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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The dwarf's tale
Where the first book belongs to Ned Stark, this second is owned by Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf lord who rises to the challenge of curbing his psychotic nephew's worst excesses (said psychotic nephew being King of the realm). Westeros is now at war, with kings lining up to stake a claim to the Iron Throne of the realm, and accordingly this is a war novel, packed with...
Published on 24 July 2012 by Richard Wright

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Struggled with this one
The first book was quite slow paced, but served to introduce the characters and world well. I was looking forward to the second book being much faster paced and action packed, alas, it was far from it. The overly descriptive nature of the writing continues, there is never a time where you don't know EXACTLY what someone is wearing, if there is food you know EXACTLY what...
Published on 20 Aug. 2012 by Stressed Mike


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More fantasy and more food than the first - making the second installment in A Song of Ice and Fire even better, 29 Mar. 2012
By 
AK (London) - See all my reviews
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George R.R. Martin has certainly not lacked for scope or ambition, when conceptualizing the series. The book continues the gripping tale introduced in A Song of Ice and Fire (1) - A Game of Thrones, and follows a myriad of characters and events, happening semi-concurrently. It is certainly not something for the less concentrated, and perhaps not best enjoyed during the commute or in 15 minute stints before going to bed, due to all the balls the author keeps in the air at the same time.

If there is a series that definitely needs a list of all the houses and their main players appended, this is certainly it (and one of the few instances, where I felt that looking through it was helpful).

Still, if you are prepared to dedicate longer stretches of time, and some concentration to the book, the story makes your patience worthwhile. It is relatively lively and dynamic on the one hand, and continues with the very back stabbing political environement from the first book. In addition to all the elements present in the first book, the magical / sorcerous element, battles and salivating descriptions of every single dish consumed by the entire list of characters (if you ever read anything by Frank Tallis - i.e. Deadly Communion, you will know what I mean) are new / much more prominently present. Both the newly hatched dragons in the South and the re-invigorated Others in the North, as well as the occassionally appearing servants of the Light God R'hllor slowly transform the series from a primarily medival society into something with a true touch of fantasy.

With so many kings in the land, all interested in the less than comfortable Iron Throne, there is butchery and Borgia-like scheming aplenty. On top of this, the characters luckily have some very human vices, making even some of the more unsavory ones more likeable.

Unlike in the first book, none of the main characters are killed off, so one still follows many, with chapters following and being named after the most prominent players within them.

The ~700 tightly typed pages may deter some but overall the book reads very well and quickly. And if you like long books / sagas, there is three more volumes available immediately, with the sixth installment being just around the corner (fifth book but the third is split in two).

Last but not least, it is somewhat explicit both in terms of violence and sexuality - not like Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself: Book One Of The First Law (Gollancz S.F.) - but more than one would preferably expose early teens to.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping but...., 19 Jun. 2008
Picking up right where 'A Game of Thrones' left off, 'A Clash of Kings' is just as gripping as its predecessor and is a very captivating book. The series main strength is the presence of some fantastic characters, most notably Tyrion Lannister, one of the best anti-heroes I've come across in fiction. One thing that must be made quite apparent though is that one should utterly ignore the ridiculous quote on some versions of his books that George RR Martin is 'the American Tolkien.' Other than the fact that they both have two 'R's' in their name and have books on sale in the 'Fantasy' section of your local bookshop, there is no call for comparison. Tolkien invented modern fantasy and set out a template which far too many authors have simply ripped off (the unlikely hero, the quest, the band of heroes etc.) Martin deliberatley ignores or subverts these conventions and indeed his work is much closer, in the main, to historical fiction. To sum up; there's no reason to suppose a fan of Tolkien's will enjoy Martin's style.

On the positive side: Martin is a very good writer. The plot is intricate and epic, and the dialogue is far beyond the vast, vast majority of fantasy novels. As well as that he's writing for the adult market; there's plenty of adult humour and situations, while there's a goodly, but not gratutious amount of swearing. It all adds to the realism of the book. You really get the sense that you're reading a warts and all account of a bygone era. Too often fantasy writers aim for the young adult end of the market and end up offering up incipid novels in which nobody (even the most hardened warriors) ever curses, has sex or uses the toilet.

On the negative side: Martin is far better at the 'swords' end of the 'swords and sorcery' business, to the extent that the 'magical' elements of the story (such as they are), feel out of place. It's rather like reading a blood and guts account of the Wars of the Roses when all of a sudden a warlock shows up. The sections that involve magical elements are by far the weakest parts of the book.

And one MAJOR gripe I have is that for all his skills with words, Martin's characters seem utterly incapable of using more than two words to describe the male and female genitals (a hint, they're both 'C' words). It's not a matter of prudishness, it's simply that the English language contains an unbelievable wealth of words for human anatomy and yet Martin can't seem to get away from those two terms. In every intimate scene between two characters whether higborn or peasant, male or female etc. they all talk like sailors. Indeed none of the sex scenes in the first two books are very appealing. Rather than offering a tender riposte to the savagery on display in the rest of the book, sex is rough and unpleasant throughout.

