No, it's not the book George R. R. Martin's fans have been desperately waiting for, but Martin's 35,000-word novella, "The Princess and the Queen" does just enough to tide over Game of Thrones-lovers through the long sequel-less winter. (Which are taking longer to write than readers and HBO executives would like.)
Early reviews are in for "The Princess and the Queen" —officially out December 3 in the larger anthology book Dangerous Women — and seems to describe a tome that is perfectly fine for big-time fans of the epic fantasy series, but less-so for casual observers. The story covers a massive civil war about 200 years before the main events of the books in A Song of Ice and Fire, and a huge battle called The Dance of the Dragons. As that name implies, the story is bursting with dragon fights, blood, poison, betrayal and all that Martin-esque goodness. However, it's dry tone and "so what"-ness keeps it from reaching the same elevated pitch as his main series.
So what exactly does this stocking-stuffer have to offer? (General series spoilers below.)
Dragon battles galore
We've seen a splash or two of dragon battles thus far in the books and TV show, but "The Princess and the Queen" takes that to another level. In giving the book a B+ rating, Entertainment Weekly notes the best part of the story is "a lot more dragons." So, too, does Reddit early reader Indianthane95 agree. "Speaking of dragons, they made the novella for me. We get extremely-well detailed and choreographed tales of dragon warfare," (s)he writes. "The battles are, simply put, awesome." Those include dragon v. dragon airborne fights, as well as human v. dragon battles. (Warning: The humans don't do so well.) Even when they're not fighting, though, fans at Westeros.org are eating up the dragonlore, particularly the parts with wild dragons and some Avatar-like human-dragon domestication.