Don't judge a book by its...
BUT! Once you open this book it is phenomenal. The artwork gave me chills. It is astounding. I mean, just look:
And thats not even the half of it. There is so much artwork in this book it is incredible. Oh yeah, and there are words too. Lots of them. I haven't read the whole thing front to back yet, because its not really that type of book. It's one you pick up, read a section or two, and then put down and pick up again later. Its written as if by a Maester and at times you feel like you are reading The Lineages and Histories of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms, with Descriptions of Many High Lords and Noble Ladies and Their Children by Grand Maester Malleon. Well, not exactly that dry, perhaps more like A Dance with Dragons, A True Telling by Grand Maester Munkin. I guess what's fun about this approach is that, as we know, Maesters tend to be unreliable narrators, so there is still some room for interpretation by the reader.
I love fake history, and art, so to me the concept of this book is awesome. Its just that, I am a little disappointed in the execution. But perhaps that is because my expectations were so high. While it is incredibly refreshing to see so much published ASoIaF artwork that doesn't feature HBO actors, the book still seems a tad more commercialized than I would prefer. But with the success of the series, I guess it would be silly to expect less. I want to love this book more than I think I actually do, so I am having a hard time rating it. But one thing thats for certain, A World of Ice and Fire is not going to be put out on display like I had originally planned.
Baseline assessment: 8/10
Bonuses: +1 for fantastically chilling original artwork
Penalties: -1 for the cover, -1 for being a tough read at times
Nerd coefficient: 7/10 “an enjoyable experience, but not without its flaws”
Reference: Martin, George R.R., Elio M. Garcia, J.R., and Linda Antonsson. The World of Ice and Fire [Bantam, 2014]