Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin

The Bottom Line: For Game of Thrones completionists only.

Game of Thrones fans come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from the literary to TV-only crowd. There are no reliable stats as to how many readers the TV-show has generated, but more than a few TV-to-book converts have complained that the epic is about as readable as Moby Dick (not very), and at best, are extremely long-winded and in need of a good editor.

But one thing that fans of the book series and TV series can agree on is the greatness of House Targaryen—the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria. Fire & 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 was it so deadly to visit Valyria after the Doom? What were Maegor the Cruel’s worst crimes? What was it like in Westeros when dragons ruled the skies? These are but a few of the questions answered in this essential chronicle for Martin completionists.

Even die-hard Martin fans are bound to squabble about the mechanics of this book, to say nothing about the history-book tone, or whether it should have been written at all. But for those that simply love House Targaryen and are accustomed to Martin’s punishing prose, Fire & Blood will be a welcome addition to the bookshelf.

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