Gripping read – normally I’m into a few texts at a time – as an avid and voracious reader I like to keep my interests mixed, but this one absolutely consumed me! As a sequel, there is far more “action” taking place, and it is possibly one of the novel’s noticable improvements, but G.R.R. Martin in Game of Thrones often neglected the battles or attacks in order to give news of the result as a far more shocking realisation than the reader journeying through the fights with the protagonist of the chapter. This happens less often in A Clash of Kings and is the better for it, as the pattern itself becomes less predicable after a fashion.
What I love about Martin’s enduring style is that you quite often root for someone new in each chapter, even if at the outset you are not too pushed about leaving the previous cliff-hanger to find out more about Sansa or Catelyn – who really come into their own as riveting characters in this text as central to the evolving plot. If you take them out of the mix, most of the novel loses all context, so Martin was wise to show their own wavering strengths as central in the sequel. I even found myself cheering on Theon and Tyrion, despite Greyjoy and Joffrey being easily despised by their actions. It takes real skill as an author to keep the reader pledged to opposing characters beset by ever-diminishing odds and fortune; but Martin has it in spades.
The text is long, and sometimes feels like it, but you’re frequently grabbed by a section – usually towards the end of a chapter, that makes you read that much further, and then when a new character opens the next one that you want to follow some more; you forget it is almost 3am and you just know that the snooze button will get some exercise in the morning!
I can easily reccomend this as a text for any fan of the previous book or the TV series, and while I’d love to spoil the latter half of the text with some preview, it’d be a diservice for anyone who takes the time to read this epic novel. I look forward to starting the sequel fairly soon, but to be honest, I already feel like a break is in order to knock out something a little different before re-entering the time-consuming world of Westeros!
Well worth the read – and riveting to the finish. 4/5