- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Voyager - GB (20 October 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007580916
- ISBN-13: 978-0007580910
- Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 2.7 x 31.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 1.7 Kg
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of the World of A Game of Thrones Hardcover – 20 Oct 2014
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‘Of those who work in the grand epic fantasy tradition, George R.R. Martin is by far the best’
‘Colossal, staggering… Martin captures all the intoxicating complexity of the Wars of the Roses or Imperial Rome in his imaginary world … one of the greats of fantasy literature’
‘The sheer-mind-boggling scope of this epic has sent other fantasy writers away shaking their heads … Its ambition: to construct the Twelve Caesars of fantasy fiction, with characters so venomous they could eat the Borgias’
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As far as the text, which many of the reviews here are quick to slam or to praise, I felt the truth was in the middle and uneven would be the best word to describe. Some of the narratives are very well done - the "short story" of the Conquest, the reign of King Jaehaerys, and the history of the Vale in particular stood out as well done; the narrative flowed well, and the characterizations were very satisfying, but most importantly gave itself identity and value. As far as a common identifier of the best pieces, the text is at its best and finds a nice rhythm when it becomes character-centric as opposed to purely event-centric. When Martin et. immerse you in the rich characterizations of Nymeria, Aegon, Robar Royce, and Tywin, and let the history flow around them is extremely enjoyable.
Other portions were frustrating - several histories of reigns and a couple of the Kingdoms really felt like obligated filler as opposed to a seized opportunity to provide rich lore, and all too often the "Untold History" teased on the cover produced only empty text containing no more than "going through the motions" summations of previously known information,providing no additional lore or color. It is understandable in areas where it's obvious that Martin isn't ready to show his cards; others such as the War of the Ninepenny Kings from a 10,000 foot view and the Greyjoy Rebellion being reduced to a couple paragraphs and passing on the opportunity to add color and depth as opposed to regurgitation due to necessity were a letdown.
The choice of the maester as a point of view was overall a sound decision. The additional layer adds richness: bias is introduced, sources are referenced, and the environment of the ASOIAF novels needs to be taken into account by the reader - a very Martin-esque move. The "cop outs", where the decision to use a maester as the writer leads to lack of expansion or evasion were an unfortunate consequence.
As far as the artwork, I expected the illustrations to be filler, almost an annoyance beside the lore. It was the exact opposite - the illustrations are impressive, most absolutely stunning. The amount of artwork, fantastic detail, and affording a quality template for the production really stood out. I'm not sold that AWOIAF will be a frequent reread or that the table of contents and index reference enough consistency in the text for it to serve as a reference, but there will definitely be portions worth a bookmark and others worth perusing at times, and the art is worth a complete page through anytime.
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