Fire and Blood is a Game of Thrones prequel. Though it isn’t a book about a set of characters with lots of speech and a simple overarching plot, instead it tells the story of the hundred years leading up to Game of Thrones. It covers many kings, queens, families, wars, betrayals and stories.
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Fire and Blood starts off just prior to Aegon’s Conquest which upon his coronation resets the year date to 0 AC. Essentially Aegon reunited the seven kingdoms, starting the path to having peace in Westeros for the first time in many years.
We then carry on throughout the next hundreds of years, (referred to as AC – After the Conquest) following the story of the Targaryan Dynasty, a long line of Targaryans who rule over Westeros facing all sorts of problems.
Fire and Blood plot – 4.5/5
I’m not quite sure how to review the plot of Fire and Blood as, unlike almost every other book I’ve read, there isn’t one singular story arc to follow. Instead, it reads more like a book of history – many shorter stories telling the tales of kings’ and queens’ triumphs and failures, the much politicking of the peoples and almost every other story you can think to tell during the history of the main lands of Westeros.
This is essentially George R.R. Martin going wild with his ideas. I imagine he’s sat down writing all sorts of different scenarios for how kings and queens could rule, the choices they could make and then betrayals and varying storylines they could all be a part of. His imagination and his ability to tell so many different stories really show his incredible talent for not only writing creative stories but also for connecting them all together in one long line.
I’ll admit, being so long, I didn’t catch every single story and little plot line that went on but as an overarching history of the Targaryens and the many different shock moments and sudden twists, it really was brilliant to read.
Fire and Blood characters – 4/5
Again, it is difficult to review the characters in Fire and Blood as there isn’t a lot of speech or character building to help me gain a grasp of individual personalities. Don’t get me wrong, there is speech in this book. When history tells of a conversation between two people which famously happened, it is i this book. However, there aren’t vast conversations that help you build a multilayered view of people.
That said, Martin’s ability to write so many different characters into one book, all of whom need to have their own place and purpose within this historical account of Westeros is still fairly impressive. In the same way that his ability to include so many characters spanning so many years and have them all fluidly flow is amazing – the ability to then have each of these leaders have different traits that make them good or bad at what they do.
Obviously, as with Game of Thrones, Martin’s ability to write characters goes beyond whether they’re just good or bad. His characters make mistakes, they say the wrong thing at the wrong time, they fail to lead properly or they struggle to control certain people. There are main traits and actions that give these characters believable flaws and essentially humanity. Very well done Martin.
Fire and Blood by George R.R. Martin overall rating – 4/5
I could easily have given Fire and Blood five stars. However, for me personally, it just wasn’t exactly my sort of book and so it didn’t really flow very well for me. The book is written almost purely in the form of narration and little speech so it was often hard to immerse myself at times. However, phenomenal writing, an incredible ability to write so many different gripping stories and a varying and vast selection of characters make this quite the feat by Martin. If you’re a fan of fantasy, I definitely wouldn’t give this a miss quickly.