Spoilers for A Game of Thrones3.5 StarsI read A Game of Thrones earlier in the year, and figured that this summer would be a good time to get the next installment in the series done. At the end of the first novel, Robert Baratheron was dead with his wife's son Joffrey named King. However, Robb Stark the son the murdered King's Hand Ned declares himself King in the North, and Stannis and Renly Baratheron, Robert's brothers, also attempt to claim the throne for themselves. Meanwhile, Daenerys Targaryen, the daughter of the king Robert murdered to obtain the Iron Throne, continues her journey-now armed with dragons-to return to the land she perceives as hers.I didn't enjoy A Clash of Kings quite as much as the first novel in the series, although it is still pretty entertaining. Rather than focusing mostly on the intrigue within the court at Kings Landing, the story has numerous settings throughout the realm in order for the reader to grasp what is going on. Due to this, we have numerous perspectives, mostly the same as in book one; Catelyn Stark, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Bran Stark, Tyrion Lannister, Daenrys Targaryen, Jon Snow and a new addition, Ser Davos, a smuggler turned knight working for Stannis.The major positives for me in A Clash of Kings were the characters. All of Martin's characters are incredibly well drawn, from those whose perspectives the reader shares to side characters such as Shae, the woman with whom Tyrion is having a kind of relationship. This time around, although I still really loathed Joffrey and Ceresi, I really warmed to Tyrion, Joffrey's dwarf uncle who takes over as Hand. He has really witty dialogue, and he actually seems to care about some of the people he interacts with. This novel also really extended my like of Catelyn Stark, the widow of Ned Stark; she strikes me as a gentler alternative to Ceresi Lannister and Sansa Stark, who is a virtual captive in King's Landing. I was not crazy about Stannis, but I would have liked a little more Davos in place of the slow story going on in Jon Snow's perspective.The thing that made it less good for me was the fact there were a few times were the book just seemed like it was dragging, or just building for events or introducing characters that will probably play more of a part in A Storm of Swords. When a book is as long as A Clash of Kings, it should be for a reason, and part of me felt that some parts of it did just feel like a bit of an information dump. That being said, the first half of the novel did go really quickly. Also, I did kind of want more Daenrys, who is a character I quite like.That aside, I am quite looking forward to who ultimately wins the Iron Throne, although with the third being in two halves, and a whopping 1,200 words ish in length, I think it may take a while for me to get through it.