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A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 2 | [George R. R. Martin]

A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 2

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 Mountains 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.

©1999 George R.R. Martin; (P)2004 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Locus Award, 1999

"A truly epic fantasy....The novel is notable particularly for the lived-in quality of its world, created through abundant detail...for the comparatively modest role of magic...and for its magnificent action-filled climax....[Martin] provides a banquet for fantasy lovers with large appetites." (Publishers Weekly)
"Fans of epic fantasy should appreciate this lavishly detailed sequel to A Game of Thrones." (Library Journal)
"Dotrice's range of vocal tones, from gravelly and commanding to silkenly dangerous, creates a mood of insistence that holds the listener captive throughout the epic story." (AudioFile)
"Grabs hold and won't let go. It's brilliant." (Robert Jordan)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (16706 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Nicholas UMATILLA, FL, United States 05-30-12
    Nicholas UMATILLA, FL, United States 05-30-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Epic novel, terrible narration."
    Would you try another book from George R. R. Martin and/or Roy Dotrice?

    Martin is incredible. Great characters, fearless plot--no one is safe--and masterful pace/susupense.

    Dotrice, on the other hand, has mastered all of maybe 3 different voices, and each of them is about as easy on your ears as broken glass mixed with sandpaper.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Roy Dotrice’s performances?

    I may not even listen to the rest of these novels simply BECAUSE Dotrice is involved.


    19 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle san diego, CA, United States 08-10-11
    Michelle san diego, CA, United States 08-10-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "In need of a good editor"

    This is a gripping tale and a good continuation of the story, as others have mentioned I think Roy Dotrice is one of the most talented narrators I've ever had the pleasure of listening to - he makes each character come to life. However this book is probably 30%+ longer than it needs to be - I listened at 2x speed and still found it to be plodding at times. That said, I will continue on to book #3 to see what happens with the Starks, Lannisters and Tagaryans.

    19 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 06-16-11
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 06-16-11 Member Since 2002

    I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Saga not Epic"

    I am writing this review based on the first four books of this series overall.
    There is a LOT going for these books, good character development of many strong, interesting characters (every one with their own fortes and flaws), a superior writing style with interesting vocabulary and a lack of clich??s and many of the other faults found in most fantasy novels. The majority of the chapters are good, a few chapters (at least one per book, excepting book four) are among the best to be found in the genre. Yet I did not come away pleased. The story moves from one complication to another, one interesting character to another (some of the characters have a half-dozen or more names/personae), but there is little resolution. Some sub-plots come to an end, but there is not a resolving. The story seems to have become more a fantasy soap opera than a novel; a well written and compelling soap opera, but a soap opera never the less. The only technical flaws that annoyed me were a few minor anachronisms and some grating crows and half-wits. The narrator for the first three books had VERY strong character voices (which might be too much for many). The narrator of the forth book erred in the other direction (in a book with so many characters character vocal differences can be a good thing). Somewhere in between would be nicer. This was much more of a saga than an epic, more good writing than literature, more a series then a story. I will not be listening to any more unless I hear that they finally and successfully resolve. The first book was the best of the four, with the next two being nearly as good, the fourth was much weaker.

    26 of 32 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Hanalei, HI, United States 03-11-11
    David Hanalei, HI, United States 03-11-11 Member Since 2005
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    "mixed emotions"

    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.

    18 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 08-09-11
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 08-09-11 Member Since 2009

    Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "More blood, guts and gore."

    After reading the first of the installments: Song of Ice and Fire, I decided while I could appreciate much about the book, A Game of Thrones, it was probably too dark and I would not continue to A Clash of Kings. Obviously, I caved. I watched the HBO series of the first book and like it a lot. I particularly enjoy long complex novels so I gave ACoK a shot. While I was not disappointed, it was many hours of blood, guts and gore with very little forwarding of a real story line. A little more magic has been introduced but the common thread of just so much violence and death is just too much. If maybe I get sucked into next season's HBO continuation of Song of Ice and Fire I'll read book 3 but probably not till then. The story is very engaging and book 3 even now calls out to me but so too do some drugs. But I must be strong.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marilyn Armstrong Massachusetts 07-27-11
    Marilyn Armstrong Massachusetts 07-27-11 Member Since 2002
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    "Good, but not one of greats."

    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.

