Over Memorial Day weekend, I completed my reading of George R.R. Martin’s A Clash of Kings, the second book of A Song of Fire and Ice series. After having read book one, A Game of Thrones, and thoroughly enjoying it, I was looking for a very similar experience with this second book. While the story was continued, it was a significantly slower read than the first book. In A Clash of Kings, Martin picks up right where he left off in A Game of Thrones, with the major players in Westeros fighting over who should be king after the death of Robert Baratheon.
I liken A Clash of Kings to The Empire Strikes Back, a lot of character development without the action that was found in A Game of Thrones. All the major players were jockeying around for the best position in order to challenge Joffrey to claim the Iron Throne. I felt this second installment dealt more with Tyrion, Stannis, and Theon more than any other characters in the book. Whereas, there wasn’t as much told of Dany Targaryen in this book, which I was quite disappointed with given how A Game of Thrones ended.
A Clash of Kings still left me quite fascinated with Tyrion Lannister. He seemed quite a bit more devious and cunning than the last book. Take a look at my post here about him when I was reading A Game of Thrones. He wasn’t quite as academic in this second installment as in the first; however, I found him to be quite cunning, and trying to find ways to successfully end a war, that he felt shouldn’t have been started to begin with. I’m still a bit confused as to what his end game is here. I saw him to be playing the political game quite well, but not nearly as well as his sister Cersei. I’m still trying to determine if he’s a baddie or not, I’m not so sure his planning against Cersei was for him to gain power or not. I’ll definitely be seeking out that answer in the third book, A Storm of Swords.
On character I really despised in A Clash of Kings was Theon Greyjoy. I can’t begin to say how shocked and disappointed I was in his actions toward Robb Stark. I could definitely tell how conflicted Theon was trying to gain his father’s favor, but I felt he went significantly too far. He definitely got what he deserved, but I was disappointed as it seemed like he and Robb had a great relationship in A Game of Thrones. I will be quite interested to see how Robb Stark reacts in A Storm of Swords as we really didn’t get to witness his reaction to Theon’s actions.
Overall, I enjoyed A Clash of Kings, just not as much as I did A Game of Thrones. I felt the story was pretty good, but it didn’t quite have the intrigue the first book had. I’m really looking forward to reading the third book later on this year. If you’ve read A Clash of Kings, or any of the other books in A Song of Fire and Ice, I’d definitely love to hear from you!