In the second novel in his his series George R.R. Martin shows the reader what happens when multiple people are all vying for the crown.
Now that the two great leaders are dead (Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon), there is struggle and unrest within the seven kingdoms as more that one individual believes that they should rule. Eddard’s son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming by not only his mother and uncle but by other forces as well. Robert’s two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers.It remains to be seen who will rule the kingdom, but one thing is for sure, there will be blood, betrayal, heartache and death before there can be a ruler.
This book was an amazing followup to the first, I was glad that Martin was able to keep the momentum going, with everything that happened within the first novel. I love all the political intrigue and movements that are made in this book. I love how the most subtle things are the most important and you actually need to pay attention to what is going on in order to figure things out. This is not a book or series for someone who just wants an easy or light read, you need to have the ability to pay attention and remember even the slightest things to try to figure out what will happen next.
If you found that the first novel had too many points of view and it was hard to follow, I think that this novel had less point of views when compared to the first novel and that you get to know the core characters even better. At the beginning once again there are quite a few characters, but due to circumstance and well death(s) there are less towards the second half of the novel. I believe that by the end of the second novel we mainly get points of view from about six characters with another one character thrown in every once in awhile.
It was interesting that there was less of Catherine Stark within this book as now it seems to be more of a "Man Game" (as each "King" attempts to out maneuver the other) and you can tell that she feels put out and really just want to get the girls and go home. However, on a different note there seemed to be more sections based around Ariea which I personally liked because she was one of my favorite characters within the first and I am interested to see what overall role she will play in the books to come.
The demon aspect within this book is downright creepy, when birth is given to the demon, I could not help but cringe.On that note, this book does have a bit more fantasy aspect that many might have found was missing within the first series. There are the dragons, a woman with mysterious powers, the development of Bran's powers and well the demon mentioned above. However, once again the fantasy aspect did not take front and center to the overall plot of things (although they were used in some major occurrences) as the political aspect and literally the clash of kings is what this book is about.
Martin knows how to keep the reader guessing, you never really know who is going to survive from novel to novel and I will say that I enjoy this unpredictable aspect. While the amount of political basted moves may be boring to some, I personally love that part of the book and attempting to figure out what minute detail will matter later and possible determine a characters life or death. I believe that Martin's novel are for anyone who wants an interesting read whether you like to read in the fantasy genre or not, I personally think (so far) that the series is that good.