This book frustrated me. I preordered it, which I almost never do, and dove right in. It took me 2.5 weeks to finish. Granted it is a 1000-or-so page book, but still. GRRM needs to tighten up his story, and quick. Some chapters were great, some were mediocre, and some I found downright tedious (most of the Dany ones, sadly, and some Tyrion as well, along with most of the new characters). The best were the Theon chapters, which was shocking. It is not a good sign when you see a generic title chapter instead of a name and inwardly groan. I actually ended up skimming some of them (Quentyn I’m talking to you) because they were literally putting me to sleep.
I absolutely loved the first three books in this series, as do most fans I’m sure. The fourth was merely okay, mostly due to the inclusion of numerous new characters. The thing is, I don’t care about the new characters, (especially the Ironborn, ugh), I want my old favorites back. This book is sadly more of the same, only now old established characters are becoming boring as well. The story (and world) keeps getting bigger and bigger, and as this is the 5th book out of 7, it should be getting smaller and tighter, drawing up to the conclusion. I really think the last two books should have been combined and about half the extraneous material cut out. As many other reviews have stated, not much actually happens in this book, just a ton of worldbuilding, wandering, characters *almost* meeting, and it ends with numerous dangling plotlines. As I said, frustrating. I want to give it 2.5 stars but will bump it up to 3 as I did enjoy parts and I feel the series as a whole is excellent. I hope the next book is up to the standards of the first three.