A Clash of Kings is the thrilling continuation of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, started with A Game of Thrones.
Dotrice continues to get better and better. He really comes into his stride in this volume, honing and perfecting the voices that he started in the first book. While A Clash of Kings has never been my favorite book in this series, Dotrice's narration breathes a life into it that was beyond my expectations.
I highly recommend it.
While I have enjoyed the series immensely, I am periodically put off by Roy Dotrice's portrayals of some of the characters. He does many things so well including consistent and distinct voices for each character and keeping Tyrion and The King slayers voices different but similar (they are brothers). But often he portrays young people and women with voices that sound so unrealistic that I find it disturbing and distracting. Teenagers are often made to sound much older and most older characters sound toothless. I am about to try the fourth book in the series and hope that the narrator, who did Pillars of the Earth, is an improvement, though I suspect from the preview that some of the subtle tones of Dotrice will be sacrificed for more of a "reading" than a portrayal. Stay tuned.
The story is absorbing. It sweeps you along until your finger refuses to press the stop or pause button. I have often found myself sitting in the car late for an appointment, the novel running through my speakers. A mention to the reader. He is good. More than good. He reads with articulation and passion. What a great combo. Get it, you won't be sorry.
I am not as enchanted by this series (I'm about to finish book 2) as most people seem to be. It's good. The characters are interesting, bad guys are very bad and good guys VERY good with a couple of gray people to add spice to the mix. If you are looking for a long, complex series to fill the hours for quite a while, this is a fine choice. But "Lord of the Rings" it is not, nor even "The Wheel of Time." The whole thing is really about war and power and skulduggery. Which, if you like that, is fine. I am more into character development and interaction than endless power plays with the expected back-stabbing and chicanery. And eating. I am a writer too and I know filler when I read it. Every meal is described in absurd detail. Spicing, sauces, even cooking methods. Geez, enough with the food already. It goes on for literally hours in each book. I am not that interested in the quality of their cuisine and if I wanted to watch the cooking channel, I would do that!
It's readable. It has fine narration. There's a lot of action and interesting situations. I will eventually listen to the whole series I am sure, but I'm not in a big hurry to know how it turns out because I simply don't care enough, nor have I gotten sufficiently attached to any character or characters to become deeply involved. And oh yeah, Mr. Martin has a nasty habit of killing off anyone I really like. This is not a cheery tale and the good guys frequently lose. Kind of grim actually. I stick with my initial assessment. Good. Not great.
I've reread this book once already and plan to do so again. I found things that I absolutely did not remember on the second read.
The narrator is EXCELLENT with the many voices and he brings the characters up out of the book. Martin lives in another world to be able to write these story lines. After reading books like this I find it hard to get involved with movies... nothing on screen can be as realistic to me as the mind's eye listening to these type of books.
I can't see anyone enjoying the books in the series "Fire & Ice" without starting at the beginning and reading all the books in order. All the books build on themselves so you need to start with "Game of Thrones" to understand all that has/is happening.
I just hope that Martin lives long enough to get the series completely written...
After pouring through Game of Thrones by Martin, I had to start the second book. I am thorougly enjoying Clash of Kings. You can never get too comfortable with any of the main characters, because you never know when Martin might lop one of their heads off or torture them mercilessly. He is gifted at making you laugh, gasp, and shriek all at the same time and that's just in one paragraph. He writes with such determination and weaves such a tapestry of rich details and characters, that you can't help but delve headlong into his world. I highly recommend this book for any lover of fantasy. Martin is one of the all time greats!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this series and approached the audio version with a bit of trepidation. This is a LOT of listening, so the actor doing the portaryals had better be up to the task. Mr. Dotrice does a SUPERB job! His accent and inflections are beyond wonderful! Dick Hill had been my all-time favorite reader -- now he must share his "title" -- this series would be worth buying just to enjoy the readings. The story itself is among thte best in the fantasy genre, even in spite of some unnecessary digressions the author sometimes takes -- they are usually so intriguing that the story is all the richer for it. PARENTAL WARNING: there is a goodly amount of very graphic sex and violence -- all very appropriate to the story, but you must decide if your adolescent reader is ready for it. The earthiness adds to the reality of the tale: so realistic, you'll wish you were reading history instead of fiction.
Oh -- and unlike MANY fantasy writers today, these characters actually develop!! And you don't waste time with "reluctant heroes" that can't quite seem to grow into their role. (Robert Jordan, take note. There is more action in any single chapter of Martin's books than all of Jordan's over-padded tomes combined!)
The story was at the same level as A Game Of Thrones. However, I preferred how underplayed magic in that book was, leaving you to wonder if magic was real or just folk lore and superstition. However, in this book, the use of magic is gratuitous and over-the-top. The Harry Potter world's use of magic may have been more toned down.
The first book left me shocked by the way it ended. I just had to get the next one. Now I need to get them all. I had to watch the HBO series in order to get a better idea of who was who. So many names. Although the HBO series was good, the books as always are way better. I already have a couple of friends reading the series. George R Martin, your mind is amazing. Don't stop writing, we need more!
Martin has a command of personalities and creating engaging believable characters who's trials and trivulations keep the reader hooked at every point. The world is complex and true to its own rules, magic is wonderfully understated as well.