Saturday, October 3, 2015

Book review: A Clash of Kings intensifies the series

Well it's time to do another review. This week I've finally finished reading the second book of A Song of Ice and Fire, A Clash of Kings.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Westeros is being plunged into a civil war. Not only are the Lannister forces fighting against the armies of the North, but the people of King's Landing are starving and people across the Riverlands are being attacked. To make matters worse their are some men who are not interested in taking any side but their own. Stannous and Renly Baratheon, brothers of the late King Robert Baratheon, have declared themselves king and are waging war against each other. Whoever wins will go on to attack King's Landing. King Robb Stark of the North sends Theon Greyjoy back to the Iron Islands to enlist the help of his father, but only unleashes another power hungry man upon Westeros. Sansa, Arya, and Tyrion are caught up in the various aspects of the war while Jon and Daenerys are experiencing forces at work elsewhere in the world. Loyalties will be tested, friends and foes will rise, and no one will escape the clash of kings unscathed.
George R. R. Martin captures complex politics at work in the world of Westeros. It's hard for any writer to capture the workings of a world in the way Martin has. You can feel the pain and sorrow of many who want to help people, but can't for one reason or another. The human element is also strong here. Most authors tend to have different sides put aside petty differences to work together, but that does not work here. Many people are too set in their pride to listen to reason and as a result many suffer. I also love the amount of world building Martin has done in creating the city of Quarth and the history and lore in the wilds north of the Wall.
However this book does take an incredibly darker turn. He shows that there are darker powers at work in the world, some of them working behind the self-proclaimed kings in their struggle for the Iron Throne. Men and women alike also discuss things that are incredible inappropriate, mainly body parts that shouldn't be discussed except with their spouses. Still if you enjoyed the first book go ahead and pick it up. Just remember: read at your own risk.
The F word appears at least twenty times. Several scenes are sexually explicit and graphic. A man is poisoned. Battles break out and there is blood and gore. A woman goes to see some warlocks and passes through a house of horrors, where corpses try to eat her. Some swearing.
When an unrighteous king comes to power it's the people who end up suffering. A tyrant will enforce his rule upon the people and force them to accept their way. Sometimes what we want isn't what is best for us. We all have gifts that we can use to help others. If we do not control our ambition, we can become something terrible.

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