Monday, July 11, 2011

A Clash of Kings - reviewed

A Clash of Kings Book 2 of A Song of Ice and Fire By George R.R. Martin

Following on from the recent TV series A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin’s A Clash of Kings can be described in one word – bloody. This book starts with magic and murder; continues with murder, sex, torture, more murder, mayhem, sex, political intrigue, incest and oh yes more murder. This is the type of fantasy epic that would have Tolkien turning in his grave. Martin, who has frequently been compared to the creator of Middle Earth, spins a tale that draws you into his nets never to let you go.

His tales are told through the eyes of bastards, princes, queens and dwarves. All these tales combine to create a unique story leaving the reader itching for more. In fact no sooner had I bought the second book than out I went and got the third and fourth. Martin’s attraction is that he draws the reader into the lives of his protagonists. You genuinely begin to feel for his characters and yearn to find out what happens to them. That could be his secret and maybe his downfall.

Martin has created a world so large and intricate that at times it feels that he is struggles to get to the point of his story plot-wise. You cannot deny the quality of his writing ability but he seems unwilling want to leave any part out. “Through the steel and padding of his helm, he heard anguished screams, the hungry crackle of flame, the shuddering of warhorns and the brazen blasts of trumpets” This novel itself was over 700 pages long and is only the second book of seven. Book five is out this July having been delayed for many years. Martin’s soap opera type world is so interlaced with cliff hangers, mysteries and unfinished mini-stories that to finish it in just seven books seems like a mammoth task.

Martin does deserve the comparison to Tolkien even if his work is a bit more Hollywood. His creative ability and imagination are much to be admired. But like Tolkien his greatest pitfall could be that he might leave some of his best work unfinished, because of an unwillingness to complete it.

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