun ride. Visiting middle-earth itself would have been enough, but Tolkien brings up his talent to tell a magical tale in a magical manner.(less)
A clash of Kings, the second novel in the “A song of Ice and Fire” series goes a long way in establishing this series as one of the most overrated eve...moreA clash of Kings, the second novel in the “A song of Ice and Fire” series goes a long way in establishing this series as one of the most overrated ever. I expected this one to outdo the first novel when I heard others defending the first one that it was only a setup for the remaining books. I sincerely doubted those claims and was glad to be proven right although I had to waste a week. All that this book accomplishes is move the chess pieces across the board for a later showdown.
That’s not to say this is a total failure. Martin continues to showcase his ability to write compelling dialogue. Jaime Lannister outguns everyone else in a brief scene which probably is the best part of the book. Tyrion shines in his new role and there are sufficient glimpses of brilliance. Theon Greyjoy comes out as an intriguing character and keeps us guessing whether he can be deemed sympathetic or not. Jon Snow also has a decent time in the book which is quite surprising as nothing significant ever happens in his arc. The newly introduced characters (Stannis & Melisandre) were deftly handled although Martin sometimes holds the cards too close to his chest.
I understand that Arya, Sansa and Bran’s journey is concerned with fleshing out the realistic setting of the story and its grim tones. In Martin’s opinion this is simply dubbed as “Rape, murder! It's just a shot away”. I get that he intends to let these characters grow but he sadly constrains them too much and only lets them stare at unfairness around them. I would have preferred to watch them DO something. And it doesn’t even serve to talk about Daenerys. Absolutely nothing happens in her story worth mentioning apart from some pitiful prophesying.
Martin’s problems mainly stem from the page count. Some chapters were so irritating that he made me wish I could serve Stephen King’s piss to him so that he can learn a thing or two about setting up a payback in a lengthy manner. One of the main strengths of Game of Thrones is that it has a clear sense of direction and always worked towards an inevitable breaking point no matter what the POV is. And the chapters made long strides along the journey providing reasonable justification for the reader to persist with the lengthy format. But in this book it was difficult for me to get interested in the middle and hence final resolution felt dull. Some chapters (especially Bran and Daenerys) were outright horrendous and it just pains to speak that they do not serve any purpose in the end. Perhaps fans might forgive such mishaps but you cannot expect everyone to be patient.
"Clash of Kings" is simply a string of chapters which dawdle at length only to throw a lame surprise on their last pages and the worst part is that the surprise is not even built upon in the successive chapters. A writer of superior ability might make the dawdling tolerable but Martin’s bland attempt at writing doesn't always impress.
And unsurprisingly Martin kicks into higher gear in the final few hundred pages which probably is his way of putting all eggs in a single basket. If his writing didn’t fail him in earlier pages, I might have enjoyed them immensely but now I would rather contend myself with mediocrity. There is nothing wrong with building your story on a grand scale through a series of novels but each book should advance something in the scheme of plot structure. I guess this is what happens when an average writer decides to do a Tolkien.
Damn this guy for getting me addicted though.(less)
Ever since I started reading “Game of Thrones” there was only one thing I could think of - Robert Kirkman’s “The Walking Dead”. Both are so similar in...moreEver since I started reading “Game of Thrones” there was only one thing I could think of - Robert Kirkman’s “The Walking Dead”. Both are so similar in tone and structure that it made me wonder if Kirkman sought inspiration from Martin. Both of them deal with ensemble cast, both constantly write from different points of view, both use pretentious violence and sex, both kill seemingly important characters for shock value and finally both tried something different in their respective genres. While Kirkman took zombie field and concentrated on characters journey instead of zombie escapades and crude humor, Martin made use of fantasy elements and spun a political intrigue. Both used familiar elements for non-familiar purposes. Both are tailor made for soap opera format which is why their adaptations were an obvious choice. While Kirkman has the privilege of working with stunning artists to make the reading experience whole-some, Martin fails to sustain the intensity with poor writings at times and lengthy pages, although his character etching is near-perfect. Also, I have to admit that Kirkman is a little better at throwing consistently a shocking twist at the end of each chapter (each comic in his case). It’s just sad that both are hugely overrated. Then again, both also constantly managed to make me wonder ‘what happens next?’ and made me fall in love with some characters. Despite being a not-so-great lengthy setup, I am obsessed enough to be willing to read all the way till the end. Damn you, Martin(less)
Exquisitely articulated and the early passages reminded me of the best pizza I ever ate. But the story is hell of a drag and no matter how much I want...moreExquisitely articulated and the early passages reminded me of the best pizza I ever ate. But the story is hell of a drag and no matter how much I wanted to love this, I couldn't help breathing a sigh of relief at its end.
On a second visit, I think this is much better when read in bits and pieces(less)
If you can set aside your problems regarding its evident lack of originality you would definitely enjoy reading this. I particularly enjoyed the openi...moreIf you can set aside your problems regarding its evident lack of originality you would definitely enjoy reading this. I particularly enjoyed the opening chapters where the characters live in innocent peaceful villages and get on with their lives without bothering about the lurking dangers. And Robert Jordan indulged me right away with some smart writing without actually rushing into plot changes. It also helps that the pacing of the book suits me where the author takes considerably amount of pages to reach point B from point A. I particularly enjoyed the way in which the village boys were described when they fall in awe of the big cities. It is Jordan’s penchant for paying attention to smaller details like these that made me like this book although I consider him weak at writing paybacks at the end. Of all the three main leads, Perrin blew me straight away from the beginning to the end and I hope he enjoys immense limelight later in the series. As someone who likes to read fantasies, I neither had problems completing this book nor wanting to continue to next books but I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who hasn’t read LOTR.(less)