I finally got around to reading this after getting it for Christmas, and I’m so happy to finally read some G.R.R. Martin again. I’m not going to complain that Winds of Winter isn’t out, at this point I’m not even expecting him to finish it, and it’s not our place as readers to demand that he does. He’ll do want he wants to do, and we can only hope.
A lot of people are complaining that Fire & Blood isn’t a novel, it’s a history book (and it’s true, it is). I get why you might be annoyed by that if you weren’t aware, but it says so right there on the cover: “A History of the Targaryen Kings from Aegon The Conqueror to Aegon III.”
I absolutely loved it regardless, not only because I love the A Song of Ice and Fire universe, but also because I love a good history book. There’s a lot of telling and very little showing in this, but it’s still brilliant. Sure, there’s lots of names and places and events that will fly by your head because their just told in passing, but the big picture here is awesome.
You get a completely different idea of Westeros and Essos when you read this, who built what, how things came to be, who followed who to sit on the throne. In one sense it’s world building on display. Jaehaerys I, The Old King for example, was responsible for a lot of the development of infrastructure in Westeros. I loved reading about him, and Maegor the Cruel, and the Dance of the Dragons. There’s a lot of things here that will sound very familiar if you’ve seen the show and/or read the other books, and it’s awesome to see it fall into place.
Sure, I really do hope Winds of Winter is going to be finished at some point, because I’m really looking forward to it. I miss the gang, you know? Now more than ever, since Game of Thrones is about to close, I’m aching to get more of those story. In the meantime though, I was very happy to read this, and I’m looking forward to the second part (because of course, Martin didn’t want to put it all in one book now, did he?)
If you know what you’re going to, this book is magnificent. Be warned, it’s a history book (bordering on text book), so don’t expect a novel. But I promise you, if you love the Song of Ice and Fire universe as much as I do, you’re going to learn a lot from this, and probably love every second of it.
Also, the illustrations are fantastic.