That said the good parts far outweigh the bad, and it's a fantastic series of books so far; captivating, well plotted, and well worth investing time in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, BAD typos and grammar??, 7 Jan. 2012
By 
Bookworm (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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I've read every book in this series so far and have really enjoyed it. With very likable characters and characters that I thought where pure evil turning into favorites. And sometimes I felt like Joey from Friends when he was reading "little women" and I wanted to put the book in the freezer because I thought my big favorites had died. These books really take you with them. BUT and this is the only reason I'm rating this a 4 star and not 5. I get the impression that these books where not proofread. I don't know if anyone else has noticed but there seem to be massive printing mistakes in the books. Paragraphs and words being hyphenated where they really shouldn't be. Sentences like.."has still to learn yet.." and "pouring cups of wine in silver cups" also there is talk of a WIDOW in on sentence only to make a WINDOW out of her in the next. The list goes on and on. I tried to overlook this in the first book but they became so glaringly annoying in the rest that I just have to have a good moan about it. This cannot be acceptable for books published by a big publishing house like Harper Voyager.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Briiliant!, 8 Aug. 2011
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Having devoured 'A Game of Thrones' I was eagerly awaiting my next fix with 'A Clash of Kings' and it did not disappoint on any level. Not normally a fantasy reader but this stuff is mind-boggling in its depth and alive with rich characters you find yourself caring about and plenty you'd not want to meet in even a light alley! For all the hugeness of it's scale it's still very easy to read, don't be daunted by the size of the work - read it, you won't regret it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much Better than Book One, 15 April 2012
Book two in the series, A Clash of Kings, easily doubled or tripled the fantastic element of the first. The climax fit the epic genre more than the first and the characters were more intriguing.

Catelyn Stark takes on a bigger role in book two when she needs to show strength for her children, especially Robb. The Stark children are spread out away from each other, each having bits of their story told. Tyrion takes on a larger role in the second book, both in the storyline, and for chapters dedicated to his character. Many of the plot elements come to a head during the climax for A Clash of Kings and Martin finishes it all off with an epic battle just outside the city gates.

I wanted to give A Clash of Kings 5 stars, but I don't think it's quite there yet. The story is great, the writing concise and intriguing, but I need just a little more. Since the series feels more like a single massive story broke up into single books, I can't judge it completely yet on the first two chapters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars George R R Martin, 15 July 2011
I love this series of books. I'm not usually a big fan of fantasy books, but these books are more than just fantasy. I have gone directly from one book to the next and they seem to get better. He has some great characters both male and female, who are never simply black and white, good and bad. There is depth to his characters and often a dark side, which is nonetheless likeable. His stories are never predictable. In the 3rd book I went from being outraged by the turn of events, "No, you can't do that!", to being thrilled by the twists and turns. These books were recommended to me and I in turn have gone on to recommend them and to give them to friends as gifts. I've just started the 4th book and I don't want the series to end. Thankfully, I have recently discovered that the latest book, the 5th one is much thicker than the others. Great!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant characterisation, 5 July 2011
This has been such an enjoyable read that I can't wait to get stuck into the next instalment. The TV show whetted my appetite, but the book has surpassed my expectations. Brilliantly drawn characters, all complex and believable. The plot fairly barrels along, and you find yourself reading chapter after chapter to try to get to the next twist. Loved it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Clash of Kings, 28 Jun. 2011
By 
Book Addict "jackie" (ABERGAVENNY, MONMOUTHSHIRE United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
WARNING - POSSIBLE SPOILERS

I had hoped that A Clash of Kings would be as good as The Game of Thrones, so many times the 1st book of a series is excellent but the next is a bit of a disappointment. But not this time, if anything it was better. There were several things that happened that I didn't see coming at all, and they made me catch my breath in surprise.
The story of the Lannisters continues, now they are fighting both the Starks and the Baratheons for the crown.
But this time it is the younger Starks who have more input in the story. Arya , Bran, Stansa and Rickon are put through the mill and it is my no means certain that they will survive.
My favourite character Tyrian Lannister continues to amuse and impress me, Jon Snow mystifies me and Theon Greyjoy gets his comeuppance.
Can't wait to start the next one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the first book., 21 Nov. 2011
By 
Edward A. Thomson (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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GRRM is too clever by far in this book. The number of plot twists started to irritate me. It is fun to expect the unexpected but when your predictions are completely wrong then you have no idea what's coming next. It isn't quite non-sequitur, like Family Guy, but sometimes feels not far from it.

This book sees the introduction of the Iron Islands story thread which I really don't like or enjoy. I can't find anything likeable in those characters and I don't particularly enjoy reading about them. Part of this is because I really enjoyed the Stark's, so I feel a natural enmity here. This story thread becomes a bit more interesting in the last couple of books but I still think it could have been omitted entirely.

Enjoyable but finish it quick to get to book 3 which I think is a better read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly Good, 21 July 2011
By 
Donald Thompson "waldo357" (Belfast N Ireland) - See all my reviews
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If the first book in the cycle, A Game of Thrones, set new standards, a Clash of Kings raises the bar even higher. Following on from the shocking conclusion to the first book the story continues with the emergence of 3 more potential claimants to the Iron Throne,Without giving too much away the story lines started in the first book continue, with one obvious exception, and new voices are added, not all successfully. Again there is the strange mix of stories from children, and some very adult material, sex secenes (Badly written) and magic. If one thing lets the book down it is this, I believe it is about 50 pages too long. While I appreciate the skill of Mr Martin in his descriptive passages, these could easily be trimmed without losing the sense of the story, or its characters.
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A Clash of Kings Book 2 of A Song of Ice and Fire
A Clash of Kings Book 2 of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin (Mass Market Paperback - 1999)
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