A Clash of Kings
by George R. R. Martin
Reviewed by Coral
The death of King Robert has brought to an end the uneasy peace that had settled over the Seven Kingdoms. While it is Robert's eldest son Joffrey who now sits on the Iron Throne, his ascension isn't going unchallenged.
Stannis Baratheon is used to not getting what he deserves. As the second born Baratheon male, Storm's End - the ancestral seat of their family - should have been his when Robert became king. Instead he was given the remote Dragonstone to rule, while Renly, youngest of the three Baratheon brothers, inherited their family's land. And this is not the only grievance Stannis has with his brothers - he is not a forgiving man. But with Robert's death and what Stannis has come to believe about Joffrey's parentage, he isn't about to lose something else that, by rights, belongs to him: the Iron Throne.
Unfortunately, for everyone, really, while Renly also refuses to recognize Joffrey as the legitimate king, he isn't about to bow to his brother either. Considering that Robert won his throne through warfare, that Joffrey is an untried boy, and that Stannis is not as well loved by the people as he his, Renly decides to claim the throne for himself.
Meanwhile, in the North, the Tullys and Starks refuse to bow to a Lannister and have no great love for the Baratheons either. Instead, they decide to band together for Northern independence, as it was before the Targaryens conquered them, naming as their king, Ned Stark's eldest son, Robb.
And if that wasn't bad enough, there are also three more armies massing for war, unbeknownst to the Seven Kingdoms: Daenerys Targaryen, with the world's last three dragons, ready to take back her family's throne; Mance Rayder, an Oathbreaker from the Night's Watch, who has gathered an army of wildlings beyond the Wall; and Balon Greyjoy, who has rebelled against the Iron Throne before.
With so many armies vying for power, who will take control of the Iron Throne? And will anything be left of the Seven Kingdoms when they're done?
While I loved this book, I can't help but feel that it wasn't quite as good as A Game of Thrones.
I was a little disappointed with Cersei's character in this book. She seemed a lot smarter in the last book than she was in this one. I was more annoyed with her this time, whereas last time her character was more intriguing.
There were a lot of characters in the last book and there are more added here. As a whole, I think Martin handles them well, but there are a couple of times when I realized how long it had been since there was a chapter about Jon or Daenerys, for example.
Daenerys, Jon and Tyrion are still, by far, my favourite characters in this series.
I found the end of the book is a little muddled and confusing. I'm not sure I understood the moves a couple of people made; I didn't really get the reasoning behind them.
One word: Awesome.
There are still way too many characters for me to keep them all straight (even with the family trees) and it is even more confusing now with people switching sides and more people popping up to claim the Iron Throne. I found this book just as enjoyable as the first one, maybe even more so with the awesome battle scene near the end of the book.
The only slight problem I have is that Theon Greyjoy and Joffrey are very similar. There are so many interesting, different characters that it was a bit disappointed when these two were similar and they are both similar to Dany's brother. I guess there aren't that many way to portray bratty dumbasses.