Melissa's Reviews > The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones

The World of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
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's review
Oct 28, 2014

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2014, bought-new, fantasy, hardback, own-book, 2016

This book is just gorgeous. When I started reading Game of Thrones this summer at the urging of a friend, I found myself peppering her with background questions. Who are the Rhoynar? What's a crannogman? Hey, tell me everything about these Children of the Forest... The World of Ice and Fire is precisely the book I hoped existed then. It's an in-depth look at the history of Westeros, and to a lesser extent, neighbouring continent Essos. The bulk of the book focuses on the many Targaryen kings, followed by a potted history of six of the seven 'kingdoms', plus the Iron Islands. We then travel over to many of the major cities in Essos, and towards the end go further afield, drifting towards the far east and mysterious Asshai.

The tone of the book is perhaps a little dry in places, but it's framed as being penned by a Maester of the Citadel, so for me that worked (although in later sections I think the editing could have been tighter, as small repetitions and spelling errors became more frequent). Certainly the histories we're presented with become vaguer, more rumour than fact, the further afield we travel, but as this is a world where few from Westeros dare to travel that far, it fit with the perspective the book took.

I think this is definitely more for the obsessive rather than casual fan, and I'd definitely recommend reading the Dunk and Egg stories first (I may or may not have got quite emotional during the history of Aegon V's reign, and had to put the book down a few times...). If you've read the history of the first Dance of Dragons, it's quite heavily condensed here, and there are other places where it definitely feels as though Martin has much longer histories waiting to be told when time permits. One of the biggest selling points of the book is the absolutely stunning artwork. I'm normally a 'nice picture, turn the page' kind of girl, but The World of Ice and Fire starts with a painting of Dragonstone so stunning you can all but taste the sea salt and hear the crash of the waves on rocks, and it only gets better from there. This is definitely a book you want to hold in your hands rather than flick through on a Kindle - the only problem being that it's so big and heavy, I did find it difficult to get comfortable with it.

I seriously, seriously love this book, and have already bought an extra copy to give as a Christmas present.

[Originally read from 29 November - 14 December 2014]

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Reading Progress

October 28, 2014 – Shelved
October 28, 2014 – Shelved as: 2014
October 28, 2014 – Shelved as: bought-new
October 28, 2014 – Shelved as: fantasy
October 28, 2014 – Shelved as: hardback
October 28, 2014 – Shelved as: own-book
April 23, 2016 – Started Reading
April 26, 2016 – Shelved as: 2016
September 26, 2016 – Finished Reading

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