16 May, 2019

Review - Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin

39943621As the old saying goes: "Show, don't tell...until you're rich and famous and everyone will buy up any old crap you throw out there when you should be writing some other book everyone has been waiting for years to read." 

I was really excited to get a copy of Dangerous Women, the anthology edited by GRRM and the late, great Gardner Dozois, and that excitement was mostly due to GRRM's own contribution, The Princess and the Queen. Being the fanboy I am, I skipped all the other stories and dove right into Martin's novella. Only 26 pages of pure exposition later and I couldn't go further. I was bored out of my mind.

That novella makes up a healthy amount of the latter half of Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones (A Targaryen History) (A Song of Ice and Fire). I had a feeling it might, so I threw and Audible credit at this, knowing that there was little likelihood of me getting through this with my eyeballs doing the reading.

I wouldn't have made it through without Audible, that's for sure. It's just so boring.

So I'm a huge fan, I've been around since the Grrrumblers were making a stink about A Dance with Dragons coming out and I even agreed with Neal Gaiman at the time who stated the famous, "George RR Martin is not your bitch" phrase. I'm finding that less my opinion now and it's switched to Brian McClellan's well-argued point that we fans are owed something.

It's not this though.

It's boring. And that's not to say it's not interesting at times. I think a true fan has got to read this. There's great history and I was even entertained from time to time, but if you thought there was a large cast of characters before, this book puts them all to shame....and they're all named something along the line of Aemon, Aegon, Daemon, etc. It's hard to keep track, but then I realized, it doesn't even matter all that much (that could also be from the audio reading, it's much harder to keep straight).

And this gets me to my initial point. It's all tell, no show. It's written from the perspective of a maester so it's literally a history book. We don't get to know characters (maybe that stinker Mushroom a bit), just deeds and events. Then more events and some deeds. No stakes, no beautiful writing we've come to love from GRRM. And then it's just depressing too, which was expected I guess, but let's just say there's lots of death, backstabbing, and incest. None of which is made more entertaining than a history book would.

2.5 out of 5 Stars (recommended for die-hards)

[BLOG UPDATE: Not sure if I'm officially back, just had the passing fancy to post a couple reviews in the next little bit. I've been relatively active on Goodreads with reviews here and there if you want to find me. I stopped taking review copies and, to be honest, it's been the greatest thing. It's very freeing.]