After reading A Game of Thrones at the start of last month, I decided to keep going with the A Song of Ice and Fire series and move on to the next in the series, A Clash of Kings.
Lots of the issues that I had with A Game of Thrones persisted – I just found it hard to keep track of all the characters, since so many names were reeled off at a time. Battle scenes were often just lists of House names and sigils, and I had no idea which side they were even on.
There’s a big river battle scene in ACoK, and each ship’s name is given. Within about half a page, though, I had forgotten which ships were on which side, which made for a very confusing battle where I had no idea who was winning or losing, or in fact if anyone was attacking their own side.
Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over an age of enforced peace are dead…victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.
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 wartime. 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.
Audacious, inventive, brilliantly imagined, A Clash of Kings is a novel of dazzling beauty and boundless enchantment;a tale of pure excitement you will never forget.
I did enjoy A Clash of Kings. Possibly more than I did A Game of Thrones, actually, because at least I had managed to keep the Lannisters, Starks, Baratheons, and Targaryens straight in my mind from the first book, so that was a head start on when I was trudging through A Game of Thrones.
It did drag, though. One day last week I was on the phone to my sister, moaning about how long it was taking me to get through this book. It was exacerbated somewhat by the fact that I have a kindle bundle of all five books, so I don’t have a percentage/time guide as to how long is left in the book. It turns out that this actually really irritates me, as I like to know how long is left. Similarly, it infuriates me if the last twenty pages of a book are actually a short story, or a preview chapter from another book. I like to know how much actual book I have left, not be tricked by extra content tacked on at the end!
In any case, in the course of my moaning about how the book was dragging, I laid out the major plot points that I had already read, only to be informed that this was, in fact, the entire book, and she didn’t understand how I was still reading it.
Making the same complaint to someone else, I can’t even remember who, they suggested that perhaps I had accidentally moved on to the next book without noticing, but thankfully that wasn’t the case. I would worry for myself if it were.
In actuality, after I got off the phone with my sister and settled down to read again, I realised that I was, in fact, on the last chapter, and finally finished this trek through the Seven Kingdoms.
It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the book. I actually did. I just think in places it was overblown, and too much was stuffed into a seriously hefty book. I’ll leave it a few weeks before I venture on to A Storm of Swords. But, as I liked the second better than the first, I’m hopeful that I will continue to like this series more as it progresses.