    15 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James ROCHESTER, NY, United States 07-02-13
    James ROCHESTER, NY, United States 07-02-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Problematic, but good on the whole."
    What did you like best about A Clash of Kings? What did you like least?

    Martin's series is grand and ambitious in its scope, and that is simultaneously its blessing and its curse. The writing is strong, but the pace of the story is at once somehow quick, drawing the ear to the next page, and painfully slow. His use of different perspectives to tell the story is refreshing, but there are certain characters that it seems should be added to that list who remain absent, while some characters can grow simply tiresome at times. Nonetheless, if you're here for more of what you got in "A Game of Thrones", you'll find plenty.

    That being said, Dotrice's narration is, to say the least, a mixed bag. Some characters, mainly the older male characters, are given excellent voices. Similarly, the voice he uses to narrate the general text itself is deliberate and clear. That being said, the list of characters who are nearly destroyed by his flamboyant voicing is long and unfortunate. He miserably fails at voicing literally every female character in the book, especially Brienne of Tarth and Mellisandre, and he manages to butcher most of the younger characters, including Theon Greyjoy and Bran Stark. His most distracting and consistent failures come with two of the most important characters, Tyrion Lannister (who is given to sound like a shamefully caricatured leprechaun) and Lord Varys, whose sloppy annunciation and unmstakeable lisp are a shame to Mr. Dotrice and an absolute failure to grasp the character. Also worth mention are his terrible performances as Hodor the stableboy and Yoren the black brother. With Hodor the failure is less distracting, since he only says one word anyway, but Yoren is consistently annoying and hard on the ear in every scene.

    Nonetheless, the writing is strong enough that a careful listener can work around the narration. I would recommend this recording of this book, but be aware of what you're getting yourself into beforehand.


    What other book might you compare A Clash of Kings to and why?

    More important, I think, are the books I would not compare it to. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Heinlein's works and essentially all other rote fantasy material is not fundamentally comparable. Often, the books read more like a novelized, fictionalized history of Scotland or England, and that's a compliment. Martin understands the kind of society he's mimicking, and as such he manages to write what is mostly a political novel with fantasy elements, rather than a fantasy novel with politics.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Roy Dotrice’s performances?

    I will, but *only* because his is the only available narration of these books. Otherwise, I would not be caught dead listening to another of his performances.


    Did A Clash of Kings inspire you to do anything?

    Keep reading the series.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe D Tampa, FL 05-03-13
    Joe D Tampa, FL 05-03-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Track Markers Are All Out of Place"

    Its a shame that you can't go to the beginnings of chapters because the track markers seem to be at random places in the middle of sentences and in middle of chapters.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Prince George, BC, Canada 04-02-13
    Peter Prince George, BC, Canada 04-02-13 Member Since 2012
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    "I'm hooked, but narration..."
    Would you listen to A Clash of Kings again? Why?

    No. I seldom listen to books more than once.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Tyrion Lannister. Obvious underdog, bullied his whole life. He's coming up in the world and doing big things. Will he stay humble? It seems like a question Tyrion would ask himeself.
    That's why I like the character so much.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Roy Dotrice?

    Roy does 2 or 3 voices voices very well.
    But! his females all sound like toothless old crones in pirate movies. Even the young beautiful ones.

    The remainder of male characters sound like grumpy Leprechauns. I'm not joking. They really do. It's getting quite old and it's very disappointing.

    That said Roy has the perfect amount of drama. His voice is excellent for reading the back story. You find yourself lost in the story till it comes time to narrate a female part. Then he snaps you out of it like being awakened from a sleep by a power saw in your bedroom.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    37 hours N/A.


    Any additional comments?

    Just finishing up book 2. Already bought book 3.
    I'm excited about the series and will be more than ready to move on after book 3.
    Regardless of how it leaves me hanging.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shawn OWASSO, OK, United States 06-11-13
    Shawn OWASSO, OK, United States 06-11-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story. Deserves a better reader."
    If you could sum up A Clash of Kings in three words, what would they be?

    Epic, intrigue, adventure


    What did you like best about this story?

    The author does a great job of getting you emotionally attached to the characters.


    What didn’t you like about Roy Dotrice’s performance?

    Inconsistent voices for characters. Everyone sounds like an 80 year old man.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    Great book and story. The Roy Avers narration is much better.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
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