Tag Archives: A Game of Thrones

genericwhitegirl’s CBR Book #28: A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

This is the second book of the Song of Fire and Ice series written by Martin. You really can’t just jump into these books without starting at the beginning, so I’ll assume you’ve read the first book already.

Martin picks up where he left off after book one, and he takes off running. The book is basically in the same format as the first, with a few new voices added in. Basically there are several men and a few boys fighting to be king. Namely Robb Stark from Winterfell, the heir apparent Joffrey Baratheon, and two of Robert Baratheon’s brothers. In addition, Theon Greyjoy, Eddard Stark’s ward, decides to throw his name in the hat and fight for his father’s honor.

In addition to the wars and battles in the south, Jon Snow has traveled north of the wall to find his missing uncle. Although his story doesn’t intersect with the main plot line, I hear it will by book three. Honestly, I was a bit bored by Jon Snow’s chapters.

Of course, we can’t forget Dany, in the East. Her story was my favorite from book I, but it slowed down considerably in the second book. She is still trying to build an army and secure ships for her return.

Overall, I think I liked book I better than book II, but I enjoyed both. I think the biggest obstacle in reading these books is the sheer length. At 969 pages, A Clash of Kings took me awhile to read. And I can’t help but think I could have read 3 or four other books in that time. So while I may eventually read all the books in the series (there are seven planned), I might have to take a break for awhile and catch up on some of my other books.

Kind of a luke-warm review, I know. But if you’ve read their first book, I have a feeling you’ve already decided for yourself if you’re going to keep going or not.

Check out The Blist for more reviews by genericwhitegirl.

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xoxoxoe, #32, A Feast of Crows, by George R. R. Martin, #CBR3

Here is an excerpt from my review of my #32 book, A Feast of Crows, by George R. R. Martin, on my blog, xoxoxo e. I hope to slow down my pace a bit while I read A Dance of Dragons (yeah, right), because who knows how long we’ll have to wait for the next one:

A Feast of Crows, the fourth book in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, is in a very different tone from the previous thrill-a-minute and bloody good (figurative and literally) A Storm of Swords. Its pace is a bit more leisurely, more in common with the first book in the series, A Game of Thrones, than either Storm or A Clash of Kings (book two) — with one significant difference. A Feast of Crows focuses on the women of Westeros, and how difficult it is for them to attain or maintain power in the primarily misogynistic medieval society they live in. The book follows both male and female characters in different parts of the kingdom, but the women, both familiar and new, provide the most interest and intrigue.

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xoxoxoe, #30, A Storm of Swords, by George R. R. Martin, #CBR3

Here is an excerpt from my review of my #30 book, A Storm of Swords, by George R. R. Martin, on my blog, xoxoxo e:

"You know nothing Jon Snow"

I am continuing to enjoy George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. A Storm of Swords is the third book, and as brilliant as the first two were, this one is even better. Martin manages to foreshadow without being obvious, so even if you guess an upcoming plot twist correctly, you don’t feel superior or bored, but just caught up in the overwhelming inevitability of how his characters’ lives and fates are intertwined. Throughout the book Martin has readers on their toes. Not knowing what is coming on the next page, he is daring you to turn it, even if you are afraid that a favorite character might do something stupid or die. But the story and the compelling characters are irresistible, even when you know that in Westeros and in Martin’s books no one is safe.

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xoxoxoe, #29, A Clash of Kings, by George R. R. Martin, #CBR3

Here is an excerpt from my review of my #29 book, A Clash of Kings, by George R. R. Martin, on my blog, xoxoxo e:

Because you can never have too much of Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister

All my intentions to avoid diving right into George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series went right out the window about a week after I finished the first book, A Game of Thrones. I caught a rebroadcast of the first three episodes of the HBO Game of Thrones series (the new season based on second book, A Clash of Kings, starts on April 17, 2012) and then saw the paperback of A Clash of Kings at our local non-big-box bookstore and just went for it. Got to support independent bookstores, right? I couldn’t help it. I wanted to find out what happened next to Tyrion and Arya and Daenerys and Bran and Jon Snow and those amazing direwolves and ravens. That large pile of to-read books that have been haunting me all summer would just have to wait.

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xoxoxoe, #27, A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin, #CBR3

Here is an excerpt from my review of my #27 book, A Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin, on my blog, xoxoxo e:

How did book differ from television? While reading A Game of Thrones it was nice to have a lot of the characters more fleshed out. There were also many subsidiary characters that there was clearly never time for in a 12-episode television series. Martin writes very well and the settings, characters and supernatural histories are meticulously rendered. The character of Jaime Lannister was also a strong, but frequently shadowy, character in the book. His actions, or potential actions, influence a lot of the other characters, but he was rarely seen.

