Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

(Ed. Note: #38)

If you’re reading this and you haven’t read A Game of Thrones, stop. Just stop. Before I started reading these books, I had a few things spoiled for me and I’m sad that I didn’t get the full effect of the story. Once I realized that I had to stay away from everything, I had the most amazing reading experience. I urge you to take my advice and read no further.

Are they gone? Good.

Anyway, A Clash of Kings is the second book in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. After the Eddard’s execution and the scattering of the Stark family, Westeros is now in the grips of civil war, a literal clash of kings. The land and smallfolk are besieged by the marauding armies of five kings—Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy, and Robert Baratheon’s brothers and son—Stannis, Renly, and Joffrey. During all of this, a sixth claimant of the crown, Daenerys Targaryen, wanders the East with her band of followers, caring for her three newborn dragons.

If you’re thinking that sounds like a tough storyline with too many names, you don’t know that half of it. There are so many side stories and characters that typing it up would do more harm than good. Like the previous book, A Clash of Kings demands to be reread several times before you can see the tapestry instead of the individual threads. Everything is connected; it just takes some concentration to figure it out.

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