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A Clash of Kings
A Clash of Kings is a second installment which, while not as wham-heavy as the first or third books, is an excellent read that brings Westeros to life so vividly you can smell the death. (Minimal spoilers)

Parts that are awesome:

TYRION: The Imp gets a promotion and plays with fire.

ARYA: Covered in dirt, hounded by soldiers and far from home. Unlike Bran or Sansa, Arya has an active role in the plot and a use for that knife of hers.

VARYS: The master spy gets some sympathy and shows some serious balls.

STANNIS: The closest person to a big bad. His most endearing quality is that he's a rule-abiding, pyre-lighting dick-head yet he's hardly a monster.

DAVOS: Probably the only person with his head screwed on straight. Granted he doesn't call many shots until the next book but it's nice to have a decent sane man every once in a while.

In regards to the pace it's quite slow in the first half. There are five or so threads that don't mix but do reflect on one another. New characters are introduced and existing ones are fleshed out. Some plots walk slowly in yards while others run in miles. In terms of action the story doesn't really lift off until a certain person bites the dust/meets the Stranger midway, and after that it's one awesome moment after the next.

Having great characters, war, intrigue, grief, wonder, horror, wights, dragons, midget sex and a bittersweet ending, A Clash of Kings is an excellent installment well worth the 10.99 (Unless you're French and have to buy it in three volumes,in which case learn Hungarian).

Scores 11/11

Good overview. Though you forgot Theon and Bran had some pretty damn good chapters especially towards the end. Catelyn's chapters got a bit old after she returned from trying to negotiating with Stannis. Jon's and Dany's were just basically dicking around through half the book.

Storm of Swords fixes all that boring shit.
comment #6423 TheKingSlayer 14th Feb 11
I liked this book a lot, although I think "A Storm of Swords" is the best of the first four (haven't read A Dance with Dragons yet). The storyline involving Arya is absolutely nailbiting and horrifying at the same time. Both Ser Davos and Stannis Baratheon quickly became my favorute characters of the series. I like the fact that Stannis comes off as a rather strange combination of Ned Stark and Tywin Lannister-a thoroughly ruthless, power-hungry hardass who nevertheless has his own code of honor and ethics. Davos on the other hand is pretty much a working class Ned Stark-totally honest and decent who questions the idea of "The Ends Justifying the Means" which is what Melisandre is selling to Stannis.

I agree that the Night's Watch and Danerys sequences did little but set up the action for So S, although they are needed. The last few chapters of Jon's story though is quite interesting and I look forward to see how they handle it in the HBO series next year.
comment #10870 Philbert 17th Oct 11
"I agree that the Night's Watch and Danerys sequences did little but set up the action for So S, although they are needed. The last few chapters of Jon's story though is quite interesting and I look forward to see how they handle it in the HBO series next year."

I feel the same way about A Dance of Dragons' Jon and Dany chapters. Pretty much all the other PO Vs' chapters (excepting Tyrion's) were excellent, however the three that made up the most of the narrative (Jon, Dany, Tyrion) felt little more than set up for The Winds of Winter... up until the final few chapters, where GRRM kicks it up a notch. I can only pray that the Winds of Winter is as great a read as A Storm of Swords, however.
comment #11031 HandyHandel 25th Oct 11 (edited by: HandyHandel)
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