Downgrading this a star because I'd forgotten that this was my least favorite of the four published in the series so far.
It takes me forever to get through, because nothing really happens, at least not until the last 200 pages (which seems a ridiculous thing to say, but honestly, the thing is nearly 1000 pages long, so 200 pages ain't that much). It's still enjoyable, but it just feels like Martin is moving all the pieces into place in this one, or cleaning up the mess of the last book. Either way, this one acts more like a linchpin than a novel, and it features some of my least favorite to read about events (Theon's whole sack of shit or whatever he's got going on, Arya stuck in that awful castle, that damn red witch lady, and a bunch of men just waving their swords around all, 'I'M KING OF THE CASTLE, I'M KING OF THE CASTLE,' etc.) I do love the possibilities that the events of this book open up, especially for Dany and Bran and Jon Snow. If I'm recalling correctly, book three (A Storm of Swords) is my favorite, so it's worth it to push through the tough parts of this one.
[First Read June 2007]