Nicolas Ward's Reviews > A Clash of Kings

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
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's review
Apr 14, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, fiction

I suppose it's problematic when I don't write book reviews until well over a month after finishing the book in question. In my defense, I finished this book on the plane back from Cancun, and then immediately had two insane weeks of coding for my final project. I was to some extent additionally demotivated by the fact that this is the second book in an as-yet unfinished series, which are always difficult to write up because they neither start nor end stories.

This review does not contain spoilers.

As I mentioned in my review for A Game of Thrones, I had actually started this book a few years ago, although going in I thought I hadn't gotten to this one. As I was reading, I kept thinking that I had gotten to a new-to-me section, only to find a familiar scene in the next chapter. I think the point where I had given up on it previously was somewhere around two thirds through the book. For various reasons, even though I was initially ahead of the popularity of the series due to the HBO television adaptation, I set it down and didn't come back to it until this year. Speaking of, even though I'm only a few episodes into the first season, it's been amusing seeing people tweet about the second season, which corresponds to this book.

Overall, this book seemed more solid than the first book. I don't know if that's because the pace was picking up, or if the characters had a bit more agency, or what. I think the fact that it ended with most of the main characters embarking on a journey helped frame things nicely, in setting up the third book (which I will review shortly).

In terms of characters, it's really hard not to love Tyrion, even if he is a twisted little imp. He got a great storyline, and as a nerd I have to respect his reliance on his wit as a strength in the face of pretty awful events. I also really enjoy Arya and Jon Snow; I assume to some extent they're written to be more likable. It will be interesting to see where their journeys take them in the third book.

I thought one of the weakest story lines was that of Theon Greyjoy. He gets an entertaining introduction with his homecoming, but after that, it's pretty bad. I think the character needed to be introduced more in the first book, to help us understand the motivation behind his actions in this book.

My usual complaint about the level of violence, and the creepy sex, stands. I think an epic fantasy tale with a lot of intrigue and war could be told without quite so much gory detail. I won't deny Martin's penchant for the descriptive when it comes to helping a reader visualize all of it, but the exact nature of the content still dulls my enjoyment of the world building.

On to Storm of Swords...

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Reading Progress

April 14, 2012 – Started Reading
April 14, 2012 – Shelved
April 14, 2012 –
page 70
6.93% "Familiar so far, but less so than rereading the first book. Not sure where I left off in this one."
April 15, 2012 –
page 122
April 15, 2012 –
page 150
April 15, 2012 –
page 422
41.78% "I think I'm finally past the point I had read?"
April 15, 2012 –
page 519
51.39% "Actually, still familiar. It's been a few years, but I thought I had given up on this sooner."
April 15, 2012 –
page 624
April 15, 2012 –
page 662
April 16, 2012 –
page 1009
99.9% "Finished in the baggage claim, although the book is shorter than it looks because of the appendices. Interesting way he wrapped the climax and then sent everyone on journeys."
April 16, 2012 – Finished Reading
June 14, 2012 – Shelved as: fantasy
June 14, 2012 – Shelved as: fiction

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