A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Despite the fact that it took me almost 3 months to read this book, I really enjoyed it. I wasn't sure what to expect from the second book in the GoT series. There was some recap, but not enough to be boring. There were some things left unexplained that required reading the first book, and they were really memorable events.
Many familiar characters were main players, as well as some new characters. Some days reading required note taking, just to be able to keep the shifting POV and storyline straight. This is a very intelligent writer, an intelligent story, and not for an idle mind to pick up and be entertained. This book becomes a history of characters that we feel for, we want to weep for, we cheer for, and even when the line between good and evil become blurry, we find ourselves in the story.
The second book becomes more graphic in violence, rape, and battles - I struggled with it a bit, but then realized it was realistic for what is happening in the story. This is a world under duress, where loyalty only lasts until the next "king" is crowned. This is a world torn by violence, confusion, and fear.
Summary: Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held 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, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.
As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky—a comet the color of blood and flame—six factions struggle for control of a divided land. Eddard's son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming courtiers who teem over King's Landing. Robert's two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers.