Book Reviews: A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings

A Game of Thrones (Song of Ice & Fire, #1)A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

I final­ly got around to read­ing A Game of Thrones, despite the fact that the series still was­n’t fin­ished when I start­ed, because the tele­vi­sion series was start­ing. Sam real­ly want­ed to watch it, and I did­n’t want to see it with­out hav­ing read the book, so I gave in and start­ed reading. 

Sam had repeat­ed­ly warned me that it was real­ly dark, and indeed it is. I think he said that there are no whol­ly good char­ac­ters. So far, at least, that isn’t quite true. It may be some­thing that becomes more accu­rate as the oth­er vol­umes unfold. There are cer­tain­ly no sim­ple char­ac­ters or plots—but then, I remem­ber enough of Mar­t­in’s ear­li­er work (on the Wild Cards series and such) that I would­n’t expect any­thing else. Peo­ple aren’t sim­ple, or pure­ly black and white, so why would char­ac­ters in good fic­tion be that way? 

The best way I’ve found to maybe tell pro­tag­o­nists from antag­o­nists so far is to use the chap­ter names as guides: the peo­ple whose names are used as chap­ter names are either pro­tag­o­nists or sur­vivors. I’m not sure which. Cate­lyn and Tyri­on are the only peo­ple from the “old­er” gen­er­a­tion who have chap­ter names. No, wait—I just thought of some­one who kills my the­o­ry. I can’t say because that would be a spoiler. 

I did find sev­er­al inci­dents in this first book dis­turb­ing. I don’t like it when bad things hap­pen to chil­dren or ani­mals. Cer­sei would be a fun char­ac­ter to play, although I sup­pose she’ll get her come­up­pance at some point (or I hope she will). I’ve tried think­ing of her as a woman pro­tect­ing her chil­dren, but that’s not helping. 

If you’re eas­i­ly dis­turbed, don’t read the book (or watch the tele­vi­sion series, appar­ent­ly). Just — don’t. You won’t be hap­py with the open­ing scene, and it sets the tone for the rest of the book. But if vio­lent war and polit­i­cal schem­ing, incest as a dynas­tic strat­e­gy, and very occa­sion­al creepy super­nat­ur­al hap­pen­ings are okay with you, it’s a very well-writ­ten book. 

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2)A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

The end of A Clash of Kings snuck up on me. That’s some­thing I had­n’t real­ly thought about before, espe­cial­ly with an 874-page mon­ster like this, but it can hap­pen with an ebook. I’m read­ing along, eager to know what hap­pens next. The chap­ter ends, I go to the next page, and — Appen­dix? What do you mean, Appen­dix! That’s non­sense, there’s got to be more sto­ry here than that! I want to know what comes next, dammit! GIVE ME THE STORY! 

As it hap­pens, I can start read­ing A Storm of Swords when­ev­er I like, unlike all those poor folk who read this book when it was first released. I think I might need to stop and read a few oth­er books first, though. I did read yes­ter­day’s big announce­ment regard­ing A Dance with Drag­ons, but there’s no way I can stretch the next two vol­umes out to last through more than two months until book five actu­al­ly comes out. I’m sure the delay will be worth it, though! 

One thing Sam and I have dis­cussed is Mar­t­in’s mar­velous sub­tle­ty with mag­ic. It’s only bare­ly there at all through­out A Game of Thrones, and can eas­i­ly be dis­missed by any­one who does­n’t have direct expe­ri­ence of it. It grows stronger in A Clash of Kings, but it is still some­thing that just about any­one in the Sev­en King­doms would say belongs in tales for chil­dren. Not rely­ing on mag­ic for the plot takes more dis­ci­pline as an author, and hold­ing back as he is says a great deal about Mar­t­in’s care­ful pace. 

View all my reviews

Cyn is a proud Mommy & Mémé, professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
Posts created 4241

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top