By: George RR Martin
A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who hold sway over an age of enforced peace are dead, victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel...and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles. (from goodreads.com)
For me these books are so hard to review because there are so many people and stories swirling around and I struggle with how to talk about it without giving anything away. Martin has created a incredibly rich world and characters that are well rounded. I care about these characters, and I want to visit Westeros, and unfortunately for someone like me who gets attached to characters in books, nothing is sacred. Which is precisely the issue. At the end of the first book, Game of Thrones, Martin went ahead and killed off someone who should have been untouchable. With the drop of the sword nobody was safe, and I felt it all the way through A Clash of Kings. Again, because there are so many twists and turns to the story I'm only going to give a broad overview so that I don't ruin anything for anyone!
This books picks up where Game of Thrones ended and we follow our main players as the battle for the throne comes to a head. Robb in the North, Renly and Stannis and then Joffrey at Kings Landing (with his mother pulling the strings). Of course, we also have Dany and her Dragons still trying to find their way back into the seven kingdoms. In other words, there are a lot of people to keep track of, and those are just the people hoping to be King!
For me I found that there was a bit of a disconnect in this book that I didn't necessarily feel in the first book. There were some characters that I simply didn't care for, so I would skim their chapters in order to get to the chapters on the ones I did. I stressed over the fates of Arya and Sansa. Would she make it home to Winterfell and what would she find if she did? Would Sansa find her own voice and somehow find her freedom? I'm always entertained by Tyrion Lannister regardless of what he's up to, so I of course I loved his chapters and looked forward to them. As in Game of Thrones Tyrion did not disappoint! Even the characters who took a back seat to my favorites, Like Theon Greyjoy, still managed to be interesting (although the initial scenes with his sister were rather painful).
Overall, I learned more about Westeros, saw some of the old heroes come up short and witnessed the emergence of new powerhouse characters. So, basically, a good time was had by all! I can't wait to see how A Clash of Kings plays out on HBO.