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Friday, August 14, 2015

Book Review: A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2) by George R.R. Martin

BOOK review
Started on: 7.July.2015
Finished on: 2.August.2015

Title : A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2)
Author : George R.R. Martin
Publisher : Harper Voyager
Pages :  913 pages /  993 pages (e-book)
Year of Publication : 2014
Price : $19.69 (

Rating: 5/5
*for those who haven't read the first book, this review may contain spoiler.
Review for A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) by George R.R. Martin here. 
"The Iron Throne is mine by rights, but how am I to take it? There are four kings in the realm, and three of them have more men and more gold than I do. I have ships... and I have her. The red woman. Half my knights are afraid even to say her name, did you know?"
The realm is in chaos after the death of King Robert Baratheon and his son, Joffrey Baratheon, sits on the Iron Throne. Robert's brothers, Stannis Baratheon and Renly Baratheon both claimed that they're the rightful heir to the throne. Stannis Baratheon received helped from Melisandre, a priestess of the Lord of Light—R'hllor; while Renly Baratheon wins the support of Baratheon and Tyrell bannermen and now owns an abundant army. In King's Landing, Tyrion Lannister is appointed as the new Hand of King. But his job won't be easy because he's constantly conflicting with his sister, Cersei Lannister. With so many people who call themselves King of Westeros, war naturally arises which causes turmoil throughout the lands.

"So what will you do, m'lord, now that you're the Hand of the King?" Shae asked him as he cupped that warm sweet flesh.
"Something Cersei will never expect," Tyrion murmured softly against her slender neck. "I'll do... justice."
North of the Wall, Jon Snow and the Night's Watch went scouting through the Haunted Forest in search of Mance Rayder, the King-beyond-the-Wall. While across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen travels with her small khalasar along with her three newborn dragons. When they finally set foot on the city of Qarth, people are enthralled by the sight of dragons that they thought were dead. And Daenerys plans find aid to help her reclaim the Iron Throne that was supposed to be hers.
"And both of them kings now," Weese said. "Realm's got more kings than a castle's got rats."
image source: here. edited by me.
I literally had no idea where to start my review on this book—so MANY things happened and the story has definitely progressed a lot since the first one. I do have to say that I enjoyed this book better than the first one, since I've already understood the world building, main houses/characters, and I'm already invested in the storyline. Watching the first season of the TV series definitely helped a lot as well, because I picked up some details that I didn't pay attention to when I read the first book. Thankfully, I wasn't spoiled about anything in this second book, so I thoroughly enjoyed all the sudden twists (deaths) and madness that's happening—which made my reading experience a lot better this time around (since I was horribly spoiled when I read the first book).

A Clash of Kings is written in multiple POVs, but with different characters from the first book: Arya Stark, Sansa Stark, Tyrion Lannister, Bran (Brandon Stark), Jon Snow, Catelyn Stark, Davos Seaworth, Theon Greyjoy, and Daenerys 'Stormborn' Targaryen. Each characters covers the different settings that are involved in the story. Jon Snow tells everything that's happening beyond The Wall, Daenerys is currently across the Narrow Sea, and the rest are in Westeros—each of them focusing on different settings/issues.
"He can rule in Winterfell as he pleases. He can even go on calling himself King in the North if he likes, so long as he bends the knee and does me homage as his overlord. King is only a word, but fealty, loyalty, service... those I must have."
"I am certain of nothing in this fickle and treacherous world, my lord."
Most of the events that occurred in this book takes place in Westeros, because war between all the people who claimed themselves King is happening. That's why I think the title of this book, A Clash of Kings, fits the story perfectly. The conflict involves King Renly Baratheon and King Stannis Baratheon who both declared that they're the rightful heir to the Iron Throne—not Joffrey Baratheon who's currently sitting on the throne. There's a lot of complicated politics happening; especially because Renly and Stannis are brothers who doesn't have a very good relationship. In King's Landing, Tyrion Lannister is appointed as the new Hand of King and he's planning to fix all the craziness that his sister and nephew has created. There's a different battle happening beyond The Wall, where Jon snow is located along with the rest of the Night's Watch. The Night's Watch will have to face the wildlings who united under 'King-beyond-the-Wall', Mance Rayder. And lastly, there's Daenerys who travels east together with her small khalasar and three newborn dragons. She's looking for aid to help her reclaim the Iron Throne and came across dangerous people who are eyeing her dragons.

