Sunday, 29 July 2012

A Clash of Kings

Author: George R. R. Martin
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 730
Type: Hardcover
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire
Series Order:
  1. A Game of Thrones (1996)
  2. A Clash of Kings (1998)
  3. A Storm of Swords (2000)
  4. A Feast for Crows (2005)
  5. A Dance with Dragons (2011)
  6. The Winds of Winter (2012)
First Line: ""The maester stood on the windswept balcony outside his chambers."
Synopsis:  The battle for the throne continues in this second book of the Song of Ice and Fire series.  The seven kingdoms of the land have been thrown into civil war with five people vying for the throne.  The crown may rest on young King Joffrey's head but Robb Stark, Renly Baratheon and Stannis Baratheon all have their own claims to that throne.  Dany, the daughter of the Dragon King, is also on her way back to overthrow the usurpers for her father's rightful throne.

My Thoughts:  First off, I apologize for the lackluster synopsis for this book.  It was hard to describe what exactly happened and I'll get to why a little later on.

When I read the first book in this mega hit series, A Game of Thrones - see my review HERE, about a month ago I was amazed at how immersed I was into this very large book.  The characters were vivid, the storylines complex.  Yes, it was more detailed than I was used to but the storyline and wonderful characters kept me going.

Unfortunately I cannot say the same for this book.  Not even close.  The characters, especially my dear evil Tyrion, weren't nearly as interesting and the overall feel of the book was repetitive and heavy.  Really heavy because this book got very bogged down in details.  Personally I can do without too much explanation of who is related to whom, what tapestries were hanging in whose hall and seeing an inexhaustible parade of minor lords and dukes entering into the fray.  Being inundated with excessive description and truly boring conversations between some characters had me wondering "Do I really need to know this?"  It wasn't just the conversations either.  Sometimes at the end of a chapter I was left wondering what Martin was trying to convey to me with that chapter since there didn't seem to be much point to it except to describe the garb a group of lords were wearing. 

Unfortunately this book also felt like a repetition of A Game of Thrones (hence the lackluster synopsis above).  We're still fighting over the same throne, Arya is still on her own, Dany is still on her way back etc etc.  Nothing really changed all that much which didn't bode well for me wanting to stick it out to see what happened.

It was after chapters and chapters of those seemingly mundane moments that, even though I was interested to see what would happen next in the overall story, I gave up.  Honestly, I'm not one to give up on a book easily.  I was on page 475 for goodness sake but seeing that it took me 2 weeks to get to that point and I had another 225 pages to go I just couldn't do it.  I threw in the proverbial towel and here's why ...

I think that this time around his alternating points of view in each chapter got to me.  I'm not talking about two or three main characters telling the story.  I'm talking about NINE.  Nine different characters had their own stories to tell but the sheer number of storylines made it confusing.  There were certain storylines (like Arya's) that really intrigued me but then I'd get to the end of her chapter and have to read a snorefest involving Catelyn and wait another five chapters to see what happened to Arya.  The changes in points of view really hindered the momentum of this already slow book.

At the end of the first book I was thinking that it was pretty cool to have the storyline continue into the next book.  Now, after reading (and giving up on) this second book I've changed my mind.  I've decided that this book's storyline is like the Energizer Bunny in that it keeps going and going and going.  I've decided that I like a book that has some closure.  The big quest that links the books can continue (like Frodo and his ring, Harry trying to defeat Voldemort) but I like an ending to each book in a series.  This one long drawn out drama is too much for me.

I have decided to not read the rest of this series and I am going to do something I just don't do.  I'm going to watch the Game of Thrones HBO miniseries (which I have on hold at the library) in order to see what happens.  I'm hoping that I'll get the gist of the books but not spend weeks reading books that just don't hold my interest.  I feel like I'm cheating but it's that miniseries that got me interested in reading this book series in the first place. 

My Rating: 0 (I didn't finish it)

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