As read for the Once Upon a Time VI Challenge.
Since the 2nd series of the T.V. show started, I’ve been searching for an English-language version of this book. I found a copy a few days ago and have just finished it.
Blurb (from goodreads)
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.
I’m not going to lie; sometimes when I read longer novels the characters start to get tangled in my head and I have to jot the main ones down. No such problems with Clash of Kings though. Martin’s given each POV character a slightly different way of thinking and speaking. Although I do think that Bran (who’s 9 years old) sounds a lot more mature than he is. Maybe the maturity comes from having to be the Lord of Winterfell in his brother’s absence..
The character whose ‘voice’ I enjoy most is Tyrion Lannister. Before I began this series, I never noticed the extent to which handicapped people are vilified in literature. (OK, so the Hunchback of Notre Dame is one exception, but I’ve never read the book, so he could be very different from Disney’s Quasimodo). In the first book, Tyrion always has a riposte at the ready and ‘reads’ situations and people with ease. In Clash of Kings, he is on form and his character develops beautifully and realistically.
The story itself is very good, although I did wish that there had been a more definite ‘ending’ feel to it. Game of Thrones ended with hosts massing and kings coming out of the woodwork. [spoiler alert] Clash of Kings ended with Bran and Rickon fleeing Winterfell and heading into the unknown. [/end spoiler alert] Whilst it is an ending, it feels more like an open ending that will overlap with the third book in a ‘middle of the series’ way.
Overall If you’re looking for lush descriptions that don’t take over the page, witty dialogue that’s as much bite as it is banter, intelligent characters and a story that glues the reader to the page, this is the book for you.
WNI’s verdict? WIN!