Categories
Books

A Clash of Kings

A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy, a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress, and wild men descend from the Mountain of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel … and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.

The sequel to A Game of Thrones picks up right where it left off, and continues what it started. That is to say, there’s a lot more fighting.

And there’s a few new vignettes. Theon, the ward of Winterfell, emerges with his own story. The other new vignette is that of Davos Seaworth, the “Onion Knight” of Stannis Baratheon. Through Davos, we learn more about Robert Baratheon’s older brother, who is also one of the men vying for the throne. Mainly, the fact that instead of Multiple gods, Stannis worships the one god his wife believes in, referred to as the Lord of Light.

Plot can be thought of in terms of a bell curve. The left side of it is usually the rising action – the events that lead to the climax, or the highest point of dramatic tension. The right side of the bell curve is usually the falling action, or the resolution to the dramatic tension.

A Clash of Kings, however, has a plateau. The action continues to build, and then it hits the ground running, keeping the same pace of events until the very last pages.

And even the end of the book isn’t really a resolution to any of the action – it only signals more to come.

This sequel definitely doesn’t disappoint!

Categories
Books

A Game of Thrones

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are amassing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a take of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no man-made metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne, and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win the deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

A Song of Ice and Fire – in which A Game of Thrones is the first book – doesn’t have chapters so much as it has characters. It has so many different characters that it can be confusing at times, but one might say that A Game of Thrones is comprised of vignettes featuring Jon Snow, Bran Stark, Eddard (aka Ned) Stark, Arya Stark, Sansa Stark, Catelyn Stark, Tyrion Lannister, and Daenerys Targaryen.

It takes awhile to get to the meat of the story, but this book very much sets up future books in the series. George R.R. Martin does take his time describing things, but he doesn’t waste words. As long as they might be at times, the descriptions are necessary to contextualize the story.

With quite a few cliffhangers, it’s an easy book to get sucked into. And it doesn’t let go.