This is the second of the bestselling sword and sorcery (fantasy) series, brought into more homes courtesy of the (apparently) excellent HBO television adaption. You can check out my review of the first book here, because in essence this is more of the same, with one slight twist.
The same stuff? There’s a bloody competition for the throne, fought by factions with shifting alliances and fortunes. The slight twist? We get a bit more exposed to the sorcery part of the genre, but not so much so as to dominate the proceedings. And, in fairness to the author, he has continued to develop the characters so that some of the cardboard variety in the first volume are more authentic and credible.
The main challenge for the reader is to keep track of who is who, and that probably explains the lengthy (and very welcome) appendix.
If you like fantasy, you probably know all about this already. If not, grab the first volume and see if it grabs you. This second one is on a par with Game of Thrones (and it’s also the second time I’ve read it, which is a good sign) though I hear murmurs of discontent with the third. We shall see.
Overall: a great, big, bumper book of fantasy, blood and thunder, war, chaos, and skulduggery. Not for the faint hearted.