Review Fire and blood by George R.R Martin / Harper Voyager

Fire & Blood

By George R.R. Martin,

Doug Wheatley

 

REVIEW

 

Synopsis: With all the fire and fury fans have come to expect from internationally bestselling author George R. R. Martin, this is the first volume of the definitive two-part history of the Targaryens in Westeros.

Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen—the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria—took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire and Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror, creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart.

What really happened during the Dance of the Dragons? Why did it become so deadly to visit Valyria after the Doom? What is the origin of Daenerys’s three dragon eggs? These are but a few of the questions answered in this essential chronicle, as related by a learned maester of the Citadel and featuring more than eighty all-new black-and-white illustrations by artist Doug Wheatley. Readers have glimpsed small parts of this narrative in such volumes as The World of Ice & Fire, but now, for the first time, the full tapestry of Targaryen history is revealed.

With all the scope and grandeur of Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Fire and Blood is the ultimate game of thrones, giving readers a whole new appreciation for the dynamic, often bloody, and always fascinating history of Westeros. 

 

Fire & Blood quenches the thirst of any ASOIAF fan seeking to know more about the history of the glorious Targaryens, along with their dragons and wars. Covering all the kings from Aegon I to the end of the regency of Aegon III, this book adds much more detail about the lives of the Targaryen kings than TWOIAF did, providing more insight into their characters and actions. The Dance of Dragons is especially well covered, which is in my opinion the most intriguing conflict in Westerosi history. Although it is only a „dry history book“ I did not find it dry at all and greatly enjoyed reading it. 

 

I’ve always wanted to know about the other continents of this world- Essos, Sothoryos, and Ulthos. FAB has given me more information than watching the TV series or reading the first 3 books of ASOIAF or the tale of Dunk and Egg did. FAB, however, is far from sating my hunger of knowledge, instead it made me want more and yes, I am contemplating in getting myself The World of Ice and Fire, for what better way to learn this world’s history from East to West than the book that tells about the First Men and The Andals of Andalos from Pentos?

 

This isn’t some book that only contains informations you already know, we learn so much. This is like reading an amazing, highly informative and greatly written History book, except in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire. It is written like related by a learned master of the Citadel, Archmaester Gyldayn like the title says, and delivers all you could possibly want to know about the Targaryen House, from Aegon the Conqueror to Aegon III as the title says. So much characters and important events, like Maegor the Cruel and Aegon’s conquest like Bookdragon Sean mentions in his great review, but also more informations about his reign, about Jaeherys and Alysanne, about the Dance of the Dragons…

How much you enjoy Fire and Blood will depend on several factors. The first is your pre-existing investment in the ASoIaF/Game of Thrones setting. If you really enjoy reading about fictional backstory, about the socio-economic underpinnings on why certain things happened, and if you like treating fantasy like real history, with the more lore and detail the better, then absolutely Fire and Blood is worth picking up. Although the broad strokes of the story are familiar from the main series, there’s an absolute plethora of new information here, and dramatisations of key moments from the history of the Seven Kingdoms (when the high and somewhat remote style of much of the book gives way to almost novelistic out-takes of key scenes). There’s also lots of completely new material, minor episodes, even small wars and skirmishes which have gone unmentioned so far in the main series.

 

Reading this book is a labor of love. There are parts that are tedious. I found my attention flagging and doing a lot of re-reading. Martin likes to be detail oriented and I appreciate that but I don’t think this book needed THAT much detail with random names and stories. Thus, finishing this book left me with the same feeling finishing other Martin books does: received that it’s done, exhilarated from what I read, missing it and wishing I was reading the next in the series.

A big big THANK YOU to Harper Voyager for sending me this beauty. I loved it!

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