I feel like I read this book too close to A Game of Thrones to write a really good review about it. It does just feel like a continuation of the previous book, without anything to really differentiate it in my mind.
That is not a complaint! I loved the first book! I just don't have any new reasons why I love Clash of Kings. Everything I can think of is a "I continue to enjoy...."
I continue to enjoy the shifting narrative perspective, and the way that helps Martin avoid simplistic motives, or clear differentiations between "good" and "evil" characters.
I continue to enjoy the frigging complexity of these books.
I continue to enjoy the way that Martin is unafraid to break his toys, always with good reason, but frequently unexpectedly!
I continue to enjoy how the entire balance of power will shift over the course of the books, not once, not twice, but frequently, and always convincingly.
I continue to absolutely love Tyrion and Arya. (Dany, my third favourite, was not as big a presence in A Clash of Kings.)
It only gets four stars because it lacks that feeling of wonderful discovery of this world and its inhabitants that the first book gave me. But I did love it. I may wait a while before I crack open the third, though. Pace myself.