Book Review: “A Clash of Kings”

I’ve finished book two of George R. R. Martin’s enchanting Song of Ice and Fire series.

General Information

A Clash of Kings
(A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 2)

Author: George R. R. Martin
Original Publication Date: February 1999
ISBN: 0-553-10803-4
Length: 761 Pages
Cover Price: $18.17 US


Picking up immediately after A Game of Thrones, this book reveals the manueverings of the many new kings that have sprouted up. New characters are unveiled, and older characters are given a bigger part in this political-action thriller of a fantasy novel.

High Point

“Paying the iron price” will become a part of your lexicon after this book. Trust me.

Low Point

The battle of King’s Landing was great, but all too brief for my taste. Also, the specific fate of one whole family/army is left unaccounted for (at least in this book).

The Scores

This is still one of the most original fantasy series I’ve read. It can drag in places, but there is an even greater feeling of dread that pervades each chapter. 5 out of 6.

The imagery improves greatly from book one. Specifically within Bran’s dreams, you get a real deep feeling for the environment. 5 out of 6.

The story is now even sharper, with old characters in new roles as well as new plotlines. 5 out of 6.

Characterization is still very crisp. Martin continues the excellent portrayal of old characters as well as new. 6 out of 6.

The emotional response is chilling. This book is even darker than the first. Events are moving forward at a brisk pace towards and uncertain end. 4 out of 6.

The editing is good. Keep using that family tree and map at the back of the book. 4 out of 6.

Overall this book wasn’t as surprising or shocking as the first, but that’s only due to consistant storytelling. 5 out of 6.

Total: 36 out of 42

What’s Next?

Martin has continued this series with A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows (coming April 2003). The author has announced (on his website) that there will be a fifth volume, A Dance with Dragons. Whether this is the last one is anyone’s guess.

Other works by George R. R. Martin: