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A Clash of Kings (1999): Sophomore Slump

George R. R. Martin, A Clash of Kings (Bantam Spectra, 1999)

[originally posted 17Sep2001]

Characters deliver oaths of fealty on the book's cover.

And the reader picks it up thinking “how many characters will survive this one?”
photo credit: georgerrmartin.com

Martin continues on in his fictional depiction of the Hundred Years’ War. The throne has changed hands, the exiled princess of the Targaryen line is marshalling her forces, the Yorks– excuse me, the Starks—have been declared the Kings in the North, and the Baratheon brothers are squabbling amongst themselves in the rural eastern bits of the kingdom. It all sounds rather boring when put that way, but it isn’t. Martin has given us a worthy second installment in the Song of Ice and Fire series.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of Martin’s writing is that he’s capable of juggling so many different stories while enabling us to keep enough of the details straight in our heads so we can pick them up again easily. Most notable is the story of Daenarys Targaryen, who gets very little screen time here, but whose story is fleshed out immensely in book two. Martin gives us quite a bit to work with in very few, and very readable, words.

Winter is coming, and I’m quite looking forward to the next book in the series. ****

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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