Title: Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin (Game of Thrones Book 2)
Publisher: Bantam Books
Synopsis: The Seven Kingdoms have come apart. Joffrey, Queen Cersei's sadistic son, ascends the Iron Throne following the death of Robert Baratheon, the Usurper, who won it in battle. Queen Cersei's family, the Lannisters, fight to hold it for him. Both the dour Stannis and the charismatic Renly Baratheon, Robert's brothers, also seek the throne. Robb Stark, declared King in the North, battles to avenge his father and retrieve his sister from Joffrey's court. Daenerys, the exiled last heir of the former ruling family, nurtures three dragons and seeks a way home. Meanwhile the Night's Watch, sworn to protect the realm from dangers north of the Wall, dwindle in numbers, even as barbarian forces gather and beings out of legend stalk the Haunted Forest.
Review: I've always found it hard to review books in a series especially if they rely heavily on someone reading the previous books, like this one does. After watching HBO's adaptation of Game of Thrones I was completely enthralled by these characters and had to find out what happened to them. Skipping book 1 since the HBO series was so close it was almost word for word, I went right to Book 2. I was not disappointed and I didn't have any trouble following the plot. The chapters skip around from character to character and I often found myself wanting to skip ahead to the next section about a particular character but I knew that if I did that I would lose the context of the books since even events that don't happen to a particular character seem to show up in their chapters. I can't say enough about this series. If you like fantasy, this is a fabulous series filled with murder, political plots, war, and sorcery. I will caution these books are huge! I started out reading this one on my kindle even though I own the paperbacks just due to the size of the book - its hard to hold, but then switched to the paperback toward the end...I think I wanted to be able to look through the family lines and maps that were in the back of the book while I was reading which I was unable to do when reading it on the kindle. So dive in and start reading...this series is supposed to be 7 books long, and the 5th book was just published. If you want to get a taste of what this story is about watch the HBO series as I said it is so close to the book that it is almost like reading it...the only difference I saw was the ages of the children, they are much younger in the books than they are in the show.