Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Clash of Kings

A review by M.G. Lewis

If you’ve read A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, then you’ll be dying to read Martin’s sequel to the book, A Clash of Kings. This book is the second part of a fantasy series entitled "A Song of Ice and Fire." The story contains dark themes, strong language, and quite a few sexual sequences, so I would not recommend it for children or young teens; however, its casual, easy flow, and compelling plot line will make the book’s 728 pages go by in a flash. Being a ninth grader myself, I would put this book at a 8-12 grade reading level.

(Editor's note: I definitely consider this a series for adults, but since some teens are always in search of a new, sweeping fantasy saga and will gravitate towards this one, we are publishing Mary Grace's review. Please pay heed to her warning about dark themes, strong language, and sexual content!)

A Clash of Kings picks up directly where A Game of Thrones ended, with this fictional realm being without a proper king. Since the identity of the rightful heir to the throne is in question, four young men all proclaim themselves king, thus earning the book its name. Just like the rest of the "Song of Ice and Fire" series, A Clash of Kings switches perspective every chapter, so you get to hear the story of each king, along with other characters’ stories as well. The four self-proclaimed kings include hot-headed, mean-spirited Joffrey (a boy of 13), who is the eldest son of Robert Baratheon, the deceased former king; Robert Baratheon’s two brothers, Stannis and Renly; and Robb Stark, who is proclaimed "King in the North" by his dead father’s followers. The reader also gets a taste of life ‘beyond the Wall,’ (referring to the wall that separates The Seven Kingdoms from the wild territories) told from the perspective of Robb Stark’s illegitimate half-brother, Jon Snow; plus you hear the story of Danaerys Targaryen, self-proclaimed Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. (Danaerys is the daughter and only living child of the man who was king before Robert Baratheon stole his throne, so she is technically the rightful heir to the throne. Then again, when reading "A Song of Ice and Fire," everyone is rightful heir to the throne!)

All the characters are highly relatable in this story, and you will fall in love with everyone – even the antagonists! One thing I especially appreciate about Martin’s writing is that he makes his female characters strong and wise, as apposed to the weak, irritating female characters that are often portrayed in fiction. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy, magic, adventure, or just a fine story. Just like its predecessor, I would give A Clash of Kings a 5/5 rating.

Editor's note: We also have this as an audio book, for those who prefer to listen. And as an adjunct to this series...

A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Companion Cookbook: Ever wonder what it’s like to attend a feast at Winterfell? Wish you could split a lemon cake with Sansa Stark, scarf down a pork pie with the Night’s Watch, or indulge in honeyfingers with Daenerys Targaryen? Now you can find out!

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