Hello!! Welcome to my first ever guest post!!
Today, my very own hubby has gone ahead & written a review on the 2nd book in the A Song of Ice & Fire series by George R.R. Martin. Ya know, that book series that that one hella popular HBO show is based off of? That.
So, without further ado, welcome to A Clash of Kings Review!!
(And don’t worry, he was vague & as non-spoilery as he could get. Or so I’ve been told.)
Hubby’s Review: It took me about 2 years to read A Clash of Kings. It took a while to read Game of Thrones as well, but not nearly that long. I put the book down for most of that time because I had other life priorities. Then I bought a Kindle Paperwhite and decided to finish the book that I had started years before. Any book in the Song of Ice and Fire series is a huge time commitment. You can binge-watch a season of Game of Thrones in a single day. It would take a fast reader twice as long to read the book and only if they read that entire time. Is it worth it, though? Definitely. Is it worth reading the books even if you’ve seen the series? I think so.
I am not a book snob. I don’t believe that I’ve ever uttered the words “the book was way better than the movie.” That being said, there are clearly some benefits to the show. One being that giving a face to the name helps to identify the many, many characters in the story. I found myself looking up characters quite often, just so I could see which one it was on the show. It does help.
There were some moments in the book that seemed to build tension better than the show did. Often, you would read through several chapters with very little mention of a tense storyline. George R.R. Martin also has a masterful way of releasing that tension at the last possible moment. Often, this will literally be in the last sentence of a chapter. I found myself reading the last paragraph of a chapter several times, overwhelmed by what had happened in such a small span of time. This is true even when I was already aware of what was going to happen.
This is not to say that the show did not build tension as well. It did, often in different places. So each definitely has their own merit. The show is indeed a fascinatingly well done representation of the book. The first season was almost note-for-note in lock-step with the books, which is an amazing accomplishment. The second season was a much further departure from the books. The second book being longer than the first, they clearly had a harder time fitting everything into just 10 shows. They also moved around the sequence of events some, which made it hard for me to rewatch the second season after reading the books.
On the negative side, I found Daenerys’ storyline to be a real drag. Not a lot really happened with her story progression; far less happened here than in the first book. There’s some really important foreshadowing that does occur, but there’s a lot of uneventful story that has to be drudged through first. There are so many incredible things that happen to her in the first book, and it ends on such an unforgettable moment with her, that it’s a real let down that so little happens with her in the second book. It’s my understanding that it doesn’t get much better in the next couple books, either. To the show’s credit, I think they did a better job of making her story interesting in the second season.
Overall, the moments that stood out were the Battle of Blackwater and events surrounding Bran and Rickon in Winterfell. The battle played out far better than it did in the show, likely because of budget constraints. The events surrounding the two boys were really suspenseful and riveting. Both of these storylines occurred near the end of the book. There were some really good moments in the beginning of the story, but man, does George R.R. Martin know how to write a climax.
I give the book 4.5 stars. The only real downsides being Daenerys’ storyline and the length of the book itself, which can be a real deterrent to people getting involved in the first place. Everything else was first-class storytelling that few authors can match. The way Martin writes even the fine details are both interesting and engaging. I really felt like I was a part of the world Martin was building, and it keeps you coming back, chapter after chapter.