Clash of Kings is a worthy successor. Review by Violet Kane

Book Cover
The Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms may not have a unequivocally rightful heir, but the successor of George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones is more than fit to rule.

Clash of Kings opens to the uneasy political climate left from the climax of Game of Thrones. The bratty King Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne, a front to his mother's ambitious regency. Stannis, the brother of deceased King Robert, plots to take the throne with the aid of a powerful sorceress. Winterfell has declared teenaged Robb Stark to be King in the North after his father's execution. Arya is on the run, living in the guise of a peasant boy. Sansa is imprisoned at King's Landing, begrudgingly engaged to Joffrey. Jon Snow ventures north behind the Wall, with the brothers of his order, intent on protecting the Seven Kingdoms from an inhuman menace that could make every contender's claim to the Iron Throne irrelevant. And across the sea, still under the radar of the bickering enemies of the Seven Kingdoms, Daenerys and her newborn dragons set off across the exotic southern kingdoms gaining attention, followers and power.

In this second book of his Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin delivers on the promise of his first book. The scope of this story is huge, the viewpoint characters numerous, but Martin always grounds the story in character conflict, letting the morally ambiguous decisions and motivations of his cast control the forward motion of his tale. Fans will be delighted by the constantly new, shocking, and deliciously horrendous twists. Martin's work is "dark" fantasy, but not in the usual sense of this terminology. He does not hesitate to show the sordid and petulant side of humanity. Who needs a nameless, unspeakable evil when you have the baser motivations of man? Martin is unromanticized fantasy, and he delivers once again a dirty medieval world in all its gritty detail. There is enough magic to keep traditionalists happy, but it is accessible and matter-of-fact. Fantasy of light fantasy (light on magic, that is) will find Martin wholly enjoyable as well.

Martin proves that he is a modern master with Clash of Kings. Speculative fiction readers of all types will enjoy this series, and fantasy fans especially will delight in the novelty and fast-pace of this series. The only readers who might not enjoy it are the faint of heart.

Read our reviews of Song of Ice and Fire Book 1, Game of Thrones, and Book 3 Storm of Swords!

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Violet "Violanthe" Kane is the Webmaster and Founder of ARWZ.com. She is an editor of ARWZ Literary Zine and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Medieval studies.