Saturday, 23 August 2014

Book Review: A Clash of Kings

Entertainment: 9/10
Predictability: 2/10
Density/weight of story: 10/10
Quality of writing: 7/10
Inspires reader: 4/10
Characters: 9/10
Overall rating: 8/10
I started reading A Game of Thrones when the fourth season aired on TV. My boyfriend had started watching the series when it first aired in 2011 and when the fourth season aired, he pestered me to watch the show with him. I declined, stating that I would rather read the books first so I purchased the first few books and began my (incredibly long!) Game of Thrones journey.
Usually I can read a 300 page book in 1 day if I sit down to it, but that usually extends to about 3 or 4 days if I am busy with work or family life. A Game of Thrones took me 19 days to read which, considering its 819 pages are packed full of character development, description and plot, I didn’t think was a bad time scale.
However, a Clash of Kings was a very different story. It took me 70 days to read. 70. Over 2 months. It took a lot longer than I would have liked but alas, I finished it and here are my two cents on the book.
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  1. It is an immensely detailed book. It is probably the most detailed book I think I have ever read, which is both a positive and a negative in this case. The detail really makes the reader feel as though they are part of the Westeros world but at the same time, it can make the usually fast-paced scene feel a lot more dragged out and – in my opinion – almost unreadable.
  2. George R.R. Martin uses extremely descriptive language. Again, this is another positive and negative. He has a certain way with words that inspires me to write (while at the same time making me question my abilities as a writer) and paints a beautiful watercolour in my mind. And then there are times when the words are overkill. He uses incredibly sophisticated language which, combined with the period language he uses as well as the made-up terms he has, can make it quite hard to maintain the flow of the book and – sometimes – understand what he is saying. Nonetheless, I quite like his style of writing.
  3. The book is awfully long. Obviously you’re going to know that this book is 800+ pages before you start reading but the true length of this book dawns on you when you’re about 30% of your way through this book and still have nearly 600 pages (i.e. two average books!) left to read. But you don’t throw in the towel, you finish the book and ultimately, you are glad when you do. However, speaking of the length of the book brings me on to my next point.
  4. A fair amount of the plot is unnecessary. This is – of course – just an opinion but there were times when I was reading that I thought to myself “how does this progress the main plot?” and I realised that it doesn’t. In some ways that is good, as George R.R. Martin is adding a depth to the storyline and characters to make it seem more realistic, but at the same time I find it hard to read a couple of hundred pages of little to no plot progression.
  5. The pacing is peculiar. I have seen a few reviews of this book that basically agree with me when I say that the beginning starts well with a good pace but then slows down (hence why I found it quite easy to stop reading for a month) and towards the end, it really picks up. I found this with the first book where I struggled to finish but as soon as I had, I wanted to start the next.
  6. There isn’t much Daenerys! Daenerys is one of my favourite characters for reasons that even I am not too sure of, but she didn’t feature in the book as much as I would have liked.
  7. The characters are great. Speaking of favourite characters, I have to say that Tyrion is one of my absolute favourite characters. I love his personality, his charm, his outlook on life and, most importantly, his wit. I think he is a great character and I really look forward to reading his chapters! Not only that, George R.R. Martin also has the ability to create characters we love to hate, including the little cockalorum Joffrey.
  8. Martin has the ability to evoke sympathy for the most unlikely characters. Before I got to the last half of the book, I disliked Sansa. It wasn’t just a case of not-liking her; it was a case of dislike. However, when I read the last half of the book, I found that while she hadn’t become one of my favourite characters, I didn’t dislike her anymore and I even felt sympathy for her. Now I find myself cheering for her to be happy again.
  9. It is a very addictive book. As much as it can drag in the middle, the end makes up for it and makes me want to pick up the next book in the series!
  10. George R.R. Martin is a ruthless writer! I never knew what was around the corner while reading this book as he has proven time and time again that he isn’t afraid of injuring or even killing primary characters, meaning no one is safe and anything can happen, literally.
So there we have it, the primary points of my thoughts on a Clash of Kings. I hope you enjoyed reading it. I have but for now, I am going to read some lighter and more frivolous books before I continue on this Song of Fire and Ice adventure!

Peace, love and happiness
- Taisie ♥

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