Friday, August 28, 2009

A Clash of Kings

And the saga continues. In the wake of the tumultuous events in A Game of Thrones, the land of Westeros is torn by war. King Joffrey reigns from the Iron Throne in King's Landing, but he's not the only one who claims the throne. There's Renly Baratheon, the younger brother of Robert Baratheon, the former occupant of the Iron Throne. There's also Stannis Baratheon, Renly's older brother who believes he has the better claim. And there's Robb Stark, the King in the North, who seeks to punish Joffrey and his family for what they've done. And lurking beyond the sea is Daenerys Targaryen, last member of the former dynasty that Robert deposed. Plus there's the wildlings north beyond the Wall, and ancient grudges, and ... wow.

Martin's storytelling continues to be superb in A Clash of Kings. The plots are thick and twisted, the betrayals are fast and furious, and you get the feeling that no one is truly safe, not from each other and definitely not from Martin himself. He's created a rich and detailed world with its own histories, mythologies, geographies, and a bunch of other -ies that make this a living, breathing world. And it's a harsh world as well. These books are still not for the faint of heart.

What really has me intrigued is this idea of a growing power, something that's stirring within the world. I have this feeling that in future books, we're going to see even more factions come into play, more so than they are now.

I also love the fact that there's no one side to cheer for in this multi-fronted war. I stand with King Robb for sure. But I also wish Daenerys the best of luck. And I also root for Tyrion Lannister whenever he graces the stage. Would that I could see the three of them on one side. Those of you who have read the book, if that's what happens (or even if it's not), keep it to yourself. I want to find out on my own.

My only gripe (and it's a minor one) is that I saw one of the twists coming. If it hadn't been a twist, it would have made for a sheer, stunning "whoa" type of moment. With the twist, it was more of an "eh, I suppose" moment. That's not necessarily bad. It kept a lot more options open for storytelling and should make future installments fun.

But I'm hooked and ready for the next one. But I may have to take a breather first. This is a lot to digest, but I'm all for a rich, literary meal.

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