Genre: Fantasy

Notes: I should have started with this book!  If you watched the HBO Series, just skip right to Book #2.

Review: This book is long. I had a goal of reading 50 books this year, but I don’t think I’m going to make it.  This book took me to 41 for the year, but it’s so long it should count as two!

A Clash of Kings picks up right where A Game of Thrones left off.  The books can only be described as epic.  People who review them point out the plot holes of having winter last for decades, but it doesn’t bother me.  The world is well constructed, violent, and believable.

However, I will say that the sheer amount of characters is confusing and some of the chapters I had to slog through while referring to family trees, the map of the Seven Kingdoms, while simultaneously remembering alliances.  Catelyn Stark is still boring, Sansa is still dumb (but getting more lovable), and Theon Greyjoy was confusing.  (Who does he belong to again?!  I kept forgetting.  Where the hell  is Pyke and the Iron Islands and why are they important?) Arya and Tyrion’s chapters make the book exciting.  Seriously, after I finished one of Arya’s chapters, I flipped ahead to see how many chapters I would have to read through to get to her again.   I love their fires and the way the fight to fit into a world they don’t quite belong in.  Arya would rather fight and learn swordplay than sewing and Tyrion fights against his deformity with his razor-sharp wits.

What I like most about the series (so far) is that no character is really good or bad.  Arya (even though she’s my favorite) has some pretty frightening dark streaks, I still can’t tell whose side Tyrion is on, and Cersei even gets moments of sympathy.  Everything comes down to family loyalty and can you really fault anyone for that?  Lannisters stick together, Starks stick together, and everyone vies for control of the Seven Kingdoms.  I’m realllllly curious to see how Dany and her dragons play into this whole thing.  Bring on book three!

Bottom Line: If you like fantasy, you’ll like these books.  It’s not witches and warlocks and weird gryphons who talk (Although, yes, I do love those books).  It falls more into the Lord of the Rings camp than the Mercedes Lackey camp.  I hope the HBO Series continues!