… Martin has worked as a screenwriter in the past for the television shows Beauty and The Beast and Twilight Zone. He also wrote the script for the Game of Thrones episode “The Pointy End,” which was one of the best of the season. While reading A Game of Thrones the sense of visual is also there, but at no time does one feel as if they are reading a spec script. Martin creates a world, with a complicated history. The geography of Westeros is extremely well depicted. As much as there are the inevitable comparisons to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, one of the sore points for me while reading those books was that for all of Tolkien’s endless descriptive prose about the places the Fellowship was walking through, I never felt the reality of the geography. I never “saw” it. Martin’s Westeros not only feels like a real country, but from Martin’s descriptions of terrain, from The Wall to Winterfell to King’s Landing to the Eyrie to Vas Dothraek, I had a real feel of the land. The mysterious creatures that live in these places seemed real as well.

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Ana C’s CBRIII Reviews #4, #5, and #6: A Song of Ice and Fire Books 1-3 by George R.R. Martin

I picked Game of Thrones up as a direct result of all the attention the forthcoming HBO series has been getting on Pajiba, and I’ve been (mostly) really pleased. So much so that I read the next two books in the series (A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords) right after.Song of Ice and Fire is a high-medieval fantasy about the descent of a kingdom (Westeros) into civil war even as it’s threatened by malevolent outsiders, including the Others (ice zombies!), and the arrival of a years-long winter. At the beginning of the story, King Robert—who himself snatched the throne from its previous rightful holder—dies under suspicious circumstances, and two noble houses (the Starks and Lannisters) enter into contest for the Iron Throne. Other would-be kings emerge and soon enough, chaos rules.

Martin hasn’t reinvented the wheel or anything, when it comes to fantasy fiction, but he’s put together a great story in these first volumes of what is really an as yet unfinished mega-novel. In a lot of ways, Westeros feels like it was cobbled together from a catalog of fantasy fiction clichés: there’s the Wall-Type Thing Behind Which Evil and Blight Reside (which you may recognize from Lords of the Rings, or Robert Jordan’s work), there are dragons, there are humanoid beings, and magic. At times, Martin’s commitment to creating an original world can feel a little half-hearted. He’s no Tolkien, you know? But—and this is what’s so great about Martin—it doesn’t matter, because that’s not what the story is about. It’s all about the human drama: the machinations of men and women obsessed with power, the drive to survive, the need to avenge. They could be Tudors. Setting his story in a fantastical world merely serves to liberate him from the strictures of our own history.

There isn’t one character in here that is purely good. Honorable characters are often very foolish, and even many “evil” characters have their odd moments of introspection and kindness. My allegiances changed about as often as the characters’—which is to say constantly—and by the end, I don’t think there was a single person that I had cheered for throughout. Except Tyrion. Tyrion could shake a baby, and I’d still like him. Just as surprising as Martin’s willingness to make his characters complex and unlovable is his willingness to kill them. Even the POV ones*. DUN DUN DUN. It’s that kind of story.

As a writer (in the technical sense of the word), Martin is serviceable. If he could have used a stricter editor to cut down on purple prose and the occasional pointless digression, well, at least he isn’t constantly repeating himself. I like that: I think it speaks to a certain amount of respect and trust in the reader that is often lacking in genre fiction. In Robert Jordan’s books, for example, about 20% of the text could probably be eliminated if Jordan hadn’t assumed we were all suffering from a tragic case of short-term memory loss. Martin ends almost every chapter at a moment of suspense, which is cheap, but effective. The chapters are short, so I didn’t mind so much.

I’d like to address the question of sex for a second: there’s a lot of it (especially in Game of Thrones), and I would argue that a lot of it is written to titillate, rather than to develop the story. Is the sex part of character development? Absolutely. Did I need every last sexy detail of a thirteen-year-old girl’s…um…rape? No. Frankly, it’s distracting. It’s probably more of a problem of style than the actual content. I’m kind of creeped out by the sense that Martin really enjoyed writing all the sex…it’s like a stranger on the bus telling you all about his fantasy involving a peep-toe heel and a lizard named Elmo, and that’s awkward. Even if it is informative.

I recommend this, overall, if you really like fantasy as a genre, and I can’t wait to see what HBO does with it.


*I’m the kind of loser who needs to know exactly which character is going to die, or I get so anxious that I can’t enjoy the book. Am I alone in this?

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