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A Clash of Kings - Book Review

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by Elizabeth Dempsey (subscribe)
Brisbane university student and aspiring writer constantly satisfying my craving for adventure and experiencing the diversity of life. Come explore Queensland with me. What will I get up to next?
Published May 22nd 2013
Civil war fantasy style
game of thrones a clash of kings book

The kingdom is at war with itself. Five powerful (some by themselves and others due to the army behind them) men and one forgotten Queen make a claim for crowns. Three kings declare their claim the iron throne where psychopathic King Joffrey still sits. Robb Stark declares himself King in the North desiring to return to the old days where Winterfell was the home of royalty. Balon Greyjoy (Theon's father) proclaims himself king of the Iron Islands and launches an attack on the North. The second book in the A Song of Fire and Ice series brings more intrigue and answers to curious questions slowly begin to reveal themselves. It also is a little thicker then the last. For a review of the first book in the series see this link: Game of Thrones Book Review.

I personally enjoyed this epic fantasy book much more than the first. Whilst excellent, the first is more of a complex build up to the coming storm that is A Clash of Kings. Discrepancies start arising between the television series and the book, however, it is nothing to start a riot over. Two new character's perspectives are taken on: Davos the 'onion knight' and Theon Greyjoy. Davos, a smuggler turned 'King' Stannis' trusted counsel and ship captain with a few missing finger joints. His chapters were not something I dreaded like Catelyn's, however, could be quite dull. Nevertheless, Davos was a key character in opening up the story. Theon, the ward of Winterfell, returns to Pyke where his father, Balon Greyjoy, offers him only scowls. Furious at the fact he may be overlooked as the heir he makes for Winterfell with a small army. A very small army. I found Theon's chapters particularly dangerous to read on the train. His antics gave a few old ladies heart attacks. Of course, their eyes should have stayed on their Barbara Taylor Bradford books. He has quite the penchant for young women.

The beginning of the book picks up right where Game of Thrones finished. We find fierce Arya Stark on her way back to Winterfell amongst criminals that are on their way to the Wall to take the black. Tyrion Lannister finds that the being Hand of the King fits snugly and has taken upon a questionable consort. Catelyn Stark is our eyes into the battle plans of Robb Stark the 'King in the North'. Her grief over (please read the first book before you read this next line and in fact this entire review) her husband's execution at the command of King Joffrey is invasive. Daenerys Tagaryen find herself lost in a desert wasteland with her baby dragons and a small band of Dothraki still loyal to her. What most pleased me was beginning to discover what lay beyond the Wall through the eyes of Jon Snow. The Watch ventures far North to investigate the incoming wildlings. Sansa Stark is still imprisoned in her abusive relationship with her betrothed King Joffrey, however, a grateful but drunk knight promises her an eventual escape back to Winterfell. Bran keeps us updated on the state of Winterfell and the broken state of his hopes. Two siblings from House Reed come and stay at Winterfell and help him learn that his dreams are much more than they seem.

Alliances are made, people are betrayed and quite a few lives are lost along the way in truly violent displays. If you have a taste for blood, the number of battle scenes in this book is sure to please your twisted heart. A Clash of Kings is an excellent follow up to Game of Thrones. For a book of 873 pages it had surprisingly few dead spots. It was also incredibly difficult to put down. The mystery, the intriguing growing plot and the overwhelming number of unanswered questions makes it impossible not to continue to the third installment where we are thrown even deeper into fantasy.

4.3 out of 5 Kings.
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Why? Because the first wasn't enough. This is epic fantasy.
When: Whenever.
Where: Wherever a book can fit into your hands
Cost: Averaging about $12 from various retailers.
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