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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Review: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

I finished reading this a couple of weeks ago. It is probably the longest book I've ever read and it was amazing.

We were given point of view chapters from Tyrion, Bran, Theon, Davos, Catelyn, Sansa, Arya, Daenerys, and Jon Snow. I would consider Tyrion to be the main character of this particular book, although the others are all masters of their own story-lines. I don't think there was nearly enough Daenerys in this book, but that's just me personally. Bran chapters actually began to serve a purpose rather than just to use more words, which was nice. It's hard to pick between Tyrion and Jon Snow for my favourite characters in this particular book, because I really loved both story-lines for different reasons, so I'll say I loved them both. Arya is pretty great too. My least favourite chapters were probably Theon's, because he's just such a jerk! And that's putting it nicely. I didn't fancy Davos much either, but that was mostly because his chapters were very descriptive. The Battle of the Blackwater was pretty good from his POV for that reason though. Point of view characters aside, George, seriously, soooo many named characters here that are so hard to keep track of, especially during battles.

Overall, I think this book moved along pretty slowly, though not to the point where it was boring. Things picked up nicely during the Battle of the Blackwater. My favourite part was probably between Jon Snow meeting Ygritte, and Daenerys's adventure in the House of the Undying. Again, for completely different reasons, which makes it hard to choose between them.

The setting is much the same as it was in the first book, with the exception of Jon Snow and his entourage moving north of the Wall. It has been explored a little in the first book, but it went a little deeper with details and further from the Wall this time. Daenerys is still on the other side of the Narrow Sea and ends up in the beautiful city of Qarth after a voyage across a desert. And with the introduction of Davos as a point of view character, we have had some insight into where Stannis Baratheon has been in Dragonstone, and we are also introduced to the castle at Storm's End. Catelyn introduces us to the Riverlands around her home in Riverrun and the Twins where the Lord Frey lives. Theon's point of view chapters take us to the Iron Islands and Pike, which has a very different feel to the rest of Westeros. It made me think of pirates. Many of Arya's later chapters are set in Harrenhall, which I think she is brilliant at portraying with its superstitions and all. Martin does a great job portraying all of his settings, both continuing from the previous book and new in this book.

His overall style was as good as it was in the first book, with phenomenal worldbuilding, far too many characters to keep track of in one scene, and too much description of what people are wearing. Most if not all other details contributed to the awesomeness of the book.

A little pet peeve I have developed: when he describes something 'like so many (noun)'. I don't know why. I think the first time struck me as cliche, and every time after that it just irked me more and more. Maybe I'm just crazy, but I thought I'd mention it.

Also, I have a favourite quote from this book:
"Strike hard and true, crow, or I'll come back and haunt you." 
That whole scene with Jon Snow and Ygritte made me so excited. I mean, I already know what happens, because I've seen the t.v show (does most people say it the other way around? :p ), but I still loved reading that scene for the first time.

Overall, great book, and I can't wait to get stuck into the next one. Now, I should probably go to bed and get some much needed sleep. Ressie o-week has gone, and the university o-week is about to begin!

Have you read A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Marin? What did you think? 
- Bonnee.

7 comments:

  1. Sorry, you forgot to properly identify him: it should be "the bastard, Jon Snow" hah ha.

    Yes, there are too many great characters to pick a favorite. I do like Davos; I think what it is for me is that I do like characters that have a certain degree of honor, because there are so many skeevy people there. Arya is a favorite, as well.

    It amazes me how Martin is also able to subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) shift voices depending on character. Look at the writing in the Daenerys chapters in particular; there's such a different feel to it from the others.

    Enjoy res week, part 2!

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  2. Ha ha, poor Lord Snow.

    I love Davos for his honour and conflicted feelings between loyalty to Stannis and loyalty to his faith (or opposition to jumping from one faith to the other, depending on which you find more appropriate for his character). However, as we saw with Ned Stark, being too honourable can come at a price.

    I love how he gets into the different voices depending on whose point of view he's writing from. I know what you mean about Daenerys. I think Sansa has her own unique voice too, and seeing the contrast between her and Tyrion, who are both in Kings Landing, is really interesting. I get the feeling that Arya's character is just going to get darker and darker, but I love her to pieces for it.

    Thanks! I shall enjoy! :) Thanks for visiting, and Happy Monday!

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    1. Yeah, doing the right thing seems to be a good way to get yourself killed in George's world. Then again, doing the *wrong* thing is also a good way to get yourself killed in George's world.....

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  3. Thanks for the review, Bonnee. I read only the first pages from one of his books and it's not for me. But many readers like his books and that's great. I'm impressed with his ability to write so many details, so many characters and so much world building. It's impressive, but I like lighter books which are closer to my style of writing. I guess the university is now in sessions, so we are waiting for you post from classes so that we learn as well.

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    1. I guess one of the most common pieces of advice I hear is to read the sort of things you want to write, so it's understandable that you'd rather read something closer to your own style. Nonetheless, I'm glad you agree that it's impressive work on Martin's part.

      Classes start next Monday (10th) and there will be more blog posts than ever, as I am doing 3 writing classes and a children's literature class too I have a feeling they might all be blog-worthy, at least at some point. Thanks for visiting, Giora! :)

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  4. I read the books when they first came out in the 90s (I haven't read the more recent ones though). I enjoyed them.

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    1. I keep forgetting how long ago the series started. I'm looking forward to reading more of them. Thanks for visiting, Lynda. :)

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