A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who hold sway over an age of enforced peace are dead, victims of royal treachery. Now, 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.
The second book in the Song of Fire and Ice sees battle after battle after battle between would be kings – just about everyone in the Seven Kingdoms claims the Iron Throne after the murder of King Robert Baratheon (victim to royal treachery). The battles are bloody, the body count high, and loyalties sway as often as the winds change direction. The wars aside, the political intrigues, especially between Tyrion and Cersei Lannister, are complex and downright confusing, but fascinating, as well. There’s more magic and mysticism in this installment, and more importantly, we see the growth of power in the dragons, as well as their mother, Daenerys (who is destined for great things).
While I did enjoy this installment, I didn’t care too much for the battle scenes (not a fan of war) – there are so many. What I absolutely loved was learning more about Arya Stark, John Snow, and Tyrion Lannister (my favorite characters in the series). Each play a much larger part in the story, and if I’m reading correctly, each will have a more prominent and quite significant role to play in the future novels. Regardless of the blood and death and gore, I could not put this one down, either – highly addictive.
As I write this, I’ve already begun the third in the series, A Storm of Swords – so good! I highly recommend the novels, and the HBO series.