Of course, I won't thoroughly discuss all the detailed plots because that will obviously spoil a lot of things. But I will say that I am forever amazed with the direction that George R.R. Martin takes this story to. The thing that I love the most about this series is how realistic it all seems. No one is ever safe in the realm. There are times when good people will lose the battle and the evil might win with trickery. Even though I've realized this since the first book, I'm still surprised at all the sudden twists (and deaths) that happened in this sequel.
"A good act does not wash out the bad, nor a bad act the good. Each should have its own reward."

Instead of discussing the plot, I will talk more about the characters like I did for the review of A Game of Thrones. I will briefly mention their roles in this book as well as my favorite/memorable scenes from them. Hopefully my discussion on the characters won't spoil too much things for those who haven't read the book or watched the TV series. Because there's so many characters, I will divide them according to their setting/continents and mention whether I like/dislike them.

☆ Westeros ☆

  • Tyrion Lannister
This character deserved to be mentioned first because he's my favorite character ever since the first book. I'm really glad Tyrion played an even bigger role in A Clash of Kings since he's appointed as the new Hand of King. Even though Tyrion is not the most angelic person amongst all the other characters, I feel like he's the wisest person who probably has a bigger chance of surviving in this twisted and complicated realm. His plans in this book are amazingly very well-thought-out, because something that he did earlier in the book turns out to be extremely useful later in the story. He's also very careful amongst all the people in King's Landing; he managed to use people without fully trusting them, and that's very smart considering all the treachery that's happened in the first book. In short, Tyrion is an amazing character; he's witty, wise, and probably the only character with humor—his sarcasm always crack me up. What happened to him towards the end of the book made me sad :( But Tyrion is a strong character, so I'll know he'll survive.
"I need my own informers. Not that I'd trust them either. Trust would get you killed."
"A folly," sighed Tyrion. "When you tear out a man's tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you're only telling the world that you fear what he might say."
"Nothing to say, Your Grace?" his uncle went on. "Good. Learn to use your ears more and your mouth less, or your reign will be shorter than I am. Wanton brutality is no way to win your people's love... or your queen's."
  • Joffrey Baratheon
One thing I'd like to say about this character, thank God for that person who threw shit at his face. His character is a hundred times more annoying in this sequel; I guess it's because he finally get to sit on the Iron Throne and feels that everyone should bow down to him. George R.R. Martin definitely succeeds in making this character extremely hateful. He acts all powerful and stuff but Joffrey is a real coward. And I can't help but laughed when he got hurt by the Iron Throne. Oh, Joffrey, you deserved it.
  • Cersei Lannister
The Queen is still very sly in this book; but I'm glad Tyrion is there to fend against herbecause obviously she's not as smart as Tyrion is. In this book she also showed her motherly side in which she always wanted to protect her children. There's also a bit of backstory on Cersei's childhood (which I really liked) about how she was kind of jealous of Jaime who's the heir to Casterly Rock. And her most memorable line is her advice for Sansa. That's probably been her ultimate weapon all these time.
"You little fool. Tears are not a woman's only weapon. You've got another one between your legs, and you'd best learn to use it."
  • Grand Maester Pycelle / Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelis / Varys
And here's the sneaky bunch! Tyrion was able to detect the traitor among the three with a brilliant strategy (he was kind of Sherlock-Holmes-ish in that moment, I'm amazed). Even so, that doesn't mean the other two are not less treacherous. Petyr Baelish seems like he has a plan up his sleeve. And even though Tyrion received help from Varys, there's something about him that seems off. He literally knows about everything and I assume that's quite dangerous. Still not sure what to think about them, but I obviously don't like them.
"Do all maesters lie so poorly? I told Varys that I was giving Prince Doran my nephew Tommen to foster. I told Littlefinger that I planned to wed Myrcella to Lord Robert of the Eyrie. I told no one that I had offered Myrcella to the Dornish ... that truth was only in the letter I entrusted to you."
"Lord Varys," he said from the sadle, "sometimes I feel as though you are the best friend I have in King's Landing, and sometimes I feel you are my worst enemy."
"How odd. I think quite the same of you."
  • Arya Stark
I feel sad for Arya because she's one of my favorite characters in the first book, and this time she had to suffer so much. I kind of wished that Jon Snow finds out of her situation and he'll surely go to save his favorite little sister. But in this cruel world, I know it's impossible to happen :( But since Arya is such a badass little girl, she managed to survive so far. My favorite part in Arya's narration is her prayer in which she mentioned all the people she wanted dead. It's quite sad, but in a way I want her wish to come true as well. In this book, Arya is also quite witty and smart. I love what she did to Jaqen H'ghar, the man who made her become the Ghost of Harrenhal.
She wished somehow they could come to the Wall before Winterfell, so Jon might muss up her hair and call her "little sister." She'd tell him, "I missed you," and he'd say it too at the very same moment, the way they always used to say things together. She would have liked that. She would have liked that better than anything.
  • Jaqen H'ghar
His character is very mysterious in this book; and even though it's unclear whether he's a protagonist/antagonist to the story, I really want to see more of him in the next books. I'm amazed at his stealthy murders, he's cool. I also love the phrase Valar Morghulis that he told Arya, which means All Men Must Die (this book haven't mention the meaning yet, but I googled it).
"As well ask what good is life, what good is death? If the day comes when you would find me again, give that coin to any man from Braavos, and say these words to himvalar morghulis."
  • Theon Greyjoy
If there's a character that I probably hate more than Joffrey, it will be Theon Greyjoy. I really want to spit in his face because he's so terribly annoying. Theon is not so clever (or should I say stupid) and his ambitions of becoming a king (or prince) kind of blinded him. It's very satisfying for me to see Theon got tricked by his own sister, Asha Greyjoy. I'm definitely rooting for her more to become the heir of the Iron Islands; she's really cool. And as I was reading the book, I kept wanting to curse Theon because he caused so many good people die :((( I hate Theon. I hope he gets a nasty death later in the story.
"Then perhaps Lord Eddard should have kept you chained to a dungeon wall. Instead he raised you among his own sons, the sweet boys you have butchered, and to my undying shame I trained you in the arts of war. Would that I had thrust a sword through your belly instead of placing one in your hand."
  • Bran (Brandon) Stark
I'm very happy because we finally get more explanation on Bran's weird dreams. I'm really interested to see what kind of role he will play in the next book of this series.
"When we speak of the morrow nothing is ever certain."
There are also some other characters like Renly Baratheon and Stannis Baratheon that I will just mention briefly. About Renly, I'm pretty sure the book doesn't openly mention that he had a 'relationship' with Loras Tyrell—unlike the TV series that shows their intimate moment together. As for Stannis, he actually had an advantage with the help of Melisandre, who seems to be able to do wicked magic-thingy because she survived the poison that killed a Maester Cressen. I'm really interested to see if she'll play an important role in the next installment of A Song of Ice and Fire series.

