Thursday, June 6, 2013

All sorts of people are calling themselves kings these days

It was roughly a million years ago I started reading A Clash of Kings, the second in the A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones series. I downloaded it as part of my I'm-going-abroad-and-need-to-make-sure-I-don't-run-out-of-books frenzy. I thought maybe it was overkill and then finished my other books and started this on the flight back. So it all worked out for me. Actually getting around to reviewing the book has been less successful. Because I am lazy. I'm also not quite sure what to say.

Do I describe the plot? I did a bit with the first book but that was different. If you're starting the series, you should know what you're getting into. By the second book, you know what's up. A bunch of characters are all vying for the crown and I kept thinking of the song Why Can't We Be Friends because I think it would have solved a lot of problems. Or at least made a funny soundtrack to all the fighting.

This book was all battles. And battles. Then there was another battle. Then when you're like "Wow, there have been a lot of battles so I guess we should probably have something else...oh another battle. So. That's neat." At one point I realized I wasn't quite skimming the battle scenes but I found myself hoping the fighting would hurry up so I could get on with the story. Then I realized that the fighting was the story and I was going to need read the next book to (hopefully) hear something different.

I also realized far too late that the book has an appendix in the back that explains who all the characters are and what their connections to each other are. The whole time I'm reading I kept thinking "I need to be taking detailed notes about who the hell all these people are". I blame the Kindle and the fact that I can't just flip through the pages and notice that OH HEY, there's exactly what I need just stuck in the back. So dammit me. I'm sure I will forget when I get around to the next book. I still wish there had been a little "Last time on..." before the chapters because sometimes you go hundreds of pages in between one character's POV chapter and it would take me awhile to realize where we left them.

But there were things I liked about the book:
Arya's story is just getting more and more interesting and she rules.
Sansa no longer makes me eye-roll myself to a headache and her story is actually pretty tragic.
Tyrion continues to kick ass and it was a good thing he kept talking about his sister or brother or father because I kept forgetting he was part of the Lannister family. Because see, they suck and he rules.
Catelyn continues to be strong and tries to hold things together. Plus she pairs up with Brienne who is a fearsome knight AND a lady, so love that
Dani still has her dragons. I like dragons

OK so, I didn't really realize this until now, but despite the fact that I question how much GRR knows about lady-bits, he does have some interesting, fleshed out female characters. It almost makes up for lines like this: "Her small breasts moved freely beneath a painted Dothraki vest." This line is from one of Dani's chapters. As in from her point of view. If I may paraphrase a Cracked list* obviously ladies are constantly thinking about what their boobs are doing..well, all the time. It's sort of two steps forward, one step back, but at least we're still moving forward with female character development.

I enjoy the series. I do. I mean, it would suck if I didn't considering I've read something like 1,700 pages of it so far and I'm only two books in. But this book didn't exactly get me excited to continue on. Whatever the hell happened on the most recent GoT episode that got Twitter and Facebook all hot and bothered makes me want to hurry up and read book three so I can figure out WTF just happened.

So, overall, the book is meh. If this had been the first book, I probably wouldn't continue on. But I shall continue on. Not right away. Perhaps the next time I'm sitting at an airport and I realize that I better download another behemoth so I won't run out while I'm travelling.

*You know, as I do. 5 Ways Modern Men Are Trained To Hate Women

Title quote from page 37, location 857

Martin, George R. R. A Clash of Kings. Bantam Books, 1998. Kindle edition