A good and unnecessary comprehensive historical overview of the Targaryen Kings.
The aesthetic of this book is gorgeous; easily one of the most beautiful books I own. I mean it, the cover art of both editions are stunning, the typography inside the book is beautiful, the font used (Centaur) was easy to read, and most of all, Doug Wheatley’s artworks were simply spectacular to look at. As for enjoyment factor, I really wouldn’t call this an enjoyable read, it was more like a homework reading that I gladly imposed upon myself on my own will. This book took me almost three weeks to read; that’s an extremely long time for me to spend reading on a single book. For a bit of comparison, I finished reading The Crippled God (385k words) in four days and Oathbringer (450k words) in six days.
Picture: King Aegon I On Balerion the Black Dread by Doug Wheatley
Fire and Blood explored the history of the Targaryen Kings from the time of Aegon I’s conquest up to the ascension of Aegon III. If you’ve read The World of Ice and Fire (Page 29-86), you’ve read the abridged version of this book. Now then the question you’re probably asking would be: “If I’ve read The World of Ice and Fire, is it still necessary to read this book?” My answer to that would be nope, it’s not necessary at all. In fact, having read this one, I would be satisfied with the information I got from The World of Ice and Fire.
Picture: One of the interior artworks by Doug Wheatley
The most significant additional contents here were the intricate expansion of Jaehaerys’s story and The Dance of the Dragons. The World Ice and Fire made me super interested in Jaehaerys, I feel like he was one of the extremely few kings in the history of Westeros who ruled with kindness and justice, and I’m glad to get the chance to read more of his rule. The Dance with the Dragons part in The World of Ice and Fire were too short to make me care, but here it was awesome to see the deaths of each dragon in details. Although I think this was a good read, I will conclude that I can’t actually recommend this to anyone unless they’re extremely fanatics about A Song of Ice and Fire, dying to know every single tiny detail, and wouldn’t mind knowing about every stranger irrelevant to the main series. Just like the existence of this book, a lot of sections felt like fillers. The parts that truly focused on the Targaryens were great, but irrelevancy aside, my problem with this book is that the history tends to focus its narrative for a long period of time on other non-Targaryen characters; which frankly speaking by tomorrow I’ll forget already because I simply don’t give a damn about them. Remember, there’s close to zero emotions within the storytelling of this book; just like The World of Ice and Fire, this imaginary history is told entirely from the writing of an Archmaester. Wheatley’s artwork immensely helped during the boring parts for me, just the fact the next gorgeous artwork awaits me, I was able to push myself reading through the boredom.
Picture: Vermithor at the Second Battle of Tumbleton by Doug Wheatley
In my opinion, Fire and Blood is an unnecessary read but overall a better book compared to A Feast for Crows or A Dance with Dragons; that should say what I think of book four and five of the main series. I won’t deny Martin’s importance as a role-model for modern fantasy, it would be idiotic for me to deny that; a myriad of incredible epic fantasy books appeared because of his influences. However, if you’ve read anything he produced after A Storm of Swords, it should be very clear that he doesn’t know how to continue with his series anymore. Martin is praised for the first three books of the main series, not book four and five. With this book finished, I’ve read all the books in A Song of Ice and Fire; main series and spin-offs included. I can say with confidence that Martin isn’t even included in my “top 10 favorite authors of all time list” for now. Maybe his next book can change that notion but what’s next and when will that happen?
Words are wind…
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