Just like what I did with Thrones, I also read this half-and-half with the audio book. And let me tell you, if you have to audio book an ASOIAF book, make it this one. Notice I used the HBO tie-in cover instead of the yellow cover. I planned to stick to the non-tie-in covers but Wal*Mart had these copies at $2 off. Oh well.
A Clash of Kings introduces new characters to root for. I say that instead of “to follow” because I honestly related to these new characters as easily as I did in the first book. Also, minor characters in A Game of Thrones were given bigger parts and this is were I appreciated GRRM a bit more. He gave each and every character their own life and back story so if ever he decides to expand their roles in following books, the reader would be familiar to him/her already.
This book is called “A Clash of Kings” because after the death of King Robert Baratheon and execution of Ned Stark, Westeros entered a civil war. Leaders of the different regions declared themselves king as well as all those who claimed they were the rightful successor to the Iron Throne. Robb Stark is hailed King of the North whom at a very young age won every battle he led. Robert’s brothers, Stannis and Renly, proclaimed themselves king, not only of their respective lands but the whole kingdom. In the Free Cities, Daenerys Targaryen became the Mother of Dragons and was set to reclaim her brother’s usurped throne as the rightful monarch of Westeros.
Eddard “Ned” Stark’s death also meant that his children were put in danger from the Lannisters. Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran, Rickon, and Jon Snow were separated from each other and everyone they hold dear. Robb took on the responsibility of being king, Sansa was trapped with the Lannisters as a promised wife to now-king Joffrey, Arya was disguised as a boy to travel with a band of misfits en route to The Wall, Bran and Rickon were left at Winterfell, while Jon Snow ventured Beyond the Wall for his own adventure.
This book, to me, was easier to read and follow than the first one. Maybe it is because the introductions were done and the real adventures were about to begin. We get to see more interesting characters and knowing their stories through different POVs. It set a steady pace. But there really wasn’t much happening in this book. If you’re waiting for something big to happen, it’s not coming. It’s mostly expositions as to where this and that character will go in his/her own story.
But this had my favorite moment to date, whether it be from the book, audio narration, or TV show:
I first encountered that scene in the audio book and I almost howled in laughter. It was the middle of the work day and I was bored out of my mind. And then this part. I scrambled for my book to mark this exchange between Arya and my new favorite character, Gendry. Arya’s chapters are always a highlight of the series. Theon was given POV chapters in this book as well. I don’t really like him as much but it is nice to expand his character after being an afterthought in the first book.
Overall, the high points of Clash are the build up to each character’s upcoming adventures and the new POV characters. It still has the intrigue and scandal we all loved in Thrones and more. The world of Westeros and the Free Cities is big and now that the characters are off doing their own thing, we get to see more of that.
Recommendation: A great follow up to the adventures in book one. I dare you to not pick this up after finishing Thrones.