Publishers Weekly Review
Martin's evocative storytelling style and gift for gripping narrative are mostly absent from this dry history of the blood-drenched Targaryens, one of the central dynasties of the land of Westeros (setting of the Song of Ice and Fire series and the HBO show Game of Thrones). Beginning with the Targaryens' fortuitous escape from the destruction of Valyria and Aegon Targaryen's subsequent conquest of Westeros, and concluding with the ascent of young King Aegon III to Westeros's Iron Throne some 130 years later, Martin gives equal weight to each member of the Targaryen family. The deliberately inbreeding Targaryens share a number of characteristics through the generations-chiefly brutality, snobbishness, and the single-minded pursuit of power-and it can be hard to keep track of who's who. Brief sections are dramatic ("the golden dragon devoured the queen in six bites") or salacious ("it aroused the princess to watch the men disporting with one another"), and there are entertaining snatches of dialogue and detailed depictions of battles, but they only last a few pages before a return to brisk summary. The conceit of the history being written by one Archmaester Gyldayn ("author" of several other works of Westerosi scholarship, most recently The Sons of the Dragon) mostly gives rise to images of unhappy Westerosi schoolchildren being forced to study this weighty textbook. Fans hungry for the next Song of Ice and Fire novel will find this volume whets, but does not satisfy, their appetites. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.