☆ The Wall ☆

  • Jon Snow
I love Jon's character even more in this book. And his adventure scouting through the forest is very intense from start to finish. There's even a girl who seems to have seen the whitewalkers. I am most excited because Jon finally met Ygritte (a wildling) in this book! I'm really fascinated by the story that Ygritte tells about Bael (the King-beyond-the-Wall) who fell in love with a Stark. I'm intrigued to see Jon's fate later in the story because he's in a pretty dangerous spot now. I really didn't expect the sudden twist that happened.
"Your heart is noble, Jon, but learn a lesson here. We cannot set the world to rights. That is not our purpose. The Night's Watch has other wars to fight.
  • Qhorin Halfhand
Even though Qhorin's character was just introduced in this book, I can't help feeling so incredibly sad with what happen to him at the end. THE FEELS! I didn't realize anything even when Qhorin kept asking Jon Snow if his sword is sharp or not; but it all made sense in the end because he already know what's going to happen when they met the wildlings :'(( You're a good and brave man, Qhorin.
"I did not command it. I told you to do what needed to be done, and left you to decide what that would be."

☆ Essos ☆

  • Daenerys Targaryen
Unfortunately, Daenerys doesn't play much part in this book and there's not that much progress either because she only has a few chapters. But we finally get to find out the names of her dragons; green one called Rhaegal after her brother, Rhaegar; the cream-and-gold called Viserion after Viserys, and the black beast named Drogon after her deceased husband, Khal Drogo. There's an intriguing prophecy about Daenerys's future; three treasons will she know: once for blood, once for gold, and once for love. So I'm really looking forward to see what'll happen to her next—especially when her dragons have grown. I still love her charismatic and strong character; hopefully there'll be more Daenerys in the next book :))
"Dragons die." She stood on her toes to kiss him lightly on an unshaven cheek. "But so do dragonslayers."

"Pretty thing, and such a bad liar. A dog can smell a lie, you know. Look around you, and take a good whiff. They're all liars here... and every one better than you."
Even though it took me a long time to finish this book, I didn't regret any second of it. When I started reading, I was instantly sucked into the world of A Song of Ice and Fire and am very invested in the crazy plot. I'm very satisfied with all the character developments as well as some history behind some of them—which helps with the world building and made me understand the characters better. As I've said earlier, one of the best things about this book is probably the jaw-dropping twists that constantly happened throughout the story. And I really can't wait to jump into the third book to see what's going to happen next in this messed up world.

Sorry for the long review. Here's a GIF to describe my overall feelings about this book.
by.stefaniesugia♥ .

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