This is not a story book; it’s written as a history book. The idea is that Maester Yandel wrote this book as a gift to the king. (The Baratheons get treated quite favorably in this tome; this is a Maester who is trying to get somewhere.)
The rest is—well, if you (like me) enjoy history or are a hard-core R. R. Martin fan you will like this book. If not, you may not—though you will love the beautiful illustrations, the embossed dragons on the front cover and the parchment-like background designs. And you will love the way this book feels. It’s wonderfully constructed. The covers are padded and the pages are sewn to the book’s spine. And the pages themselves are not the cheap-feeling pages you normally get; they’re thick and slightly glossy. So the illustrations and the construction are superb.
The text is—history book like. I learned a lot. I discovered that there are dragons just about everywhere, what Valyrians call dragon glass, what the Dorne has against the iron Throne, how greyscale came into the world, some pretty horrific stories about the Others, and much more besides. I was particularly interested in the legends the Maester mentions again and again only to dismiss them as a learned man is taught to do. Anyone who has either read R. R. Martin’s novels will know that these fanciful stories are, in fact, all too true.
And let’s face it, we have a year and half to speculate about how the Game of Thrones will end. I can’t claim to know the ending but, if the writers are at all true to the books, the ending will be rooted in the history of Westeros. And this book–while written in the often dry tone I for one often associate with history books—most definitely provides that history.
So if you need some help speculating about what (say) an ice dragon might do (and yes, ice dragons do put in an appearance here), you might want to check out the Untold History of Westeros.
The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones
Price: $35.99 (Hardcover)
If you can afford it, I recommend you get the hardback. It is a lovely, quality over-sized book.