Review: Fire & Blood (A Targaryen History #1) by George R.R. Martin

I have had this book pre ordered for months. I cleared my entire month of December to keep it open so I could read this behemoth.

If truth be told, I am not a huge Targaryen fan. I personally prefer the Starks but I was interested in some of the tantalizing questions this book promised to answer.

This book promises to answer what The Doom really was and the source of Daenerys’s dragon eggs.

Spoiler alert, I still don’t feel like I have answers to those questions but I did learn a lot about Westeros and the Targaryen empire.

Summary

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 (summary from Goodreads).

Review

Try as I might, I could not keep every one straight. Westerosi history can be so convoluted and confusing, but for the most part I’ve kept pretty up to date on the family lines etc. However, the Targaryen one always throws me for a loop because of all the inner marrying and way too many Aegon’s.

I did pretty good up until the Dance of Dragons in this lengthy history book. I thought Martin did an excellent job trying to keep a very complicated history not only interesting but also understandable. This book does NOT read like the typical ASOIAF books, it does in fact read more like a history book but it’s way more exciting than any history book I’ve read recently.

There is a lot of ground to cover in this book and a lot of characters to focus on. I was disappointed that this book is only part one of two. I was hoping that it would take us all the way up to Robert’s Rebellion but sadly we will have to wait to get all the juicy details until the original series is finished I would guess.

I thought it was fairly easy reading with an interesting subject (Westeros is anything but dull) but after a while all the treason, marrying, killing, and political problems became overwhelming. I loved reading about King Jaehaerys and his sister queen, Alysanne. I thought Alysanne’s visit to The Wall offered a lot of intriguing possibilities for the rest of the books.

I also loved learning about the swords Blackfyre and Dark Sister. I think that learning the history of these blades will somehow play a role in future books.

Even though this book isn’t the long awaited book in the ASOIAF series, The Winds of Winter, but I thought it gave readers a little teaser for what is to come in the future book. I also hope that GRRM will write a book similar to this about the Starks. I think the Starks and the Targaryen’s arguably offer the most interesting and important histories in Westeros for the period in which the ASOIAF books are written.

Book Info and Rating

Hardcover, 719 pages
Published November 20th 2018 by Bantam
ISBN 152479628X (ISBN13: 9781524796280)
Review Copy Provided By: Personal collection, all opinions are my own.
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: High Fantasy

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