Read my review of A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)
I am once again stunned by the magnitude of George R.R. Martin’s world-building. A Clash of Kings is a depiction of mass mobilization and shifts of power all across the realm as the aftermath of the events in A Game of Thrones is finally felt. It was incredible to witness all of the moving parts simultaneously playing out as the plot thickened. With the insane amount of characters and a highly dynamic world with its rich history, I could not comprehend how R.R. Martin kept it all straight when writing this.
A Clash of Kings introduces some slightly new themes to the story of A Song of Ice and Fire. For one, religion and its role in shaping the beliefs of the masses are a pretty prominent theme. I enjoyed seeing how the appearance of the comet, for example, was interpreted differently and how those interpretations determined characters’ actions and affected the plot. Additionally, A Clash of Kings substantiates the existence of magic a bit more. In my review of A Game of Thrones, I mentioned how I thought it was unique in the ‘high fantasy’ genre in that its use of magic was very subtle. I was wrong to think that that subtlety would continue throughout the series. What really makes this series unique is that R.R. Martin created a world in which the existence of magic has somewhat faded over the centuries, and as a result, there is a strain of rationalism among many characters that disregard magic as superstition. So it was fun to see how the resurgence of mystical creatures and magical forces challenged the beliefs of some characters.
Along with many new minor characters, A Clash of Kings offered new primary character perspectives for some chapters which made things a bit refreshing. I’m excited to see which character perspectives are used in the next installment. After reading the 1,000 pages that comprise this book, however, I’m happy to take a little break from the series and process it a bit. It won’t be too long of a break though!